7th July is my 49th Birthday and I am up early to grab the shuttle bus to the South Rim of the Canyon. We arrive and it’s a short walk to the rim. I kept shutting my eyes as I began to see the view up ahead of me. As I fumbled my hand out to the railing and opened my eyes I took a gasp of breath. I had to shut my eyes again to let it all seep in. I stayed at the rim for an hour just looking and then decided to take the ‘Bright Angel Trail’ down into the Canyon. I did 8 miles there and back.
I took some photographs along the trail but it is true that the Canyon’s breadth and scale makes it un-photographable. The images are OK, but the exact same ones that everyone else has been taking. For a little project and to rise to the challenge of not being able to photograph the canyon I decided on an exercise to help me back up the trail. Every 10 steps I paused and photographed the footprints on the ground. The ground changes colour and the footprints all vary in size – other features, rocks and twigs also get photographed as they lie. The printed ridges of the hiking boots have the look of Canyon Mountains and strata. I took well over 800 images of the footprints. My plan is to montage these together and make a semi-abstract image of the Canyon on a well… ‘Grand’ scale. It seems to me as good a response as any. So that was my response to the ‘Canyon Photography Challenge’
Back in Flagstaff I heard some guitar music coming from the bar across the road, out in a courtyard, so decided to end my birthday with a meal and some beer. The duo playing was really good and we got chatting in their break. I mentioned I played and they said I should hop on stage! I borrowed a guitar, played some covers and they joined in with me – we went down really well. In a warm, fairy-lit garden in Flagstaff, the trains sounding hauntingly in the night and feeling pleasantly tired from my Canyon walk, it was a great way to end the day.