Thursday, November 01, 2007

Fall Trip 2: Zion National Park to Death Valley

When you reach the "standard" dawn shooting spot in Zion National Park a little early, you might as well capture a star trail shot. If the moon is up as it was for this shot, you can capture color in the surrounding trees and landscape as well.

As the sun lights the surrounding peaks, a graduated neutral density filter can be useful, but additional software or darkroom postprocessing may be warranted.

With light reaching the bottom of the canyon so slowly in Zion, it is fairly straightforward to head up the valley and find places to catch the advancing light in reflections in the Virgin River. A late morning departure from Zion leaves enough time to reach Death Valley by sunset.

The vast salt plain near Devil's Golf Course is one good option for dusk shots.

If you're really ambitious you can continue on another couple of hours on rough dirt roads to reach The Racetrack. Many people destroy a tire or two on the trip (as I did twice in my last 2 weeks on dirt roads, including here). This shot is one exposure, catching a spotlight shining into the air, then shining it on me standing as it I were still holding the spotlight... done twice.

For this single exposure shot I simply walked backwards holding a flashlight, then stood still as a spotlight was briefly flashed on me.