I often schedule my portrait sessions for sunset at Grand Canyon. Though sunrise is always an available time for a photo session, it seems less people are morning people and many more prefer a sunset shoot. Because its important to me to shoot with natural light, this meant asking the couple to arrive ten minutes before sunrise. Sunrise photo sessions work well only if the light is light and mellow. Once the sun breaks over the horizon line at Grand Canyon the light can be quite harsh rather quickly and in the high desert, there really isn’t anyway to diffuse the light with limited vegetation.
Because sunrise is earlier and earlier in the summer months, I decided to choose a location closer to the village area, where as I usually take my photos on the east side of the canyon for sunsets. I chose Yavapai Point in particular because its a prominent viewpoint on the South Rim that has many beautiful trees and also bare rock. Grandeur Point is just a short walk from the Geology Museum and is also a permitted spot for weddings at Grand Canyon. We walked around Yavapai Point for all of these early morning shots. We were very lucky as there were some clouds that softened the sun and created a pink glow. We even had some clouds after the sun popped over the rim that allowed us to shoot a bit longer in the nice diffused light that they created.
I usually need to think quick and be creative in working with natural light. I pick locations and viewpoints that stick further into the canyon so that I have more opportunities to work with the lighting that is available. Its really fun to have to be resourceful and creative in taking these natural light photo sessions. Everyday is different at the Grand Canyon and the canyon never looks the same twice.