There is a special place inside Zion National Park called the “Virgin Narrows”. It is an unique spot to walk, experience and photograph. You have to take a shuttle to the back of the valley most times of the year and then hike a mile to get to the start of the real trailhead. The way you start is to step into the cold Virgin river, and when I say cold I mean within a few steps you feet are num for the cold water, this is a good thing, that way when your feet slide and bang against a rock you don’t feel it.
As you walk up the river and the cliff walls rise strait up hundreds of feet on both sides, and let in very little direct sun light. Because of this you need a tripod and have to use long exposures to capture any photos, this has the added benefit of letting the rushing water have some movement over the rocks, and adds some excitement to the photos. One of the many thrills was when you came around a bend and having this golden glow on the cliff side as light bounces from the other cliff side. In one photo you can see how it is almost magical.
After doing this photo hike here a few things I would do differently. Get there earlier so I could avoid a lot of the other people walking up the river. I would walk further up the river before I started taking photographs, this way I would be ahead of other people and I think more of the interesting shots with better light. Renting water shoes and neoprene sock would have made my feet and ankles feel a little better, but you don’t have to in the summer time.
I was there in September and by about 3:30 the light was losing the glow on the cliff wall, as it took us six and a half hours to walk as far as we did we packed up and it only took us an hour and forty-five minutes to walk back. This will give you an idea of all the opportunities you have to photograph. I will definitely go back and photograph this river again, as I did not get as far up the Narrows as I would have liked.