Hiking in Kodachrome Basin (Utah)

I took the featured photo in Kodachrome State Park while hiking one evening along the Grand Parade Trail. The weather was perfect, with thick white clouds serving as a giant diffuser to the already soft evening light.

I hiked somewhere between 2.5 and 3 hours and did not see another person the entire afternoon. It was absolutely perfect.

Recently, I published a series of articles dedicated to the topic of composition in photography. Today’s photo perfectly reflects how I approach the artistic side of photography.

My goal here was to create the illusion of depth in a two-dimensional photo. First, I identified the foreground (the vegetation and log), the midground (the tree and rocks), and the background (the distant mountains and sky).

Next, I aligned the burnt tree according to the rule of thirds. Finally, I ensured the hiking trail served as a leading line inviting the viewer deeper into the composition.

Hiking in Kodachrome Basin (Utah) 1
Utah. Kodachrome State Park
Loc: 37.521560, -111.992315

Plus, the color contrast between the blue sky, the orange rock, and the green vegetation was absolutely breathtaking.


The shooting part was uncomplicated. The scene had an abundance of light, and it was not too dynamic. It means that I did not need a tripod, and I did not have to bracket my shots. I was shooting handheld, and I took a series of single shots.

Editing & Processing

It was a single RAW processing workflow.

Lightroom (50%)

I kept the original aspect ratio (3 x 2) but I cropped the image slightly to improve the composition (The Crop Overlay Tool).

Next, I used Natural preset from my Landscape Preset Collection as the base for Lightroom Rapid Editing. Then I used TOOLKIT to boost the Contrast and the Clarity.

The Lightroom Preset Editing Formula: Natural (1, 10, 17, 25, 34)

Photoshop (50%)

In Photoshop, I spent good 10 min or so to clean up the debris in the foreground and remove some distracting tree branches. I used the Stamp Tool.

The rest was a straightforward process of boosting details and noise reduction.

Plugins: DeNoise (noise reduction), Topaz Detail (local contrast boost).

Total time: 20min

Before & After Transformation

by Viktor Elizarov
I am a travel photographer and educator from Montreal, Canada, and a founder of PhotoTraces. I travel around the world and share my experiences here. Feel free to check my Travel Portfolio and download Free Lightroom Presets.

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