Grand Canyon and looking behind you

It’s something I always need to remind myself when taking photographs, that’s to look behind me and all around for different subjects. Sometimes it’s easier said than done, especially when taking photos at the Grand Canyon. Obviously, my main objective during my last visit this past January to this wonderful location was to take pictures of the Canyon. However, one just needs to look around to find beautiful images besides those of the Canyon.

Shadow and Light
70-200mm, 120mm, f/11, 1/40s, ISO 100

When walking up to the rim it’s so compelling to just “click” away at the expansive beautiful scenes in front of you with so many incredible possibilities. Each location along the Canyon providing different views and perspectives from its sloping canyon walls to the numerous plateaus and an occasional view of the Colorado River. Different photographic opportunities to capture its immense size and tighter compositions that capture its endless textures and colors. How the sun produces new palettes of vibrant colors especially at sunset and sunrise. It’s ever-changing seasonal views with winter being my favorite as the snow provides contrast to the multiple colors of its geologic layers. My favorite photos of the Canyon included those at sunset with the low angle of the sun providing dramatic contrast and textures of golden light and dark shadow. Another favorite was from Navajo Point at the eastern end of the Canyon that provided fantastic views looking down into the Canyon at the Colorado River.

Navajo Point
24-70mm, 45mm, f/11, 1/8s, ISO 100

While I thoroughly enjoyed taking photos of the expansive beauty of this National Park, it was some of my other photos when I reminded myself to look around that were my favorites as well. This includes my recent IG post of a pine tree branch silhouette at sunset. A photo that I captured as I was moving my tripod to a new location on the rim with the light from the setting sun filtering through a pine tree that caught my attention. I took several photos, including those with the full tree and the Canyon in the background. But it’s this particular photo of the single branch in silhouette with diffused sunset colors that I ultimately posted.

Pine Tree Silhouette
70-200mm, 122mm, f/11, 1/15s, ISO 100

Another photo that I posted from my trip was that of a raven. While not the most intriguing birds to photograph, unlike the California Condors I photographed at Horseshoe bend during a visit to Lake Powell a few years back, I do find them to be fascinating. From their distinctive call that reminds me of the desert southwest to the sound of the air flowing over their wings as they fly overhead. Usually, upon hearing them I stop to find and observe them. If you observe closely in the right light you can catch a hint of blue or teal in the feathers. They are somewhat comical when interacting with other ravens. A symbol of southwest they represent change/transformation and the bearer of messages and magic to many Native Americans.

Raven
70-200mm, 200mm, f/5.6, 1/1000s, ISO 400

Photographic Tips: When taking photographs into the sun I often take a bracketed set of 3 photos using the auto bracket feature of my camera. I typically use 1 stop intervals providing 2 underexposed photos in addition to my normal exposure. This ensures that I capture the full dynamic range of the scene that I can process as an HDR photo in either Photoshop or Aurora HDR. In the case of the pine branch silhouette, I selected one of the underexposed photos as a starting point. Turning down the shadows and blacks to ensure a dark silhouette. If you have any questions about this process, please feel free to contact me.

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