POTD: Dark Shadows

Title and Location

Dark Shadows

Location: Upper Antelope Canyon, Page, Arizona
Camera: Phase One P30+, Mamiya 645D, 55-110mm

As you have probably noticed, I enjoy photographing in slot canyons and have several in my portfolio.  This shadowy image was photographed in Upper Antelope Canyon.

While the lower canyon is anything but flat, the upper canyon is completely flat with all the sculptured sandstone above you.  My camera was literally pointing straight up.  The upper canyon is also extremely busy.  During a 20 second exposure, you may have 10 or 20 people squeeze past you in the narrow canyon walkways.  I reshot this image nearly a dozen times before I got an exposure without someone bumping into my tripod.

The deep shadowed figure is known as monument valley because it resembles a butte in the desert.  To me it looked like “Batman” so I used a longer focal length to highlight it in my composition and lowered the exposure to leave it almost black.

All images of the day are available as limited edition artwork.  Click here for more information or to purchase a print.

POTD: Angel Heart

Title and Location

Angel Heart

Location: Lower Antelope Canyon, Arizona
Camera: Phase One P65+, Cambo RS, Schneider 35XL
Settings: f/16, ISO 50, 15 seconds, 2 shots stitched
When:October 2010

Can you find the angel photographed in Lower Antelope slot canyon?  Notice on the left 1/3 of the image the hole in the sandstone looks like a heart on it’s side.  Around this heart is an angel flying to the right with her hair flowing behind to the left.

The Navajo have named hundreds of shapes in this slot canyon and if you ever visit get a good guide to show them to you.  There are many slot canyons in this area all with entirely different personalities.

See my first slot canyon post for a description of the colors.

Click here for more information or to purchase a fine art print.

POTD: Underground Magic

Title and Location

Underground Magic

Location: Page, Arizona
Camera: Phase One P45, Cambo RS, Schneider 35XL
Settings: ISO 100, f/16, 5 seconds, two shot stitch
When: October 2010

A few days ago I mentioned how reflected light and shadows create colors in a slot canyon.

Todays image “Underground Magic” has the compliment of colors you’ll likely see in slot canyons during the fall.  With the sun lower in the sky it changes the angle of light entering the canyon.  That adds much more ambient light from the blue sky giving a different pallete from summer.

The canyon was about 3 feet wide where I placed the tripod.  I shifting the sensor 20mm to the right for one exposure then 20mm left for another.  Stitching these two exposures in software allowes me to capture this extremely wide angle view.

Click here for more information or to purchase a fine art print.

POTD: Swirled

Title and Location

Swirled

Location: Antelope Canyon, Arizona
Camera: Phase One P45, Cambo RS, Schneider 72L
Settings: f/11, ISO 50, 20 seconds
When: October 2010

Lower Antelope Canyon sits below a dry riverbed near Page, Arizona.

As you walk across the sandy riverbed, you won’t see anything except sand.  Suddenly you notice a small crack in the sand.  In a few feet it is about the width of your foot and you step in.  Each subsequent step gets wider and deeper until, waist deep in the sand, you climb down a ladder into the slot canyon.

Lowe Antelope Canyon is one of the most artistically stimulating locations I have experienced.  To photograph “Swirled” I had the camera pointing nearly straight up to use the circle on the ceiling as a compositional element.

Exposure and focus are both manual on a technical camera so it was a little tedious getting the shot accomplished.  With every try a 20 second exposure and a 20 second dark frame it took quite a while to get what I was after.

Light in the canyon is dim and a flat pink color to your eyes.   Fortunately, the camera captures the true colors with a long exposure.  You don’t know for sure what the color looks like until you see it on the camera LCD which makes the experience an awesome adventure.

My take on canyon colors:  Since the canyon is pink sandstone it is very light reflective.  (After all, sand heated turns to glass.) The light is reflected from wall to wall deeper into the depths of the canyon.  Sunlight hitting the canyon is worthless to photograph but each subsequent wall it is reflected on becomes cooler and cooler until the deepest shadows which reflect the ambient light.

Every visit to the canyon is totally different because the light and colors change with the angle of the sun and amount of cloud cover.  Summer has much deeper reds while autumn has peach, purple and blue colors.
Click here for more information or to purchase a fine art print.