Thursday, December 23, 2010

The End of Kodachrome, Pt. II: Getting Lunar

Another spectacular day in Bryce. We awoke to snow flurries, and as a bonus, we actually woke up in time for the complimentary breakfast. Yesterday we arrived late and got the dregs. Today, after loading up on eggs, French toast and oatmeal, we hit the road for a walk on The Navajo loop trail, which takes you to the Canyon floor for a walk through the hoodoos. Once again, there was majesty around every bend. The snow turned to rain, the walkways to red mud. Every step resulted in mounds of red mud sticking to your shoes. A light drizzle throughout, but no complaints. Too much beauty in all directions. Actually saw a handful of people on the trail. All wet, but all happy.

After leaving Bryce, we had planned on taking a quick trip to Kodachrome Basin State Park. Kodachrome is the guiding light of this trip, and wouldn’t you know it, just 30 minutes south of Bryce is a state park which honors the beloved film stock in its name. But the rains were coming down hard and we needed to haul butt to Monument Valley. Sad to say, we bailed on Kodachrome Basin.

Arrived at Monument Valley sometime after 8 pm. Our hotel was in the park. No street address, just GPS coordinates. Our room overlooked The Mittens and Merrick Butte. Unbelievable. An excited Mr. Granato was heard to exclaim, “Nature Boner!” We rolled into the hotel a mere two hours before the start of the lunar eclipse, which we could take in from our balcony. At the start of the evening, the buttes of Monument Valley glowed in the muted blue moonlight. By the end of the eclipse, total blackout. Quite a way to experience the heart of the West.

Jim G. is a time-lapse fanatic.We had two super 8s and one hd documenting the proceedings. I’ve attached the hd video, which I shot of the eclipse. The eclipse footage, as well as the footage of the valley floor that features The Mittens and Merrick Butte, were all taken from the balcony. That’s how unsane our view was.

Jim set the alarm for sunrise, which we could also view from our balcony, or in my case, from my bed. Granato manned the sunrise cameras in long johns and socks, taking the occasional nap for good measure. Talk about the life of leisure for a wildlife/nature photographer. Sheesh.

Next up was the 17 mile drive through the buttes. We made it as far as John Ford Point. Fitting for a bunch of film geeks. We probably only covered half the drive. What I’ve found interesting about this trip is that once you decide to spend a tremendous amount of time documenting the most beautiful vantages and uncovering hidden vistas, the distance you travel drops considerably. On every hike or drive we’ve taken, we’ve spent an inordinate amount of time on the trail, yet we’ve traded the amount of ground covered for a deeper look at the landscape. Sometimes that’s a trade worth taking.

Below is the attached view of the eclipse.Enjoy.

Lunar Eclipse, Monument Valley, Dec 20/21, 2010 from danny plotnick on Vimeo.

1 comment:

Jim Granato said...

So true, so true! Glad we rocked the Bryce/M.V. tour together. The HD lunar eclipse timelapse looks great! I only hope that the 22 rolls of super 8 kodachrome I shot on this trip will make you proud, King.

Here's to more nature boners...