Powell Memorial Sunset - Grand Canyon, Arizona

Powell Memorial.

Powell Memorial Sunset, Grand Canyon, Arizona

A trip to the Grand Canyon's south rim in January means long light on the north rim during sunset and sunrise. One clear afternoon we headed out to the Powell Memorial just west of the Grand Canyon Village in order to catch some beautiful sunset light. The memorial is a granite altar and bronze plaque on a pull-out along the west rim road. Just past the memorial is a gorgeous view of nearly 230 degrees on all sides. John Wesley Powell was an American explorer whose credits include being the first European American to pass the Colorado on a boat. He was an interesting historical figure and one can easily imagine the serenity he must have experienced passing through the Grand Canyon in 1869 when standing on the limestone outcropping of Powell Point and watching the waning daylight race up the north rim. Incidentally, I didn't take a photograph of the memorial proper (here's one in the public domain), but opted instead to spend a few minutes frantically capturing the last rays of ruddy light in a massive panorama.

I'm falling in love all over again with making these massive panoramic images now that I've put some renewed effort into accurate post-processing to remove artifacts like geometric distortion and vignetting. More panoramic images are coming as I evaluate and hone my capture and processing skills so as to make these massive images as perfect and seamless as possible. I've included some crops below for your enjoyment, but really the trick to viewing these images is to have an embedded window that allows you to zoom and pan with ease so as to take in all the amazing details. Try your hand at the controls below or click the link to experience all the little details via the GigaPan browser.

Click here to check out this 92 megapixel panorama on the Gigapan website or use the panorama browser below!

A few static crops to give you a sense of the detail in this image.

Off in the distance, rosy last light careens off the Palisades of the Desert. Beyond that formation lies the high desert of the Colorado Plateau.

Palisades of the Desert
Palisades of the Desert

All of the images in this panorama were single exposures at 14-bits. That is to say no HDR was applied because I was able to get detail in all the shadows without over-exposing the highlights. Of course, brining out these details meant a lot of careful post-processing to get that even exposure you see throughout the image.

Sunlight on north rim outcroppings
Sunlight on north rim outcroppings

In the two crops below you can see Mount Humphrey or Humphrey's Peak to the southeast people enjoying the sunset from Hopi point a little further west along the rim road.

Mount Humphrey
Mount Humphrey
Spectators along Hopi Point.
Spectators along Hopi Point.