Archive for February 2011
We’re freezing our tails off again here in Edmonton. It was -26C this morning; -35C with wind chill. We’re working on our fourth month of winter and it’s all getting a bit old. I, for one, am ready for spring. Perhaps I need to take the family somewhere warm for March break so we can thaw out.
In the meantime, I’ll continue to reminisce photographically about Arizona where it is presently 42C warmer than it is in Edmonton.
Technical details: ISO 50, f22.0, 1/5s, 24mm
Photo mods: HDR from 3 bracketed shots using Photomatix Pro; adjusted curves and saturation in Photoshop CS3
Another HDR from the Grand Canyon. Tree stumps like this one line the rim of the canyon. Not only is this the high country, it is close neighbours with the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts so it’s no wonder the climate here is dry.
Today’s photo is an HDR panorama assembled from four bracketed shots. I used Photomatix to blend each of the bracketed images and then used Hugin to stitch them into a single seamless panorama. There was some cleanup once the stitching was done to fix hot spots and some weird colour side-effects of the process. This shot was taken at mid-day when the clouds were at their heaviest and the light was really flat.
Technical details: ISO 200, f16.0, 24mm
Photo mods: Panorama stitched from four HDR images that were combined and tone mapped with Photomatix Pro; adjusted levels, curves, saturation, colour balance in Photoshop CS3
Back to Sedona today with a second HDR shot. Without processing this as a high dynamic range image, the lighting in this scene was very difficult to balance. It was quite bright all around the image while the red rocks in the centre were dark. By processing five exposures using Photomatix Pro, I was able to balance out the lighting without (hopefully) making it look unnatural.
This spot, by Oak Creek, is well off the highway and into the state park. It’s a perfect spot to sit and meditate or simply to enjoy some downtime by the river like these women were doing. At first, I was hoping they would move, but then I realized that they added scale and more of a sense of the place.
Technical details: ISO 50, 0.3s, f22.0, 28mm
Photo mods: Generated five bracketed shots from one RAW file, combined and tone mapped with Photomatix Pro, adjusted levels, curves to fine-tune lighting
In just a day and a half at the Grand Canyon, I managed to capture 600 images. Some people will think that’s a lot. Some will think it’s not so many. What I do know is that it is enough for me to rest on my photographic laurels a bit this week and continue to work through a few more of my canyon images.
Going into this trip, I planned to generate some HDR images so I did a lot of bracketing to prepare. For the few people who haven’t heard of HDR, it stands for High Dynamic Range. It’s simply a way of extending the range of light that you can capture in a single image by combining bracketed images.
For those who want to learn all about HDR, go to Stuck in Customs.
This, my first attempt at HDR, was shot just after sunset at 6:21pm from Hopi point along the southern rim of the Grand Canyon.
Technical details: ISO 200, 1/2s, f14.0, 32mm
Photo mods: Generated three bracketed shots from one RAW file, combined and tone mapped with Photomatix Pro, adjusted levels, curves to fine tune lighting, used noise reduction filter to reduce noise generated from HDR process
First discovered by non-native Americans in 1540, the Grand Canyon is one of the most spectacular of the seven wonders of the natural world. Carved out of the Colorado Plateau over millions of years, the canyon is 277 miles (445 km) long as measured along the river and averages about one mile (1.6 km) deep. The southern rim sits at an elevation of 6,700 to 7,450 ft. At its widest point it spans 18 miles (29 km). The canyon has clearly earned its name.
The canyon generates feelings of awe, inspiration and even reverence in those who gaze upon it. This can be seen in the names given the peaks and formations populating the canyon such as Vishnu Temple, Rama Shrine, The Tabernacle, Solomon Temple, Jupiter Temple, Bright Angel Canyon, Osiris Temple, Dragon Head, and the Tower of Ra. With names such as these who could not be compelled to make the trip?
There are nearly 20 lookouts to explore along the south rim from Hermit’s Rest to the Watchtower at Desert View. Without any hiking, a day should be sufficient. Weather is always a gamble so definitely allow a couple of days minimum and get out to every sunrise and sunset.
If you’re serious about exploring there are a variety of ways to get a much richer Grand Canyon experience from helicopter flights, jeep tours, mule tours, river rafting trips and multi-day hikes. The guided multi-day tours along the river are popular and need to be booked as much as a year in advance.
The photo below is a panorama that was constructed from five shots. My photo stitching software of choice is Hugin. Click the photo to enlarge.
`Prophet!’ said I, `thing of evil! – prophet still, if bird or devil! –
Whether tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted –
On this home by horror haunted – tell me truly, I implore –
Is there – is there balm in Gilead? – tell me – tell me, I implore!’
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.’
(Edgar Allan Poe, “The Raven”)
Not interested in the view, more keenly attentive to the food we carry, ravens inhabit the Grand Canyon, keeping a watchful eye on photographers, hikers, bird-watchers and meditators. They squawk and shout as if demanding we leave their territory. If we wish to stay any longer, an offering of food would be acceptable (though unlawful). They approach, without care or concern, the tourists flocking to the precipice. They act as the toll collectors – (feed us first!) – for the view.
If you decline to provide an offering, be watchful of your food, they might just take it. Hopefully without startling you over the rim.