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Zion’s Heavenly Glow

Knowing where to photograph and when is key to photographing amazing light in Zion National Park, Utah.

At this particular location the light only lasts like this for maybe a half hour or so. The sunlight reflects off a canyon wall (not visible in photo), illuminating the orange canyon wall to the right.

Zions-Heavenly-Glow-1400“Zion’s Heavenly Glow”
Zion National Park, Utah
Prints can be ordered here.

 

This was photographed during peak fall foliage. The yellow trees in the center provide a wonderful color contrast to the blue sky and orange canyon walls, producing what I call Zion’s Heavenly Glow.

This was photographed hand-held using my Sony a7R and Canon 17-40mm f4 lens. The RAW file was processed in Capture One Pro and the photo was fine-tuned with onOne’s Perfect Photo Suite 9.

 


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Zion by Moonlight

Many times the human eye sees things much better than what a camera can see. The eye has a much larger contrast ratio with a lot more dynamic range.

Other times the camera comes out on top and can see things that our eyes can not. This is one of those photos.

Zion-by-Moonlight-1400

 “Zion by Moonlight”
Zion National Park, Utah

Looking at this photo, one can see all of the detail in this landscape at Zion National Park in Utah. When I was photographing it, however, it was much, much darker than this.

The sun had set behind me almost 30 minutes prior to me taking this photograph. A nearly full moon had come up over the horizon in front providing some illumination. The rest of the illumination in this photo came from the light still present in the sky behind me after the sun had set.

A long exposure and higher ISO – 15 seconds at ISO 400 – was used to provide me with a photo that I couldn’t quite see with my own eyes but what the camera had no problems in helping me see.

Shoot first, setup tripod later

I arrived in Zion National Park, Utah on Sunday with my colleague Christine Hauber ahead of our 2014 Zion Fall Foliage Photo Workshop a few days ago under cloudy skies and a slight drizzle less than an hour of when the sun would be setting. By the looks of it there wasn’t going to be a sunset that night, but the clouds hanging low over the Watchman were still very striking and photogenic.

Hard to tell with this cloud cover that within 45 minutes a striking sunset will occur.

Hard to tell with this cloud cover that within 45 minutes a striking sunset will occur.

As we were parking my RV at the campground and removing her car from the dolly we noticed the clouds were starting to break – there was going to be a sunset this evening after all – and it was going to be impressive.

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Balancing Act – Zion National Park Utah

Normally a crystal clear river, after a weekend storm in Zion National Park the Virgin River turned a beautiful chocolate brown and was running fast.

Balancing Act

 “Balancing Act”

Zion National Park, Utah
(Click on photo to view larger and to purchase singed & numbered fine art photographs)

While hiking along the river I found this rock cairn in the middle of it. By both photographing on an overcast day and using my Singh-Ray Vari-N-Duo thin-ring polarizing variable neutral density filter, I was able to slow down my shutter speed long enough to give the river a smooth and silky look.

Photo Details:

Photographed with a Canon 5D Mark II and Canon 24-70mm lens and a Singh-Ray Vari-N-Duo thin-ring polarizing variable neutral density filter with a 25 second exposure at f14.

Zion National Park 2013 Fall Photo Workshop Wrap-up

I am now back in Scottsdale, AZ following the 5-Day photography workshop Christine Hauber and I taught in Zion National Park, Utah. Registration will open later this week for our 2014 Zion Fall Workshop but in the meantime enjoy this wrap-up from the 2013 workshop.

Getting up early to catch the first rays of sunlight is what is needed for great photos and our students were up for the challenge.

Getting up early to catch the first rays of sunlight is what is needed for great photos and our students were up for the challenge.

We were treated to some unseasonably warm temperatures this year with daytime temps reaching the upper 60’s to low 70’s and nighttime temps falling to just above freezing to the low 40’s. While the fall foliage this year wasn’t as good as in the past – see my fall foliage 2013 report here – we still were not at a loss for beautiful and dramatic things to photograph.

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