Kayaking the Bighorn Canyon at Night

August 15, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Night begins in the Bighorn Canyon. Bighorn Canyon Kayak TripBighorn Canyon Kayak TripThis gallery includes images from a Kayak trip into the Bighorn Canyon in Montana. I set off into the canyon just after sunset, and didn't return until early in the morning. This was a full moon paddle into the canyon.

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While I was in Montana, I made a somewhat-not-so-quick trip to the Bighorn Canyon for a little kayaking.  I always try to get to the Bighorn whenever I'm in Montana, as it is pretty much my favorite place, but I haven't ever kayaked in it before. 

If you look at the canyon walls in the above photograph, you can see the moon beginning to cast its light on the Bighorn.  This was as far as I would make it into the canyon. 

I started out at Barry's Landing just before sunset.  I rented a Rokinon 14mm 2.8 to mount on my Nikon D750.  When I got home, I realized that the copy of lens that I got was pretty much horrible.  It was very soft in the corners even stopped down.  Fortunately I also had my 20mm 1.8G with me, which never disappoints.

As I was getting to the boat landing, a doe mule deer and a couple fawns were crossing the road.  This one turned back to look at me before ducking under the fence.

mule deer fawn bighorn canyonA mule deer fawn in Bighorn canyon

In no time I was on the water.  I really like the wide perspective of the 14mm lens here.  It kinda shrinks the walls in the distance for sure though...

Bighorn Canyon Kayak TripBighorn Canyon Kayak TripThis gallery includes images from a Kayak trip into the Bighorn Canyon in Montana. I set off into the canyon just after sunset, and didn't return until early in the morning. This was a full moon paddle into the canyon.

There are many little off-shoots to the canyon that one can explore. Bighorn Canyon Kayak TripBighorn Canyon Kayak TripThis gallery includes images from a Kayak trip into the Bighorn Canyon in Montana. I set off into the canyon just after sunset, and didn't return until early in the morning. This was a full moon paddle into the canyon.

I was kinda 'chasing' the sunset a little bit.  It was fading fast for sure!  I was paddling hard to get to spots with light on the canyon walls.

Bighorn Canyon Kayak TripBighorn Canyon Kayak TripThis gallery includes images from a Kayak trip into the Bighorn Canyon in Montana. I set off into the canyon just after sunset, and didn't return until early in the morning. This was a full moon paddle into the canyon.

It wasn't long before the sun was gone and blue hour had arrived.   Bighorn Canyon Kayak TripBighorn Canyon Kayak TripThis gallery includes images from a Kayak trip into the Bighorn Canyon in Montana. I set off into the canyon just after sunset, and didn't return until early in the morning. This was a full moon paddle into the canyon. Bighorn Canyon Kayak TripBighorn Canyon Kayak TripThis gallery includes images from a Kayak trip into the Bighorn Canyon in Montana. I set off into the canyon just after sunset, and didn't return until early in the morning. This was a full moon paddle into the canyon.

Fortunately I found a spot to get out of the kayak and shoot a few shots as the daylight turned to moonlight.

Bighorn Canyon Kayak TripBighorn Canyon Kayak TripThis gallery includes images from a Kayak trip into the Bighorn Canyon in Montana. I set off into the canyon just after sunset, and didn't return until early in the morning. This was a full moon paddle into the canyon. Bighorn Canyon Kayak TripBighorn Canyon Kayak TripThis gallery includes images from a Kayak trip into the Bighorn Canyon in Montana. I set off into the canyon just after sunset, and didn't return until early in the morning. This was a full moon paddle into the canyon.

The Big Dipper was very prominent in the sky, especially since the moon washes out most of the stars.

Bighorn Canyon Kayak TripBighorn Canyon Kayak TripThis gallery includes images from a Kayak trip into the Bighorn Canyon in Montana. I set off into the canyon just after sunset, and didn't return until early in the morning. This was a full moon paddle into the canyon. After a little more paddling, I found a spot where the moon light was really coming in nicely on the walls of the canyon..

Bighorn Canyon Kayak TripBighorn Canyon Kayak TripThis gallery includes images from a Kayak trip into the Bighorn Canyon in Montana. I set off into the canyon just after sunset, and didn't return until early in the morning. This was a full moon paddle into the canyon.

I used my paddle to sort of hold my boat in place while I took some photos.  By now the moon was starting to get high enough to light up the water.   Bighorn Canyon Kayak TripBighorn Canyon Kayak TripThis gallery includes images from a Kayak trip into the Bighorn Canyon in Montana. I set off into the canyon just after sunset, and didn't return until early in the morning. This was a full moon paddle into the canyon.

A little further down, I really liked this scene with the protruding rock with the Big Dipper in the scene.  The only problem was trying to find a spot to shoot!  I found a very small section of rock sticking out that was just big enough for my and my tripod.  I had to really keep watch on the boat as I didn't have a good spot for it to come out of the water. Bighorn Canyon Kayak TripBighorn Canyon Kayak TripThis gallery includes images from a Kayak trip into the Bighorn Canyon in Montana. I set off into the canyon just after sunset, and didn't return until early in the morning. This was a full moon paddle into the canyon.

If you look just past the boat, you can really see just how much of this canyon is sheer walls.  I was fortunate to have a spot to get out that still gave me a decent composition for the above photo.

Bighorn Canyon Kayak TripBighorn Canyon Kayak TripThis gallery includes images from a Kayak trip into the Bighorn Canyon in Montana. I set off into the canyon just after sunset, and didn't return until early in the morning. This was a full moon paddle into the canyon.

I stopped one more time before heading back.  I was about 1am by now, and I still had quite a ways to paddle before getting to the boat landing.

Bighorn Canyon Kayak TripBighorn Canyon Kayak TripThis gallery includes images from a Kayak trip into the Bighorn Canyon in Montana. I set off into the canyon just after sunset, and didn't return until early in the morning. This was a full moon paddle into the canyon. Bighorn Canyon Kayak TripBighorn Canyon Kayak TripThis gallery includes images from a Kayak trip into the Bighorn Canyon in Montana. I set off into the canyon just after sunset, and didn't return until early in the morning. This was a full moon paddle into the canyon. Bighorn Canyon Kayak TripBighorn Canyon Kayak TripThis gallery includes images from a Kayak trip into the Bighorn Canyon in Montana. I set off into the canyon just after sunset, and didn't return until early in the morning. This was a full moon paddle into the canyon. Bighorn Canyon Kayak TripBighorn Canyon Kayak TripThis gallery includes images from a Kayak trip into the Bighorn Canyon in Montana. I set off into the canyon just after sunset, and didn't return until early in the morning. This was a full moon paddle into the canyon. It felt like it took forever getting back to the boat landing.  This place is just so big, it can seem that distant cliff walls or canyon corners remain eternally far away as you paddle towards them!

This was a crazy fun trip!  Next time I would like to arrive a little earlier and get all the way to Devil Canyon.  I had to meet a friend for coffee in Billings at 7:30 am, so I was a little time constrained(but still having fun)

As I was leaving the canyon, these guys were crossing the road. ... Thanks for looking!

Bighorn Canyon Kayak TripBighorn Canyon Kayak TripThis gallery includes images from a Kayak trip into the Bighorn Canyon in Montana. I set off into the canyon just after sunset, and didn't return until early in the morning. This was a full moon paddle into the canyon.

 


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