South Rim Sunset, Lipan Point, Grand Canyon National Park. Shot with a Nikon D3x and a Nikon 70-200mm lens at 85mm. Image exposed at ISO 100 at f13 for one second.
Hi everyone and welcome to today’s post. I am finally home after being away for the last ten days to participate in my daughters pole vaulting camp. Not too much in the way of landscape shooting but a lot fun photographing the vaulters. Now that I am back I can concentrate on some of my latest landscape shots from my last trip to the Grand Canyon.
Today’s image was made from Lipan Point on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. If I had to make a choice of favorite shooting locations on the South Rim, Lipan Point would get the nod. The vista looking towards the East Rim Palisades is truly remarkable. In my humble opinion when I think about the grand landscape my mind invariably goes to this view. It is an arguable point and some of you may choose other locations from Yellowstone, Glacier, or even Yosemite. But my heart lies here. On a recent trip to the National Gallery of Art I found myself pondering some Albert Bierstadt paintings. In many of his paintings the foreground was rendered in detail which gave way to a vastness of suffused light and detail. His paintings often used atmospheric effects such as dramatic lighting, fog, clouds, and mist to complement his work. Though I am not comparing my image to the work of Bierstadt, his paintings were on my mind as I shot this day. The late afternoon light was beautiful. A gusty wind whipped up dust in the inner canyon and the Painted Desert beyond. The wind, in fact, was brisk and I had to find a sheltered shooting position on a point out from the overlook. Shooting with a large lens like the 70-200mm can present problems with camera shake in the wind. To help I shot from a lower position with my tripod legs spread wide to provide more stability. Focusing was done manually through live view and I used a small weighted beanbag on top of the lens to dampen some of the wind movement. I also set the camera to shoot with Mirror Lock-Up. In most cases, not always though, wind comes in cycles of high intensity to near stillness. When confronted with wind pay attention to the cycles and wait for the calm cycle to trip the shutter.
At this time of the day, and year, it pays to understand how the sun will illuminate the canyons features. As the afternoon sun moves lower in the sky, light will begin to soften in the inner canyon to the point where certain landforms are lit while others are not. In this image the sun is strongly illuminating Escalante Butte, to the left, and Cardenas Butte, to the right. The inner canyon light is softer and there is only a hint of light along the upper rim of the East Palisades. The effect is truly beautiful and dramatic. The image has a strong foreground with detail that gives way to an atmospheric condition brought on by wind blown dust particulates. The paintings of Bierstadt were indeed on my mind this day. To understand how the light changes and is affected by other environmental conditions compare this shot with the June 23, 2011 post which was shot on a different day.
The image was processed to emphasize the leading lines that draw your eye into the image. The line of “light” running up Escalante Butte on the left gives way to the darkened ridge line that frames Cardenas Butte. From there I increased the contrast and detail in the Colorado River to lead the eye towards the lighted rim of the East Palisades and the mass of Temple Butte in the Upper left. This image remains one of my favorite shots I have taken from this location.
Thank you as always for stopping by to visit.
Hozógo nasádo (Navajo): Walk in Beauty