|Zion's "Little Tree" photographed with the Milky Way. It's single, 25 second exposure required the use of a tripod.|
Tripods are not allowed in Zion National Park —but only if you are in a photography workshop. These are the new 2018 rules for Guided Photography Workshops, but they do NOT apply to individual photographers who are on their own and not traveling with a commercial business.
In 2016 and 2017, photo workshop operators were given a complete list of where tripods were allowed in Zion, but now even these areas are off limits to tripods. For 2018, no tripods can to be used on any trail within Zion. Tripods are only allowed on paved parking areas and pull outs.
Why? Quoting the 2018 Operating Plan For Guided Photography and Painting Workshops: “The use of tripods on trails is prohibited by permittees or clients (monopods are authorized); [because] Tours must not interfere with the general visiting public. [Furthermore] …Due to the sensitivity of nighttime resources in Zion National Park, all requests for nighttime photography must be made at least three weeks ahead to time. All requests must include all proposed locations and dates/times of proposed nighttime activities. Since nighttime photography requires the use of tripods and tripods are not authorized on park trails, nighttime photography is not authorized on park trails.”
My opinion? Personally, I’m getting tired of the Park Service using photo workshop operators as their “whipping boys” to take the blame for trail congestion in the parks. This is one of the reasons I've decide to retire from conducting public photo workshops in the national parks and spend more of my time writing and doing private instruction outside the parks. My workshop operators friends spend a lot of time educating and setting the example for best practices. I believe the park should concentrate more on the large foreign tour operators who seem to allow their participants to do most of the trail blocking.
Question: Who hasn’t been in a national park, quietly taking a photo, only to have a large tour group run in front of them and start set up their tripods on the trail —blocking not only trail access, but the view from other tourists and photographers who came before them? Have you ever had this happen to you from a small workshop group (less than 10 participants)? I'd like to hear your feedback, below...
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