Zion 2010: Day 10 (Narrows VI)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Today is my last full day here in Zion.  I have one final shot planned — it is not one that I think will be amazing, but I want to give this location another try. You see, I shot this same location last year, and was not satisfied with the result.  Technically, the shot was okay, but I didn’t like the composition. I wasn’t able to place the tripod where it needed to be for the composition I envisioned.

My goal was to shoot a horizontal composition on my 8×10 camera. At this location, the river flows around a gentle curve, and cascades into a deeper pool of water.  In the background, a stand of trees congregate at the base of a sheer sandstone cliff.

This year, there were several sand bars on the downstream side of the cascade.  This was an ideal spot for my tripod — a viewpoint that was not possible in 2009.

As usual, I knew what time the reflected light would be best, so I setup my camera and waited.

When my shooting window arrived, I took an exposure of 2 minutes @ f/45 on Velvia 50. To help control reflections, I used a polarizer along with a Lee lens hood.

Paradise Cove | Ebony RW810 | Nikkor 150mm | Polarizer | 2 minutes @ f/45

For the photo geeks out there, the upper left corner was metered at -2 on my spot meter (nearly black) because of the deep shadow. The water highlights in the foreground are metered at between +2 and +2.4 to ensure they were bright white. The leaves in the background were metered at about +1.5.

After making the exposure.  The hood, filter, lens, camera, and tripod were carefully carried across the field of slippery rocks and swift current on separate trips.

After packing my gear, I began the hike back. With each bend in the canyon, I found myself looking back for one last glance. I know I will be back next year, but it’s sad to say goodbye.

Thanks everyone who has been following my blog — and a special thank you to those who have contributed with a voluntary donation.

Later this week, I’ll post a Zion recap with the lessons I’ve learned from this trip.

In January/Februrary, I’ll be heading out to Death Valley, and possibly some other locations.  As usual, I’ll be recording video journals to accompany the text and photos.  I’m stepping up the video quality next time around.  Rather than using a point and shoot still camera, I now have a 3 chip Panasonic TM700 video camera with an external mic to avoid wind noise.

Stay tuned!

6 Responses to “Zion 2010: Day 10 (Narrows VI)”

  1. Sharon Van Lieu Says:

    Beautiful shot, Ben. You did a good job of controlling the highlights/deep shadows. This is a gorgeous photograph.


    • Ben Horne Says:

      Thanks Sharon. I’m getting better with my metering. That’s something I’ve struggled with in the past. When I switched back to film, my first few good shots were the result of happy accidents. Now I can honestly say that the exposure turned out as I planned. 🙂

  2. Ryan Bagley Says:

    Did you use a magenta filter or do any post for the color shift of velvia 50? I’ve had some problems with that past 10-20 seconds…

    • Ben Horne Says:

      I didn’t have any issues with color casts on this one. Maybe there is something special about reflected light that Velvia 50 does fine with for long exposures. I have definitely experienced color shifts when shooting along the coast with a long exposure, but it has never been a problem in these canyons.

      I scanned this one with bright mid-tones to reveal as much shadow detail as possible, the set the black and white points with curves. I added a pop of saturation to bring out the reddish glow, and that was it.

      I find I get better results using the Epson software that came with my V700 than the supposedly better Silver Fast software.

  3. bob francella Says:

    Ben it amazing the photos are just great, you really deserve all the credit you get.

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