People ask me several questions about this image: Was I was flying?, Was the water really that color?, and How did you manage to get the light like that? No, I wasn't flying; yes, the water was that color; and I just got lucky with the lighting.

First, the flying part. When I was seven, my dad took me up into the Adirondack Mountains of northern New York. Whiteface Mountain is very civilized as mountains go, but it affords a remarkable view of the surrounding area. I asked Dad if I could climb around on the rocks on the other side of the guardrail. "Sure," he said, "just be careful." A few hops and I found myself facing a steep slope, beyond which lay Lake Placid and what seemed like the rest of the world -- forests and hills as far as I could see. I felt like I owned it all. I was master of the universe! I felt that if I jumped really high, I just might find myself soaring like an eagle.

And I've never gotten over it. This feeling often returns when I'm in mountain or canyon country, and I try to capture it on film. This usually means I have to perch my tripod and myself precariously on the edge of a cliff and resist the temptation to fly -- as I did in the case of this image -- but the results are usually worth it. Compare this image with Image #9612.

Regarding the water, there had just been severe storms in the area. Runoff from the reddish soil painted the water a rich terra cotta. See Image #9260.

As for the light, I had anticipated making this image under heavy overcast, and had composed for the shape of the river and the canyon walls. But, just as I was preparing to release the shutter, along came a break in the clouds, casting a beam of light into the canyon. A quick re-calculation of the exposure, and there you have it! A moment later, it was gone.