Grand Canyon National Park (A View from Cape Royal on the North Rim)

July 4, 2013

A sunset view from the trail at Cape Royal on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Smoke from a fire on the south rim, combined with dust from 40 – 50 mph winds added interest to an otherwise cloudless sky. Cape Royal Trail includes the only point on the north rim trail system where you can see the Colorado River at the bottom of the canyon. If you look closely, you will find a sliver of the Colorado in this image. As usual, the image is straight from the camera with no special processing. I used a split-density filter to prevent overexposure of the sky—a technique that is already considered “old school” as it is much easier to make several exposures and overlay them in Photoshop for a final shot with perfect exposure of dynamic contrast between land and sky. I captured the featured image from a promontory over “Angels Window,” which you can see in image below.


Angel’s Window at Sunset

The “Window” is on the right side of the image and the flat surface above the window is a fantastic place from which to shoot, all the way out to the edge. Fortunately, the promontory was flanked with safety rails or I wouldn’t have made it out to the end for the featured image of this post. The wind was so relentless I found it nearly impossible to hold my tripod down, position the ND filter and get the image at a very slow shutter speed. Every time I took my hand off the tripod, it lifted off, camera and lens in tow like a helicopter, and I would have to snatch it from the air!

Later, on the way back to the car, a young couple from China stopped me and told me they feared for my life as I was making the shot in the wind. I let them know that my courage was bolstered by the safety rail. Joyce even half-crawled out to the middle of the narrow outcropping for a few seconds just to prove to herself that she was brave enough to overcome her fears. I was surprised to see her out there before she turned around and high-tailed it back to safer ground. A good time was had by all!

The North Rim of the Grand Canyon is wonderful with its desert landscape, unique critters and sublime views. I highly recommend it, especially considering that it only gets 10% of the traffic found at the South Rim. It is much harder to get to than the South Rim, but well worth the effort. When you arrive, you will find a quaint village filled with cabins and an incredible lodge where you can sit, relax and enjoy the view. If you are lucky, you might even see a condor.

DJB_GCN_2013_0665Grand Canyon Lodge Just Before Sunrise

If you aren’t too cozy with your pocketbook, consider a few meals in the lodge’s exquisite dining room. Joyce and I enjoyed trout, tuna steak, prime rib and a few other culinary extravagances during our stay. Our motto is that it’s okay to live the high life…..once in a while!

I hope this post gives you an idea of what a visit to the North Rim is like. As always, I encourage you to see it for yourself. If you register for a cabin about nine months in advance, you should be able to snag one of the six “Western Rim Cabins” which are situated at the very edge of the canyon. We had great fun holding court at our log and stone rim cabin and welcoming awe-inspired hikers to share the magnificent view from our front porch.

Thanks for looking,


View from Cape Royal:  Canon 1D Mark IV; Canon 17 – 40 L Lens @ 17 mm; 1/4 @ f/13; ISO 400; RAW Capture; Lee 4 x 6 Filter (0.9 hard edge); Feisol CT3301 Tripod with Markins M-10; converted and processed in Canon DPP

Angels Window:  Canon 1D Mark IV; Canon 17 – 40 L Lens @ 17 mm; 1/4 @ f/16; ISO 400; RAW Capture; Lee 4 x 6 Filter (0.9 hard edge); Feisol CT3301 Tripod with Markins M-10; converted and processed in Canon DPP

Grand Canyon Lodge:  Canon 1D Mark IV; Canon 17 – 40 L Lens @ 40 mm; 1 second @ f/5.0; ISO 100 RAW Capture; Feisol CT3301 Tripod with Markins M-10; converted and processed in Canon DPP

9 comments on “Grand Canyon National Park (A View from Cape Royal on the North Rim)”

  1. Absolutely stunning, Danny. Thanks for risking your life to capture these. (Don’t depend too much on those rails to keep you safe.) I made it to the Grand Canyon about 20 years ago and it was simply breathtaking. One day I would love to go back and see its magnificent colors in all it grandeur again, as you have captured here in your photos. Glad you and Joyce had such a wonderful trip!

  2. I’m typing this comment before I’ve even read the text. I involuntarily gasped. Thank you, DB. What an image!

  3. Danny, outstanding! Also loved your related mentor/squirrel story.

    Donna and I will be having a reunion on the North Rim with the other 3 Colorado State guys I went thru grad school with, and their wives, next June.

    We have one Rim View cabin plus one of the 2BR Rim Side cabins; we are so excited. I shared your post with the other couples; one is my buddy Steve “Omar” Sheriff, retired MDC biometrician.

    Happy 4th!!! Kevin


    • Wow…that is fantastic. I’m so happy for you guys and I know you will enjoy your stay, especially in the rim view cabins which are extraordinary, inside and out, and very spacious.

  4. we took our kids there a few years ago. despite a life long desire to see it, I could not go near it. I felt a need to crouch down low long before the edges, and met many other women doing the same thing. Made me crazy that my kids went way past me, and I wanted to grab other people’s kids away from the edges, too. Good for Joyce! And good for you, capturing those fabulous images!

    • Hi Peggy — I met several people who were queasy every time they were near the rim. I guess it just depends on how you are wired. Take care.

  5. Hi Danny, I am now just reviewing all,of my E-Mails, and came across your Nature Frames on the Grand Canyon. WOW! is all I can say at the present. What an incredible shot. Looking at that frame of the Grand Canyon, makes one feel ,”PRETTY SMALL”. I got one question for you, Were you holding Joyce buy the feet, when she ventured out to the rim? My wife, when she was alive, wouldn’t even come within 20 feet of it. I know, because we were at The Cliffs of Moher, in Ireland.Thank you for bringing such Beauty to all of you followers. I know you had to of had a great time.


    • Hi Art — Joyce actually surprised me when she came up behind me on the promontory. But she didn’t stay long!

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