photography from the ground up

Posts tagged “Canyonlands

Digging Through The Archives

I have been stuck in the Photographic Doldrums for the past couple of months, so I have been spending quite a bit of time searching my archived images. I’m not one to live in the past, but I’ve found that it can be rewarding to revisit my older work. I have rediscovered some of my best work rummaging around in old files. I have also found photographs that, for some reason didn’t make the cut when I first edited them, but over time, with my ever-changing vision and some changes in my workflow, they suddenly take on a new life.

This first image was taken in Canyonlands National Park in Utah. Mesa Arch is an iconic location for landscape photographers, but the shot almost everyone takes is of the sun rising behind the arch. Being a bit of a crank, and wanting to make an image that spoke of my vision and not some other photographer’s, I made this photograph in the late afternoon and used the arch to frame the incredible landscape that lies beyond it.

I made this image of Shiprock while driving to Utah a couple of years ago. I was drawn by the bright yellow rabbitbrush and I was also going through what I like to think of as my “fence phase”. These two elements made the perfect foreground for the great volcanic plug and brooding skies.

This is an image of the Virgin River in Zion National Park. The overcast settled lower and by the next morning, the rain was continuous, making my hike to the Subway impossible due to high water and flash flooding. But this moment, looking down canyon with the soft light penetrating the swollen sky is one of my best images from that trip.

Twilight at Chupadera Pond in Bosque del Apache NWR. These three cranes were hunting for their dinner. They had just flown back from a day of foraging in the farm fields at the northern end of the refuge and now they were continuing their seemingly endless search for food in the pond where they would spend the night. The color of the light in this image has not been altered. For one magical moment between sunset and the onset of night, the entire landscape was bathed in this golden-orange glow.

This final image of the Egg Garden in the Bisti Wilderness has gone through numerous iterations and I think I finally have it just where I want it. I know the composition goes against the venerable “Rule of Thirds”, but sometimes it’s good to break the rules, and sometimes it’s good to revisit the past.

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Juniper Bones

This image was made in Canyonlands NP. We were doing the Slickrock trail hike, and were nearly back to the car when I saw this juniper. It showed no obvious signs that it was still alive, but there was something majestic about it nonetheless. Just the fact that it had grown through the rock was amazing, even though I’ve seen it a thousand times or more.

Like so many images that I later come back to, this one languished in one of my Lightroom catalogues for a couple years before I realized there might be something there worth working on.

Equipment: Nikon D300, Nikon 35–70 f 2.8 mm zoom lens, circular polarizer, Bogen tripod.

Camera Settings: f 18, 1/5th sec., ISO 320

Processing: Contrast, clarity, vibrance, and saturation adjustments in Adobe Lightroom, curves adjustment, and Raw conversion in Photoshop.


Upheavel Dome

Upheavel Dome is an impact crater in Canyonlands NP. It is thought to have been caused by a meteor about one third of a mile in diameter which struck the earth approximately 170 million years ago. The white and yellowish dome is composed of rock that has been pushed to the surface from more than a mile below, and is not to be found anywhere else within the park.

There are two overlooks along the Upheavel Dome Trail. The first is an easy quarter mile walk from the parking area. The second overlook, where this image was made, is another three quarters of a mile beyond the first, and affords a much better view of both the crater and the dome.

Equipment: Nikon D200, Nikon 35–70mm f2.8 zoom lens, circular polarizer, Bogen tripod.

Camera Settings: f 18, 1/20th sec., ISO 320

Processing: Contrast, clarity, vibrance, saturation adjustments, and RAW conversion in Adobe Lightroom, curves adjustment in Photoshop


Washer Woman

This is another image I rescued from my archives. It was taken two years ago when I was at Canyonlands. Earlier I posted a photo named “From Mesa Arch”, and this formation is visible in that photo as well. This is just a different perspective, with more emphasis on the Washer Woman. In the other image, Mesa Arch is the main subject, in this one it serves as a frame for the subject.

The area around Moab, Utah is famous for its unusual formations, and breathtaking landscapes. I’m planning to return soon; there are countless scenes like this one that inspire a love and respect for the natural world, and I’d like to lend my interpretation to them.

Equipment: Nikon D200, Nikon 17–35 mm zoom lens, circular polarizer

Camera settings: f 18, 1/40th sec., ISO 320

Processing: Contrast, vibrance, clarity, and saturation adjustments in Lightroom, curves adjustment in Photoshop.


From Mesa Arch

From Mesa Arch

From Mesa Arch

This is a view looking through Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park. In the background is a formation known as The Washerwoman, and beyond that are the La Sal Mountains. This is an iconic setting in the realm of nature photography. I tried to shoot from a different perspective to give this image a fresh point of view. This is my pick out of about forty exposures I made that day.

Equipment: Nikon D200, Nikon 17-35mm f2.8, circular polarizer

Processing: curves, vibrance, clarity and saturation adjustments in Lightroom and Photoshop