Hi everyone and welcome to todays post. I know it has been a little while since my last post but it has been a whirlwind of a fall that has included the installation of my first one-man show at the City Meat Gallery in Winchester, Virginia, a major shooting trip to Utah, and a trip to Photo Plus Expo in New York. I am just now able to slow down and start looking at some of the files from my recent shoots. Todays image was shot in Bryce CanyonNational Park in Utah and was shot at dawn just below the canyon rim along the Navajo Trail. I found this “hoodoo wall” while scouting a potential morning shot for Thor’s Hammer, one of the more iconic hoodoos in Bryce. I made a mental note of the forms but at the time did not think too much of the shots potential. It was only while checking the rising sun angles with the Photographers Ephemeris on my iPhone that I realized I could capture the rising sun through the window openings in the wall. Scouting and pre-visualizing a shot is an important part of the photographic process. This is especially true when you need to arrive very early, before the sun rises, to set up the shot. As a general rule I like to be on-site and in place at least an hour before sunrise. This gives me time to get into position and an opportunity to watch the “lights come on”. I will always be enthralled by this phenomenon. In the darkness the landscape is seemingly a place of quiet shadows. It can be an eery time as well with thoughts of things that go bump in the night. But as the earth rotates into astronomical twilight, approximately an hour before sunrise, the eastern horizon begins to glow with the promise of a new day. By the arrival of civil twilight the landscape begins to glow with reflected light bouncing from the sky and clouds. Light at this time is generally even and shadowless allowing the forms of the landscape to be revealed. It is my favorite time to shoot.
On the next morning I made a few twilight exposures of Thor’s Hammer and then raced up the trail to set up my camera on the largest window in the hoodoo. I marked the brightest point along the horizon, the point where I thought the sun would rise, and made sure it was visible through the window. I made a few test exposures for the composition and then waited for the sun to rise. It came right on time and light burst through the hoodoos window. In order to get the starburst effect I stopped the camera down to f22. The smaller aperture focuses the light and creates the star. Additionally I wanted to make sure the sun was partially blocked by a piece of the hoodoo which aids in creating the effect and helps to eliminate a lot of the potential flare. I did have a little bit of correctable flare however since I was using my Tokina 16-28 which has a pronounced front lens element. The intense color evident on the hoodoo came from reflected light off the canyon wall just behind my camera position. The RAW file was processed in LR4.2 and finished in PS5.1
Camera: Nikon D800E | Lens: Tokina 16-28mm, f2.8 at 20mm | Exposure: ISO 100 at 1/15th of a second at f22
Thanks for stopping by today.