Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah is one of the geological wonders of North America. Weathered sandstone deposited and uplifted over millions of years today stands as fantastically-shaped towers and ridges of multi-hued stone. The central amphitheater in the park is the primary canvass on which nature has created this incredible landscape. Thor’s Hammer, seen in the center of today’ photo, is one notable pinnacle of stone that is most easily viewed from Sunset Point on the amphitheater rim. The slender neck of the spire rises skyward, narrowing, until topped by a bulbous lump of stone reminiscent of the business end of the hammer of the Norse god Thor.
While walking from Sunset Point to Sunrise Point under a sky dotted with large cumulus clouds on a cool October afternoon, I was able to capture an alternative view of this landmark. As I walked, I kept turning around to view the amphitheater behind me. At one point I saw Thor’s Hammer tinged with rim light from the westering sun, and bathed in the spectacular light reflected by the sandstone ridge between me and the hammer. The combination of the shadows cast by the clouds, and the rim lighting and reflected light on the rock formations produced a deeply layered scene, rich with details for the eye to explore.
You can get a sense of scale of these geological formations by looking for the person to the right of the hammer on the trail down into the amphitheater, and about 3/4 of the way to the top of the hammer.
This photo was taken with a Canon EF28-135 mm f/3.5-5.6 lens zoomed to 135 mm and attached to a Canon EOS 5D Mk. III. The exposure was set to 1/180 sec. at f/11 and ISO 800.