I took the featured photo while visiting Zion National Park. It was an eventful day. The highlight of the visit was my early morning hike to the top of the Angels Landing trail. By midday, I was completely exhausted and I wanted to take afternoon break before going to sunset hike to Overlook Trail.
I took Zion’s shuttle bus so I could rest and enjoy the beauty of Zion Scenic Drive. When the shuttle reached Big Bend I saw the group of people standing on the side of the road and looking up and pointing somewhere.
When I looked in the same direction I spotted two tiny white dots in the middle of the vertical rock. Few moments later I recognized the team of two rock climbers slowly navigation up to the top of the mountain. I spent at least an hour sitting on the ground and watching the progress of the team. It was fascinating.
I took 3 bracketed shots with 1EV intervals (-1, 0, +1) on a tripod standing in the middle of the Zion Scenic Drive. I knew from the beginning that I would have to use HDR photography to process this image. Even though the sky was covered with the thick clouds, making the light less dynamic, the scene still had some very dark shadows casted by tall rocks.
First, I merged 3 bracketed shots for HDR using new Lightroom Merge tool. I outlined this technique in my latest tutorial “Lightroom HDR – Natural Looking HDR In Lightroom”.
This time I did not have experiment with the different Lightroom presets, straight away I went for the natural and the balanced look. I applied Natural preset from Landscape Collection and later used ToolKit adjustments to fine tune image.
The Lightroom Preset Editing Formula: Natural (1, 9, 13, 35)
Deconstructing Featured Photo
Camera: Sony a6000
Lens: Sony 10-18mm
Focal Length: 44mm
Shutter Speed: 1/400
Tripod: FEISOL Tournament CT-3442 – Check my FEISOL Tournament CT-3442 Review.
Ballhead: FEISOL CB-40D
Processing: Lightroom HDR Preset Based Workflow
- Topaz DeNoise was used to reduce digital noise (sky, trees).
- Topaz Clarity was used to enhance details and boost colors (rocks).