Saturday, December 15, 2012

Orange Tree Reflection

Orange Tree Reflection
Another photo from my visit to Zion last month.   This is also from Echo slot canyon, adjacent to the East Rim Trail.  The curves along the left canyon wall first caught my attention.  I hiked a little closer and saw I could line up the curves like a series of waves in my composition.  Then I noticed the orange tree in the distance and I knew I could make a winner if I just spent the time.

I wanted this orange-leaf tree in the slot canyon to be the major photo subject.  I also wanted to line up the tree and its' reflection in the waters of the slot.  Sometimes an inch or two difference in the position of the camera (especially the vertical position) can make all the difference.  I took some with my standard wide angle lens, but the tree was so distant that it had no impact.  I switched to my standard zoom lens (24-105 f/4.0 L) and also my telephoto zoom (70-200 f/4.0 L) and tried different compositions.  This photo ended up being shot with a focal length of 100mm.

This is the best composition I could create here.  The photo is quite dark yet shows a wide dynamic range with the highlights in the distant tree.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Deep Inside Echo Canyon

Echo Canyon Slot
Echo canyon is a small part of the East Rim Trail in Zion National Park.  It is not a destination per se, but rather something that people will hike through as they got up to Observation Point or come down the East Rim Trail to reach the main canyon. 

Some canyoneering groups will go into the depths of this wet, narrow and dangerous slot. the main trail actually goes adjacent to this and does not require any difficult work other than simply climbing up the trail. There are several points where the trail itself will come to Echo Canyon and access into this slot becomes available. 

The above photo was taken as such an access point.  I setup my tripod with its' legs squeezed between two narrow and slippery walls.  Carefully I composed the shot and then made my exposure.  Trouble is, the wide angle distortion is pretty obvious.  I had used the 16-35mm f/2.8 L lens to record the image. It didn't look right.  So I climbed out of the canyon, change lenses to the 17 mm f/4.0 L tilt-shift lens.  This special lens prevents distortion. I climbed back into position and took several images. I knew I would have to stitch together afterwards to get the widest angle possible and capture the feeling that I get in this narrow slot.

 From a composition standpoint, this canyon forms the perfect S-curve.  In this case, things worked out the way I had expected. I hope you like the photograph.