Travel in the Southwest at this time of year is problematical. It's just on the cusp of being swarmed with tourists, many of which will be on those infernal tour buses, idling their engines with a diesel rasp as one tries to encompass the beauties of the world around them. Last week, I set out for the Four Corners area, with an eye to seeing a few parks. Natural Bridges NP, Glen Canyon NRA, Capital Reef NP, Bryce NP, and Zion NP passed under the wheels of my SUV, as I trod familiar paths. On Sunday morning, a whim struck me, and I telephoned down to the Lodge at the Grand Canyon North Rim. Now, this venue normally requires reservations as much as a year in advance. The North Rim, while less frequented than the South Rim, is equipped with a very limited number of rooms and cabins, and so I expected little. But. A cheery voice answered the 'phone, and informed me that a cancellation had just occurred for a western cabin, and so I engaged it immediately. A swift three hours' drive later, I was dropping my bags in the cabin, and then proceeding outward. The day was fairly misty in the canyon, grey clouds filled various parts of the sky, and visibility wasn't very good. I decided to take photos when conditions would permit, but to otherwise focus (pun intended) my attentions on the experience of the day. At sunset, I was overlooking Cape Royal, as clouds occluded much of the horizon, and the visibility hadn't improved a whit. The horizon areas all around were going to blow in a thorough fashion for any shots that would have a hope of exposing the mesas and buttes in the canyon, the clouds were a steely grey, and - mon dieu, quelle horreur - I had left my tripod almost twenty minutes brisk walk away in my SUV. Still, this was my opportunity to take my own sunset photos of the Grand Canyon. But, how to proceed ? After a moment's reflection, I decided to work with a circular polariser to cut some of the haze, and to further employ a Daryl Bensen Reverse-Graduated-Neutral-Density filter to try and limit the blown horizon. This would also be a test if my hands were as steady as my mind in this moment (and those who know me will attest that my mind is not necessarily the most level, either...). As the sun made a desultory appearance between the clouds and the horizon, I tried several compositions, but as with so many low light cases, I held small hopes of success. I drove home Tuesday night, and only today did I have a brief look at the photos trapped within the hard drive of my Hyperdrive. I must consider that photos, like fruit, often ripen when left untouched. D200; 12-24mm AFS f/4; processed in NC; crop, resize, copyright in PS-CS2 Even when the tripod's not at hand... Always shoot. John P.