Zion 2010: Day 3 (The Narrows I)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

To be honest, Day 2 kicked the crap out of me. That evening, I hobbled around camp like a drunken hobo. My feet were fine, but my legs were tired. On the morning of day 3, I was still quite sore, but I certainly felt better.

The plan for Day 3 was to meet up with fellow landscape photographer Jeffrey Sipress and head into the Narrows. Jeffrey works with both large format and digital SLR equipment, so we have a lot in common. My objective was to spend time scouting the Narrows to figure out where to be and when for my next week of shooting.

Even though this was just a scouting trip and I brought my Fuji GX617 panoramic camera. This camera uses medium format film, and can shoot some very impressive images. It uses a large format lens, but takes roll film. This unique combination means that it is smaller, lighter, and simpler than a large format camera — yet the quality is stunning. I often refer to it as my “point and shoot,” though that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Since the 6×17 is still quite new to me, I have a hard time visualizing which scenes will result in a good photo. The more I use a format, the easier it is for me to find an ideal subject.

This camera is that it has a detachable viewfinder that I keep in my pocket. If I suspect a location might make for a good subject, I can test it out without having to pull the camera out of my backpack. This is very ideal on a lightweight scouting day.

Jefferey and I spent the day trudging up and down the narrows in search of good light. He shot several locations while I observed the light, and took copious notes in a small notepad. I sketched scenes that would make for good photos, and wrote the exact time that the light was best.

When you’re in a slot canyon the reflected light changes very fast. A scene might look drab and boring, but 15 minutes later, an epic glow might appear. The only way to know this is to be there and to witness the light. With my 8×10 camera, I don’t stand a chance at capturing a glow that only lasts a matter of minutes. It takes me far longer to setup my camera.

This is why I need to create a shot list of great locations with the ideal time to take my shot. With that information in hand, I can then formulate a plan, and return to each location over the course of the next week.

Since today was a day of scouting rather than shooting, I don’t have any images to show, and the video is much different that previous days of this trip. Rather than telling a story, the video simply shows some of the sights and sounds along the way.


Note: For Best Video Quality at this size, please select 360p instead of 240p

2 Responses to “Zion 2010: Day 3 (The Narrows I)”

  1. Bob Ross Says:

    Ben, you should consider using the knowledge you’ve gained from your trips back into the Narrows to take other photographers back in there – kind of like a workshop.

    • Ben Horne Says:

      I think there is definitely potential for something along those lines. I was also considering a publication that shows where to be and when — a self guided tour of sorts.

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