Author Archives: Phil Ryan

About Phil Ryan

Photography helps me see. The act of slowing down to compose a photograph gives me the chance to appreciate what's around me. I currently am shooting medium and large format film and Micro 4/3rds and medium format digital.

Grand Canyon – North Rim

Wotan's Throne

Wotan’s Throne viewed from Cape Royal.

I had intended to get this post up last week, but as sometimes happens life intervened and I got sidetracked. The month of September kept me busy with two trips to the Grand Canyon –  a backpacking trip down to the Colorado River from the South Rim followed a couple weeks later with a photo trip to the North Rim.

Low Clouds

Looking into the Canyon at Point Imperial just after sunrise.  The low clouds softened the light causing the colors to really pop out.

Morning Fog

An hour later the fog had rolled in changing the whole perspective of the view. The sun threatened to break through but never quite did.

Bison Grazing

A small herd of bison grazing near the park entrance. They kept a cautious eye on us, and soon retreated back into the woods.

Distant River

Morning view from Bright Angel Point, an easy hike from the lodge.

Grazing Mule Deer

Mule deer grazing off the Transept Trail.

Aspen Colors

It being autumn the Aspens wore a surprising variety of color counterpointed by the pines and the clear blue of the skies.

North Rim Monochrome

Angel's Window Monochrome

Angel’s Window from the Cape Royal Trail.

We just returned from a photo trip to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Color images and commentary coming soon, but here’s a monochrome set for a start.

Burnt Forest Monochrome

Morning fog at Point Imperial.

Navajo Bridge Monochrome

Navajo Bridge across the Colorado River.

Point Imperial Monochrome

Sunset view into the canyon from Point Imperial.

River Gorge Monochrome

A dawn view from Bright Angel Point.

Tree and Rocks Monochrome

Tree on the Bright Angel Point Trail.

REI Adventures Grand Canyon South Rim

Rain over the Grand Canyon

Late summer rain over the Grand Canyon as seen from the South Rim

I’ll be honest… When I first stepped up to the scenic overlook at the South Rim my first thought wasn’t of the beauty of the vista, rather it was (Homer Simpson voice) “Holy Cr@p! I’m going to hike to the bottom of that in the morning?!” Continue reading



The Missus cruising Lake Pleasant

One of the things on our to-do list lately has been to try out some kayaking. It seems that several of the trips we’re looking at in future have the opportunity, and quite frankly, it looks like a good way to get to places less travelled. So when one of the local REI stores scheduled a “Learn to Kayak” class we signed up.

The  five hour class was held at Lake Pleasant, a county park northwest of Phoenix. Instructors Dannie and Angie brought both “sit on top” and “touring” kayaks so we had the option of trying both types if we wanted. We spent about an hour on dry land learning the gear and how to set it up properly and then proceeded onto the lake where we had a chance to try out the basic strokes and then “rafted up” in a cove for a little more instruction.

The next four hours we on the water learning and practicing turns, different strokes and techniques, sculling, how to exit the kayak if capsized (demonstrated with the option to try it. I did. Fun!) with time to practice paddling around and getting comfortable on the water. Most of the time we were in fairly well protected coves which both kept us away from the power boat and jet ski enthusiasts and protected us from the wind.

The paddle back to our starting point was actually a pretty good exercise in that the crowds of swimmers, boaters and partiers were in full force, and we paddled into a head wind which made it a bit choppier. We had a final demonstration of a buddy rescue technique since getting into a kayak in the water is easier with help – something like getting into a hammock. We finished up around noon as scheduled. Lots of fun!

Vancouver Island

Monochrome Gull

Over the water

Aside from a couple of stops at St Johns airport in Labrador, I’ve never spent any time in Canada. Not that I had ever heard anything bad about our northern neighbor, there just never seemed to be a reason to visit. When the Missus and I found out that Arizona Highways Photography Workshops was organizing a trip to Vancouver Island with photographer Shane McDermott it drew our interest, and since our calendar happened to be clear for the month we went ahead and enrolled.

Each day on the trip we sampled a different aspect of Vancouver Island. The variety of photographic subjects and the beauty of the area makes it impossible to describe in a blog post, so I’ve decided to just post a few sample pictures and descriptions to try and capture a little of the feel of the Island.

Continue reading



Jewel observing her new back yard from the porch.

Introducing a new member of the family – Jewel. Interestingly enough she’s from the same litter that Trix is from. Trix originally went to a family down the street, and Jewel went to their brother. As their youngest is starting college soon they didn’t have enough time to keep a border collie occupied and out of trouble, so they offered her to us.

Trix & Jewel

Playing racer/chaser after a refreshing dip in the pool.

I’m not sure if they remembered each other, but they took to playing together right away.