After spending 3 days in Zion it was time for another one of our most anticipated parts of the trip: a hike to The Wave! I had been here a year before but clouds had rolled in and turned The Wave into a flat, boring, mess. OK, I exaggerate, it was still amazing but not as great as it could have been. Willie, Yan, and I monitored the weather rather closely and kept praying that the clouds and rain from the past couple days would finally leave and give us some blue skies. "Come on Mama Nature, be nice to us" we kept praying! I think we checked the weather forecast perhaps every 20 minutes to see if we would be in luck!
Several months earlier I had applied for and been lucky enough to get a permit for 4 of us to visit the Coyote Buttes North, which includes the Wave. Phill Monson was supposed to join us but cancelled on us at the last minute so he could go watch Skyfall, earning him the new nickname "Sykflake"! This section of Pariah Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness is on the border between Utah and Arizona. We parked in Utah and then hiked into Arizona. As we hiked the several miles to The Wave we could see the clouds disappearing. We got really excited!
It only took us 1.5 hours to reach The Wave and we got here just in time. We were the first to arrive but had passed several other groups along the way. We had the entire place to ourselves for about 20 minutes before the others who'd up. We also arrived just before the shadows started to creep in. Most people photograph this during the summer, when the sun is overhead and creates less shadow. Our early arrival gave us a shadow-free window. A half hour later and the sun dropped huge black spots into the wave.
I absolutely LOVE this place. Photographs make this area seem larger than it is, but it's actually quite small. Still, the sweeping lines, beautiful texture, and wind-swept sandstone rock make for an amazing scene. We didn't want to leave, and I'm sure you can see why! I tried a number of different angles but as always, the classic shot is always the best! Later on we found the "Second Wave", a "Brain", and some other interesting rock formations!
Nikon D800 w/Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8 ED-IF AF-S:
17mm, f/16, 1/100 sec, ISO 100
B+W Circular Polarizer