May 17, 2011

Location: Arches & Canyonlands

I know I just had a Moab/Arches post, but I was lucky enough to go again and just couldn't help posting some of my favorite shots.  Last time I did what I could with the time I had.  Again, I had little time, but a better plan for my photography.  It's all about planning.

The Delicate Arch is such a fun arch to photograph.  I love coming around that corner after the mile and a half hike and seeing such an iconic symbol of Utah, and a natural wonder.  I had plenty of time before sunset to explore every angle.  The wind was blowing like crazy, but the shots were flowing in.  I love this shot because it's unique, yet it is still identifiable.  I was getting pummeled with sand and wind and I wanted to show that in the photo somehow.  So I used my ND filter and slowed down the shutter a bit and waited for the bush in the foreground to dance.

There is so much texture in the rocks in Southern Utah and I wanted to capture that in this fine art photo. 

At camp I set up a long exposure to capture some star trails and really liked how they turned out.  I love setting up long exposures because you never really know how it’s going to turn out.  This exposure lasted about 24 minutes.  I knew I wanted the silhouette of the mountain, to show something grounded.  The moon had just gone behind the peak and I knew it was my chance.  The glow from the moon makes the mountain really pop, and pointing toward the North Star makes the trails expand even more into space.

This image breaks all sorts of rules in photography.  Pointing toward the sun, in harsh light, horizon in the middle of the frame, but I think it all works somehow.  I definitely needed my Singh-Ray Warming Polarizer and Reverse Graduated ND filter, to bring back the colors and the sky.  I kind of like how the sun bleeds into the image, kind of washing it out, but not completely.  There was still enough of an angle on the sun to show some of the layers in the canyon walls, and I think that helps the image a lot.  I don’t know why I liked this composition with the horizon in the middle of the frame, but it just seemed to work for me.  

And I couldn’t go to Canyonlands without getting the classic Mesa Arch shot.  It’s a bit too late in the day, and I would have loved to have caught it at sunrise, but it wasn’t in the plans.  Maybe next time.