The Impact of Light & Changing Weather

After spending a week in Las Vegas as part of the website support team for Essentials of Emergency Medicine, we (silverorange) went to Zion National Park for the weekend before flying back home. Several hours after hiking out to Canyon Overlook this afternoon, it still amazes me how quickly it went from solid white, can’t see anything, to clear blue skies with grand views. It could have been measured in minutes.

Part of what I remember from my previous visits to the National Parks in the Southwest is how quickly the weather and light changes. With photography, light is everything. And with outdoor nature photography, that light source is only what mother nature presents on any given day. It’s not Zion, but this next series of images shows Monument Valley over a 17 hour period last November.

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American Southwest

It has been fairly quiet around here. I rebrand and launch a new focused on light weblog and then disappeared on an extended 25 day trip through the Southwest United States. I had every intention of staying online and keeping up but that failed miserably. However, I’m now home and ready to play catch up.

Last summer I traveled the Canadian Rockies so this trip was designed specifically to build a portfolio of the USA landscape. It may take a lifetime to generate a portfolio of fantastic images but my hope was to come home with at least 20 good photographs.

Mentioned already on the social media circle, this 25 day trip consisted of 4 States, 3 Timezones, 6 Airports, 8 Flights, 3 Rental Cars, 4400km driven, 5 National Parks, 2 Reservations, 11 Hotels, Temperatures from -15 to +26C and now 135GB of files to sort. On an unrelated note, I’m pleased to say that free internet was available everywhere.

As a first time visit, I hit all the well known and often photographed hot spots. I plan on taking my time at sorting through the good, bad and ugly and will occasionally post photos over the next little while.

Navajo Nation Reservation

Today’s Image – Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park

Monument Vally (Wiki Article) is mostly known for three sandstone buttes standing as tall as 1000 feet from the valley floor. The elders of the Navajo continue to live on these lands without many of the items like running water that we take for granted. This view shot from the “photographers platform” is a very common shot so weather, light and season is all we really have to be different. As the sun was setting and the shadows quickly moved across the scene, I tried several settings (72 to be exact) over the span of 2 hours and eventually settled with this one after the sun had set evenly covering the valley in shadow. Using a polarizer, 6 stop neutral density and a 5 stop split grad, I created this 62 second exposure to build as much movement and blur in the sky but still maintain some cloud identity.