The gorgeous vistas of Grand Canyon National Park are often seen as an embodiment of the spirit of the American west and the rugged natural beauty of one of the wonders of the world. The park was created in 1919 as America’s 15th National Park and was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. Millions of visitors come to camp, backpack, take day hikes or walking tours, or just marvel at the beauty of this Colorado River gorge. Join us on a tour of the Grand Canyon through nature photography– if you can’t make it out to northern Arizona, it’s the next best thing.
Grand Canyon Rims
The Grand Canyon National Park encompasses over a million acres of land, but the vast majority of visitors don’t actually go into the canyon itself or visit the North Rim. Visiting the South Rim is much easier; it’s only an hour and a half from Flagstaff and is much more developed. The Grand Canyon South Rim offers visitors groomed trails, interpretive centers, and of course, stunning views. The North Rim offers these things as well, but it is often less crowded and caters more to experienced hikers.
The South Rim is known for some of the better-known lookout spots, like Pima Point, which offers the view you can see in Halcyon Skies.
The North Rim of the Grand Canyon also has many beautiful lookout spots. One of these is Cape Royal, the southernmost viewpoint of the North Rim. Cape Royal’s dramatic overlook is captured in The Throne.
Nature photographers are drawn to the layered stone and beauty of both rims. In images like Rim to Rim, you can see that both sides of the canyon offer incredible rock formations, intense natural colors, and powerful views of the river below.
Grand Canyon Waterfalls
Hiking down past the rim of the canyon will treat you to all kinds of spectacular views. Many nature photographers are drawn to the numerous waterfalls in the Grand Canyon National Park. Several of these are found along Havasu Creek, a tributary of the Colorado River. Havasu Creek has a high amount of calcium carbonate in its waterway, which creates lovely colors in the water and elaborate travertine rock formations.
One of the most famous of these falls is the Havasu Falls, known for its sparkling turquoise water. You can see the beauty of the falls in Garden of Eden, a shot that shows off the pristine nature of this part of the canyon.
Another Havasu Creek waterfall is Mooney Falls, a dramatic waterfall that plunges nearly 200 feet into a turquoise pool. It is the tallest waterfall in the Grand Canyon, and making the trek to the bottom is often dangerous due to how rugged and unforgiving the trails are. However, for those willing to brave the trek, getting to actually see the bottom of the falls is worth it. You can see the roaring beauty of this fall in Into the Blue.
Not all of the Grand Canyon waterfalls are dramatic single chutes. Some are wider cascades, like the Navajo Falls. Even though the Grand Canyon snakes its way through the desert, the water means that it’s full of green oases and life. In images like Sacred Waters, you can see how much green vitality the Colorado River and its tributaries can bring to such a dry, hot place.
Grand Canyon Strata
The word “strata” means “layer,” and if you were to ever ask a geologist about the Grand Canyon, they’d probably start telling you about its stratigraphy, or the study of how these layers form. The Grand Canyon is one of the best examples we have of an image of deep time. While most of the Grand Canyon started forming 6 to 10 million years ago, evidence shows that parts of it are as old as 70 million years old, which is when the great inland sea started receding from what is now the Mojave Desert. Different parts of the canyon have different ages, and as the river cut through, it revealed the awe-inspiring layers we see today.
The different colors of the layers of the Grand Canyon come from minerals in the different types of rocks that make up the canyon’s walls. You can see these strata in images like Time & Chance and Sunkissed.
Grand Canyon Overlook
As we end our tour of the Grand Canyon, it’s hard not to appreciate the vista as captured through a panoramic view. Light of Ages captures much of what makes the Grand Canyon so uniquely beautiful and appealing to nature photographers. Whether you’re inspired by waterfalls or the idea of capturing time in an image, Max Foster’s Grand Canyon gallery is sure to delight your senses. Bring a piece of the Grand Canyon into your home with a fine art print that captures the light, color, and spirit of the American landscape.