Sunset/Sunrise, Grand Canyon National Park
“Have mercy on Grand Canyon rangers. Don’t ever ask them, “Where’s the best place to see the sunset?” One, they are asked this a hundred times a week. Two, it drives a ranger crazy. It’s like asking the mother of quintuplets to choose her favorite. There is no best place to see the sunset. The canyon has two rims. Each rim is 227miles long. For heaven’s sakes, just pick a spot and watch it happen.“
Former ranger Andrea Lankford, “Ranger Confidential; Living, Working and Dying in the National Parks”, 2010
Well there. You have that from an authority, and she’s absolutely spot on. I’ve seen sun come up and the sun go down from any number of places along the rim, and they're all great. We’ll grab our coffee and the cameras at dawn and just start walking; stopping here and there to snap off shots as the light changes. Same in the evening. Even if you choose to plop your fanny down in just one place for awhile, the formations in front of you will take on different colors and shapes with the angles of the sun.
But if unwilling to take my word for it, here are some South Rim suggestions from the (long-suffering) NPS rangers:
On the North Rim, Bright Angel Point, Cape Royal and Point Imperial are shutterbugging favorites.
We stayed at the Grand Canyon for 2 entire days and we learned that the only way to enjoy the chameleon like splender of the canyon is to see its subtle changes over the course of one day. But of course we didn't want to stay at one point the entire day we had to look for an alternative.
Therefore sunrise and sunset are some of the best times to capture the exquisite colour and shadow of the Grand Canyon. Be sure to arrive at least one half hour early to enjoy the moving experience pf either sunset or sunrise.
Have a look at the picture and do we need to say more ... ?
You must go to see the Canyon at sunrise. It is awesome to see the sun first touch the tops of the rocks, and gradually travel down into the Canyon. It is almost as good at sunset as the shadows creep up the Canyon walls.
Since it is such an arid climate, you won't have too many days where it is overcast and drizzly all day long.
If you are there at noon especially in the summer, you will need to get something in the foreground to get some idea of the depth. Even then detail and closeup pictures are the items to concentrate on until the sun gets lower in the sky.
Photos can never really do justice to being there in person.
You should make the effort to catch sunset while in the Park. When you first enter the park, you will receive "The Guide". In here, you will find alot of useful and interesting information along with a chart, indicating the times for sunset and sunrise.
Yavapai Point is a wonderful vantage point for sunset, and you will undoubtedly meet many other tourists here for the same reason. It is quite wonderful to see the lengthening shadows and the deep orange glow of the setting sun upon the Canyon walls.
Hopi Point along Hermit's Road is another good spot to watch the sunset.
You can see from the photo how rich and golden the first light of the day appears on the Canyon. Mather Point is a great place to view the sun rise, and like sunset at Yavapai, don't be surprised to find a busload of tourists already here when you arrive. Luckily though, most of the other people were looking to the east and the rising sun, so there was plenty of room for me to set up my tripod facing west to capture the first light as it illuminated the canyon walls.
We were up and about early the next morning, making it back to the rim by 7 AM for a last look at this world famous attraction! This was the chance of a lifetime so we had to make the most of it. The rising sun allowed us some better views toward the west this time! The sounds of the fresh April winds were all that we could hear - one advantage of coming at that time of the year is that the tourist crowds are not so bad!
The best time for photographs is early morning (sun rise) or sunset, because the direct sun over head blurs the 3 dimensionality of the Canyon.
Morning light photography!
Taking pictures at sunrise or sunset is a joy to anyone who loves photography. There are several areas to view the rising and setting of the sun.