Hi everyone. Here is another posting from my recent shooting trip. This image was taken in Mountain Sheep Canyon, a beautiful slot canyon near Upper Antelope Canyon. It is more open at the top than Upper or Lower Antelope Canyon and therefore receives a great deal more light. Shooting in this canyon, as in most “open top” slot canyons is best in the early morning or late afternoon where the lower sun angle allows light to bounce off the walls. This canyon is full of wave like formations caused by water and wind erosion. Light was bouncing off the far wall located in the upper right hand corner and provided some subtle illumination under the over hanging roof. The beautiful striations and colorful tones in the sandstone are evident and illustrate the sculpting power of water and wind.
A few notes on taking a shot like this. You want to avoid shots that have full direct sunlight striking the walls. The bright contrast will over power the image. Instead you want to look for walls that are receiving indirect or reflected light that is bouncing into the shadow areas. Metering should be set to matrix or evaluative and you should be in manual mode. I typically shoot these at f11 to f16 with my 20mm lens. I will take a first exposure at 0 compensation-in other words at what the camera meters. I then will check the histogram and alter the shutter speed or the EV’s and recheck the histogram. I want to ensure that I am not clipping the highlights or shadow areas. For this shot the final image processed was 1/2 stop under the camera meters recommendation.
As to framing I was drawn to this image by the strong diagonal lines and sculpted scallops which are mirrored on each side. The strong diagonal in the foreground is reflected in the line on the upper left. All of these are focusing you inward to the dark shadow in the middle. I tried to give the viewer a place to get into the shot, move around, and exit. Another thing I try to do in slots is weight one side of the image. That is to make one side more dominant than the other. Think rule of thirds when considering this idea. The left hand side is more dominant and includes the the strong diagonal line leading up to and around the roof dropping your eye back into the image. There are also pattern repetitions. Note the scalloped forms on the right that lead the eye to the shadow area in the center of the image.
Slot canyons are great fun to shoot in and present some unique challenges. Always be prepared when you travel in slots. Make sure you have plenty of water and make sure you check the weather forecast. Storms miles away feed fast moving water into these canyons and you can be swept away. But with planning, patience, and an eye towards discovery you can shoot some amazing images.
Thanks for stopping by today.