Fall Color & Sandstone, East Zion

Fall Color & Sandstone, East Zion

 Here is a phone image of my large format film camera set up after the warm glow of reflected light had dissipated. You can see how much cooler the light is, as well as the lack of dimensionality. 

Here is a phone image of my large format film camera set up after the warm glow of reflected light had dissipated. You can see how much cooler the light is, as well as the lack of dimensionality. 

The Details:

Camera: Canham 5x7 metal Field with 4x5 inch film back
Lens: Rodenstock 150mm
Film: Fuji RDPIII Provia 100F transparency film
Filter: N/A
Light Meter: Sekonic L558R (digital spot meter)
Tripod: Gitzo 1325 Carbon Fiber
Tripod Head: Really Right Stuff BH-55 ball head
Aperture: F32
Exposure: 1 second

How To Take This Shot 4

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Fall Color & Sandstone, East Zion

Zion National Park is a uniquely beautiful place. The combination of sandstone and brilliant fall color, which can be found here in October and  November,  is a magical combination. However, just like any fine landscape photography, the light present while shooting is incredibly important. Below is the story of how I went about capturing this image.

Fall Color & Sandstone, East Zion, is exactly the style of image I dream of when photographing in Zion National Park. While it isn't an image of an iconic peak, it is easily recognizable as being part of this fascinating region (more my style). I had cruised the windy road on the east side of the park numerous times, repeatedly stopping and hiking through the high desert washes in search of intimate compositions. I was fortunate to have discovered this brilliant grouping of fall colored bushes and trees nestled on the side of a wash beneath warm colored sandstone walls. Now I just had to wait for the light.

As luck would have it, I found this location just an hour before the evening light was optimal. I took my time setting up my large format film camera, as I wanted to maintain a minimalist composition while still capturing a sense of place. I was positioned on the opposite side of the wash on a sandstone wall at a relatively steep angle. The minor risk was worth it, as the height it afforded provided a sense of depth. It also enabled me to shoot slightly downward, eliminating sky from the scene and including more of the sandstone cliffs I felt were important. I was also able to include the rocky wash in the foreground, framing the fall color, adding separation, and enhancing the sense of place even further.

(Note: Zoom lenses on digital SLR cameras can make us lazy. One of the biggest revelations my workshop clients have is a large format camera idea. MOVE. Zooming in and out to frame an image is most often not enough. Fine tuning a scene usually requires a change in perspective. Whether it be a few inches side to side, or climbing up or down a mountain, when we move we change the relationship of each of the elements in our composition to one another. Remember to move when composing your shot.)

Now, back to the light! As the sun dropped low in the evening sky, it reflected off of the sandstone hillside behind me. This soft light gently warmed the scene, adding a dreamlike glow and some subtle contrast to a scene that would have been flat and cool. That is the ideal light we look for in the case of a shaded subject. These lighting conditions also allow for a solid exposure and rich color. The finest images I have produced are based upon subtle, refined light. While attention grabbing, a fiery sunset is not required (and to my taste, not preferred) in the creation of a fine art landscape photograph. Study the types of light you may encounter to bring your photography to the next level.
This is the Fine Art of Nature!

Enjoy the View!

Jon Paul

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