Stone Rainbow

Rainbow Bridge, Lake Powell, Arizona

Rainbow Bridge National Monument, located near Page, Arizona, is one of the world's highest natural bridges with a height of 290 feet. It is almost as long as it is high with a length of 270 feet. Rainbow Bridge was known by Native Americans who have long held the bridge sacred as a symbol of the deities responsible for creating clouds, rainbows and rain--the essence of life in the desert. They named the bridge "Nonnezoshe" or "rainbow turned to stone." One of the natural wonders of the world, the bridge was formed by erosion of the sandstone by water flowing from Navajo Mountain towards the Colorado River. Rainbow Bridge can be reached by a two-hour boat ride on Lake Powell from either of two marinas near Page. After a wonderfully scenic ride on the lake, boats drop you off at the National Park wharf in Bridge Canyon and, to reach the bridge, there is short mile-long walk. The only other alternative is to hike several hours from a trailhead on the south side of Lake Powell but requires a permit from the Navajo Nation.

When planning for photographing the bridge, I realized that I would not be able to shoot it in great light as the earliest boat reaches it at almost 10 am. For those of you that have seen images of the bridge and it's reflection in the water, it is not possible to capture. One of the Park Rangers told me that due to the low water levels on the lake, the last time water flowed through the arch was almost 20 years ago. Regardless of the not perfect light and lack of water, the bridge is still an impressive subject.