Radiance

This image is from my December 2020 trip to Zion and Bryce Canyon between Christmas and New years. This was taken at sunrise during the end of a storm (not clearing but not snowing) that dumped about 8-12 inches of fresh snow in the Bryce Canyon area. My goal on this trip was to shoot almost exclusively with a telephoto lens to try and capture more intimate scenes in the canyon. This particular scene drew my attention because of the soft glow on just a few of the hoodoos and a socked in foggy background in the distance. The light was spotty making for beautiful transitional light.
The temperature was hovering around 3 degrees making it very difficult to feel my fingertips as well as the controls of my camera but I loved every minute of it. I love the contrast in winter between the white of the snow and the warmth of the hoodoos.

Specific Feedback Requested

Does the Processing look ok? I didn’t do a whole lot but I did add some blue to the foggy area where it had been pretty much pure grey.

Technical Details

Is this a composite: No
Nikon Z7
Z7 70-200 lens
70mm
ISO 64
1/60th
f/9

I like this David, processing is a personal thing, but I like the warm look of the low sun on a cold scene. I think that sometimes adding too much blue can skew the natural balance back to a colder feel but this works for me.

This is a nice telephoto extraction image David. You have chosen an interesting section of hoodoos to include, with lots of visual interest. I think the colors both warm and cool look good, the blue fog tells the winter story well. The image works well as presented, but my subjective personal taste would be to crop away about 1/3 of the blank fog.

Lots to enjoy about this composition. For me, the combination of fog and lit formations was a great appeal.
When I thought about the image, I wondered if this image, like many big scenes, had images within the image. For me, the image tried to incorporate too grand a scene. I know that the scenery there is huge, and you gave us a telephoto snippet, but the right side seemed to be a slightly weak extension of the left. I selected a vertical slice. Also de-hazed and slightly sharpened the lower part, in an attempt to emphasize the fog above by that contrast. Burned a couple of bright verticals and dodged a few places to emphasize the light reflecting from a lit limestone fin to a shadowed.

20210101-_DSC2036 r1

I wonder if there is also a panoramic crop opportunity that takes advantage of the telephoto’s capture of the repetition of the central row of formations and their snow.

Thank you for your feedback @Ryan H, @Ed_McGuirk , @Dick_Knudson. I’m glad that the blue I added came across natural looking. I like the idea of a small crop off the top as well Ed. Thanks for the suggestion. Thanks for the rework on this one Dick. I like both crops and what you did with a dodge here and a burn there. Subtle yet effective. I have so many images from this trip and I think I actually took a portrait of this view. I’ll have to check that out but good of you to see it. Bryce is one of those places that you can find one comp after another if you just stop and stare for a few moments.

That’s some unusual light and I think you handled it well. The addition of blue creates a looks entirely natural and creates a nice, balancing contrast to the the orange hoodoos. My only minor recommendations would be to try an create a bit more glowing-ness in the sunlit areas to give them more emphasis as some highlights within the scene.

Thanks very much Tony! I’ll give your recommendation a try. Maybe mask the highlights and do either a gaussian blur or reduce clarity or dehaze?

Hi David
I love that you set that constraint for yourself…to use only your telephoto lens in search of small scenes. And you found this awesome pattern of rocks, with gorgeous orange in great light. I love the blue sky you worked on…looks totally natural and complements the orange rocks.
I love snowy scenes of the Southwest’s red rocks.
And, kudos for enjoying every minute of your fingers freezing!!!

Thanks @Mark_Muller for your comments. I really enjoyed the constraints that I placed on myself this trip. I came away with what I think are far more fascinating images than I have ever gotten before with the wide angle lenses I’d chosen on previous trips to Bryce. Those all seem to look just like every other image I’ve ever seen from Bryce without a whole lot of creativity to them. They’re not bad, just “typical.”
The longer lenses really opened the door to some abstracts and more intimate images and I really like a lot of them.
I’m glad the bluer sky works for you as well. I didn’t want to push it too far and yes, I enjoyed every second of being out in the freezing cold. However, that all changed when I got back in the car and my fingers started defrosting. That was really painful for about 5 minutes. I had no idea. So Cal guy not used to this type of stuff. LOL

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