Kanab and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
By midday on our second full day of the tour, we were packed and heading out the east entrance of Zion National Park for the quaint desert town of Kanab, Utah. We would be spending three nights here and setting out from Kanab into the remote Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Known for its multi-hued badlands, slot canyons, and hoodoos, Escalante is the epitome of a strange but beautiful landscape.
This would be where mother nature would throw us her one and only curveball for the trip, as that night a strong winter storm moved in and covered the red desert sands in several inches of snow. But, this did not deter us from elevating our photography. Snowed and socked in that following morning, instead of going out to shoot, we held an impromptu post-processing workshop at our hotel, introducing everyone to the nuts and bolts of Adobe’s Lightroom Classic and Photoshop. This would prove to be a smart move, as it allowed for our final day’s post-processing session to be many times more effective at teaching some powerful and important photo editing techniques to our clients. Again, we will touch more on this in a moment.
Early the following morning, we would be setting out for one of our quintessential Milky Way shots at a location called Toadstool Hoodoos. I’d shared one of my images with the guests that I had taken there with our first group, and the shot quickly topped everyone’s lists for must-have shots. I’d been monitoring weather reports feverishly over the last few days, knowing that we had to have clear skies to make this shot work. And on the evening before, it looked like we would get a window.
So the following morning, at around 4 am, we headed out, bundled up and fingers crossed for clear skies. As we made the 40-minute drive to the trailhead and entered into a truly dark sky area, I could see clear skies and stars glistening overhead. It was going to work.