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Archive 2012 · Zion High Country - Red Rock and Trees
  
 
gdanmitchell
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Zion High Country - Red Rock and Trees


I know how wonderful the iconic sights of Zion Canyon are after shooting there a few times, and I also am very fond of shooting in narrow canyons and against close-in sandstone walls. But I've become more and more intrigued by the ridges and valleys and slopes of patterned sandstone in the Zion high country.







Yes, I'm also a bit sucker for back-light. :-)

Dan



Nov 16, 2012 at 05:35 AM
dswiger
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Zion High Country - Red Rock and Trees


Nice collection of simple elements, muted colors.
That tree lower left just prominent enough to say its Fall.

Dan



Nov 16, 2012 at 06:38 AM
Ben Horne
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Zion High Country - Red Rock and Trees


You've done a great job capturing the feel on the east side of the park. Between the back lighting, and the reflected light on many of those sandstone formations, this has a very calm feel. You've also made excellent use of the compression of a long lens. I've found that this area is very frustrating to shoot with a wide or normal lens, but it's a feast for the eyes with long glass!


Nov 16, 2012 at 08:15 AM
JimFox
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Zion High Country - Red Rock and Trees


Hey Dan,

Very nice. The lighting is really sweet.

Jim



Nov 16, 2012 at 10:17 AM
gdanmitchell
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Zion High Country - Red Rock and Trees


Thanks, all. Ben, I'm a big fan of using longer focal lengths for landscape work - I tend to shoot with normal to long and eschew wide and ultra wide to some extent. I do use the longer focal lengths - I carry a 17-40 for my full frame DLSR - but perhaps less than 10% of the time. I like the ability to isolate smaller components of the landscape using the longer lenses, and because I frequently like to work with atmosphere and haze I find that the longer lenses amplify these effects a bit.

Oddly, many still think that landscape means short focal lengths. And double-oddly, I find that many who shoot a lot of landscape subjects actually are with me on the general preference for longer lenses. I wonder what your preference is in this regard.

One other thing in a general sense about the work of mine that I share here: My goal is print more than online sharing, so my photographs are post-processed with that in mind. Things that can work with online presentation, such as darker images and so forth, don't work as well in a print, so it might seem to some who are less familiar with making prints that my jpgs are perhaps lighter than they are used to. I'd love to have you see a print! :-)

Dan



Nov 16, 2012 at 07:11 PM
 

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Ben Horne
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Zion High Country - Red Rock and Trees


gdanmitchell wrote:
Thanks, all. Ben, I'm a big fan of using longer focal lengths for landscape work - I tend to shoot with normal to long and eschew wide and ultra wide to some extent. I do use the longer focal lengths - I carry a 17-40 for my full frame DLSR - but perhaps less than 10% of the time. I like the ability to isolate smaller components of the landscape using the longer lenses, and because I frequently like to work with atmosphere and haze I find that the longer lenses amplify these effects a bit.

Oddly, many still think that
...Show more

When I sold off my canon gear in 2008, my favorite lens was the 70-200mm f/4 IS. It was light, sharp, and I loved how I could use it to capture a compressed perspective. With the large format setup I've been using since then, my longest focal length is equivalent to roughly 70mm, so I miss much of that ability. I've recently picked up a D800 and am anxiously awaiting the arrival of Nikon's new 70-200mm f/4 VR for that very reason.

Extreme wide angle will often give photos a certain sense of "shock value" because of the way it distorts foreground subjects and sucks viewers into the scene. However, it isn't the best option when you want to produce photos that are very calm and quiet --- my main objective. This is something that long lenses do very well --- and your zion photo here is a perfect example of that. When I look at your photo, it has a very calm feel.



Nov 19, 2012 at 04:04 AM
gdanmitchell
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Zion High Country - Red Rock and Trees


The extreme wide approach has its value with certain subjects - we are all familiar with the venerable "near/far" compositions that became so iconic a few decades ago. These often featured a primary near subject (a plant, a rock, a pool of water, leaves, etc) that was set against a larger and more distant background subject (mountain, sky, forest, etc) that included a lot of area made smaller by the use of the wide angle lens. It is still a useful tool to keep in mind for certain types of subjects, and I certainly have a few of those in my catalog.







"Lupine, Upper Sabrina Basin"


While ultra-wide certainly can produce what you describe as "shock value" (that term makes sense) through rather extreme distortion of subject relationships, it can also be done in a way such that viewers may not even realize how it alters the world. (I'll be that most people who see my "lupine" photograph don't even particularly notice the literal impossibility of the scene since they aren't familiar with the actual location.)

On the other hand, I'm still mystified by the general acceptance of the idea that landscape photography means wide angle or ultra-wide angle focal lengths, often illustrated by recommendations that "landscape lenses are wide" and "you'll want wide for landscape." There is very little actual photography to support this odd notion, and there is a lot of photography supporting the idea that "landscape lenses" cover a wide focal length range. Even more so, if one talks to folks who do a lot of landscape work - and by "folks" I'm referring to those generally regarded as notable landscape photographers - it turns out that few rely primarily on wide to ultra wide lenses, quite a few rely a lot on telephoto lenses, the general tendency is to shoot in the more or less "normal to telephoto" range, and quite a few DSLR landscape photographers describe the 70-200mm zooms as their most favored lenses!

For my part, I often use even longer lenses for certain types of landscape photography, working at up to 400mm quite often - both for large landscapes and for "intimate landscape" work.







"Granite Creek Bridge, Morning Light and Mist"


Dan



Nov 19, 2012 at 04:31 PM
Ben Horne
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Zion High Country - Red Rock and Trees


Dan,

Perhaps some of the desire for a ultra wide lens stems from the frustration of photographers over not being able to capture an entire scene. Some of the most successful photographers out there are known for shooting grand vista shots, so many people assume that this is the best approach for photography.

It doesn't take long to realize there are far more possibilities if you focus your attention on more intimate shots. I've turned my attention toward the smaller detail shots that in some ways better tell the story of a location. As an added bonus, it's difficult for other photographers to find the exact location of intimate shots I've taken. :-)



Nov 19, 2012 at 05:32 PM
gdanmitchell
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Zion High Country - Red Rock and Trees


That last point is especially relevant given the recent story about the theft of rock art from eastern California.

On a more pleasant note, I'm with you on the "intimate detail" approach:







Dan



Nov 19, 2012 at 06:49 PM
andyjaggy82
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Zion High Country - Red Rock and Trees


Neither is right nor wrong. I love wide vistas, but lately I have been migrating away from the extreme wide angle shots, I find myself using anything below 24mm less and less frequently. However I am sure that I will get back into wide angle shots at some point.

One huge benefit of the more intimate landscapes is your aren't at the mercy of the weather and sky so much. Even with a lackluster sky you can have a lot of success isolating elements and coming up with pleasing compositions among the ordered chaos of nature. Perfect example is the image above.

My personal opinion is that extreme wide angle shots can provide that shock value, but they are actually quite difficult to work with. To pull off the really wide shot, and still keep the image as a congruent piece is rather difficult. Often times you end up in a situation where your composition is almost two pictures, a foreground and a background, with not much tying them together. It's can be slightly disjointing. As I've realized this with my own shooting I have started searching out prominent middle foreground elements when I shoot, so that the eye has a foreground that leads to a middle ground, that leads to the background. I find that helps tie the whole composition together a lot better.



Nov 20, 2012 at 10:32 PM





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