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Thread: [Trip Report] Bryce Canyon +The Wave + Solar Eclipse

  1. #1

    [Trip Report] Bryce Canyon +The Wave + Solar Eclipse

    I have been planning to see the Solar Eclipse in Southern Utah for about 6 months now. The only thing that I needed was a good spots to see it and after much though I decided that the only place in southern Utah that would rival the retina burning beauty of an eclipse would be The Wave. So last January I put in for the lottery and won 6 tickets. I was planning on going with a group of 4 people and giving two tickets away to a co-worker that does photography. It was easy enough to find 2 other people to go with my wife and I, but the other two Wave tickets must have been cursed. I gave them to a co-worker that has always wanted to go and is into photography, but about a week before the trip he had to bail. So I gave them to another co-worker that does a lot of outdoor stuff and would really enjoy them. Well about 2 days before the trip he ended up not being able to go; so we gave the tickets to my sister in law. And... She bailed about 1 hour before we left on Friday... And thus the last minute invite on our trip. We ended up redoing our plans, taking a car that could hold 5 people and then having a friend drive up from AZ to use all of the tickets.

    We got into Tropic at about 11:50pm on Friday night, which was a bummer because Bryce was putting on an Astronomy festival and they had telescopes setup for star gazing, but they where going to shut it down at midnight. We ended up camping at the east gate to Bryce Canyon and a couple of the people we went with got up at 5:30am and hiked 3 miles into Bryce. The lazy people broke down camp and drove into Bryce later that day. We spent about 1/2 of the day at Bryce, drove Hell's Backbone Road and ended the night stargazing at Bryce. On a side note if you have never been to Bryce during their Astronomy Festival (they have it twice a year) you need to. They had about 30 telescopes setup that ranged in side from normal to so big you had to have a latter to see the view finder. It was Amazing!

    Sunday we took Skutumpah Road to the 89 and then to the Wave. And when we got to the Wire Pass Trailhead at 2pm there was 46 cars in the parking lot (and we saw 3-4 cars leaving the trail-head). For those of you who don't know the BLM allows 20 people to The Wave each day. And for someone that spent so much time planning ahead for the trip and obtaining a permit I was ready to stab everyone that didn't have a permit on hand. The hike to the Wave was fine and I was pleased to find out that there where park rangers on site at the Wave giving out tickets (I was not in the part of the group that saw the rangers, so I was not able to find out how much the fines where, but I hope it was a lot). Must of us got to the Wave at 4:00 and by 5:00 our group of 6 people where the only ones left at The Wave. Sadly the eclipse didn't start at 6:30 like I thought because the everything was perfect! But when the eclipse was at its peak at 7:30 the sun had dropped below the adjacent canyon wall. So I didn't get to really see the eclipse :-( Luckily the rest of the people in the group hiked up the hill behind us and did see the full eclipse (but couldn't get a pic of the eclipse and The Wave).

    Anyways part of the group stayed at The Wave until about 11:00 to get some night shots of the Wave and the stars. On our way back we lost the path and had to radio to the 2 people that went back to the car early to guide us back safely. This put us back at the car at 2am and back in SLC at 8:30am... just in time for work :-)

    I think you can agree the shots we got where well worth getting lost and 48 hours without sleep.

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    P.S. These are not my shots, I only helped out with them. The photographer that took them is from SLC and his name is Scott Jarvie. Sometime in the near future you should be able to buy them from his website:
    http://photos.jarviedigital.com/

    You can also see his original posts with commentary about how he took the pictures on his Facebook and Google+ Pages:
    https://plus.google.com/100962871525684315897/posts
    http://www.facebook.com/jarvie

    P.P.S
    I will post some more pictures of some of the other things we did on the trip later. I just couldn't wait on posting these pictures.

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  3. #2
    The Wire Pass trailhead was PACKED both on Saturday and Sunday! Most people parked there were hiking into Wire Pass to Buckskin Gulch, though. We started our hike to the Wave late in the morning on Saturday and had to park all the way at the top by the large campsite. We didn't see any rangers that day, but we also didn't see many people either....certainly less than the 20 that are allowed.

    On Sunday morning we hiked into Wire Pass and Buckskin, but we had already left before you arrived at 2pm :)
    Randy Langstraat
    ADVENTR.CO | Anasazi Photography

  4. #3
    I had no idea that Buckskin Gulch was that popular of a hike. The two other times I have been to The Wave the parking lot was relativity empty. The 1st time was in January so I wasn't expecting anyone to be there (us and two other cars), but the 2nd time was closer to this time of the year. There where people walking back from The Wave without tags and we where warned by 2 other people that the rangers where checking permits/turning people away... I am glad to hear that must of the people where there for the Gulch though.

  5. #4
    Those pictures are fantastic! What was used to light the Wave for the night shots? How long of an exposure?

    Given that we haven't been able to get a permit to the Wave, it's disappointing to hear about people going without a permit (but it does sound like they were fining people). We were there in March and a lot of people who didn't get permits to the Wave were hiking Buckskin Gulch, so the parking lot was busy.

    Sounds like a fun trip!

  6. #5
    Bogley BigShot
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    WOW! Holly Molly!!!!

  7. #6
    We were lucky to get Wave permits for Sunday, and were shocked by the Trailhead packed with cars. We had visited before several times, but never had any trouble finding a place to park! During our hike back, we met a team of four, which I informed about the rangers, so I guess we met that day :)

    We wanted to watch the eclipse, but were afraid of the early sunset due to the western cliffs, thus we left early and moved to Coral Pink Sand Dunes for sunset. Had a nice time there and a good view of the eclipse. While I looked at the nightly shots of the Wave, I remembered staying at the Wave for full moon some years ago, s. attached. We also experimented with artifical light sources back then, but the cold and intense light of the Moon could not be maxed. I would strongly suggest LED headlights and a GPS for recording a track during the approach to the Wave. This helped us trace back our steps to the trailhead.

    Thanks for the nice TR and pictures!


  8. #7
    The one with the least amount of stars was done right after sunset and Scott was taking 15 second shots. As the sun completely faded out we moved the exposer time to 30 seconds. Scott was behind the camera with a SB-700, I was behind the right wave with a SB-900 and my wife was behind the left pocket also with a SB-900. Each of us shot our flash between 2-4 times on different settings ranging between 1/2-1/16th duration and 24-200 zoom. After each take we would look at the image on the LCD screen and adjust where we were shooting at or the flash settings as to avoid hot spots or hard shadows on the image (it mostly worked).

    The GPS would have been great with the new moon. I brought one on the trip with us, but I didn't double check to make sure that it was in our day pack.

  9. #8
    WOW!!!!!! These are absolutely stunning shots!

  10. #9
    ...wonderful and very rare pictures of the wave in the night. :thumbup:

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  11. #10

  12. #11
    Bluegrass Junkie powderglut's Avatar
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    Wow! I love the way the night shots came out. It's given me a new perspective on my next visit.

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