A: I see why the early pioneers called it Zion Canyon. It is a beautiful, powerful place unlike any other national park. The massive red rock cliffs, combined with the Virgin River carving its way through the sandstone makes for an awe-inspiring landscape.
Just being out there on a trail or even a drive through the canyon is awe inspiring. The Narrows is one of my favorite places in Zion. It just seems that there is an infinite amount of inspiration to be found around every corner; the way the light bounces off the sandstone walls is magical and surreal.
Q: You have a day: let's say you do Angel's Landing, the Narrows and a couple of the short hikes. You have time for one more thing in or outside of the park: What is it?
Just outside of Zion Canyon in a town called Rockville. You can cross the Virgin River and drive to an old ghost town called Grafton. It was one of the first areas to be settled by the Mormon Pioneers. It's maybe a 25-minute drive from the Zion entrance in Springdale and has a well-preserved set of structures.
Q: Do you remember the first time you saw Zion? Do you remember what it felt like?
Yes, it was about 13 years ago. The first time I saw Zion Canyon it literally took my breath away. I remember driving into the canyon coming up over the hill in Springdale where the mouth of the canyon becomes visible looking up in awe at the massive sandstone cliffs, wondering to myself how bizarre and beautiful the landscape is. Love at first sight. Zion Canyon has been my home for seven years now.
Q: You must get a lot of visitor traffic at your studio, both national and international. What do travelers tell you about their experience?
We do get visitors from all over the world. Most are amazed by Zion's red rock cliffs and the way the Virgin River carves through it. I've seen people be so overwhelmed by the beauty of Zion either while hiking, or just looking at one of my images in my gallery that they come to tears. The beauty and peace one is able to experience here in Zion Canyon is hard to put into words.
Q: A lot of photographers visit Zion, maybe inspired by visuals they've seen online. What's a piece of advice you'd give them to come away with the best shots?
Be out there at sunrise and sunset, that's usually when the most dramatic light happens on the red-rock cliffs. Don't be afraid to get your feet wet; all along the Virgin River in Zion are unique compositions.
For help planning your trip:
For more information on the gallery and great local tips:
David J. West Gallery
801 Zion Park Blvd, Suite 1
Springdale, Utah 84767