As a travel photographer I really enjoy long driving trips. I believe they represent the essence of travel photography. Even with planning and preparation you always find something unexpected and exciting.
This photo is the newest addition to my travel photography portfolio that I took during my latest driving trip to the southwest US. In seven days I drove through Arizona, Utah, Nevada, and California. The photo reflects the most chaotic and eventful day of my trip.
That day I woke up in the city of Kanab in Utah. It was a beautiful and warm early morning, with the temperature about 18C. My first planned destination was Bryce Canyon, and you can imagine my surprise when in the middle of the same day I found myself driving through a heavy snowstorm near Bryce. I live in Canada and I am used to driving in the snow in the spring, but 2 inches of powder with zero visibility in the middle of May is extreme even by Montreal standards.
Later the same day, in order to escape the snow I drove to Zion National Park to take some sunset shots. While hiking along the Canyon Overlook Trail I got myself into a heavy rainstorm. I thought that the sunset was canceled and I was done for the day.
I left Zion, and as I was driving towards my hotel the rain suddenly stopped. Five minutes later the dark, heavy clouds had vanished and I was rewarded with this amazing landscape.
And this is the reason I love driving trips, where you learn to always expect the unexpected.
From the very beginning I knew I would shoot this scene with HDR processing in mind. Since the sun was setting behind me and I did not have to photograph against it the dynamic range of the scene was not extreme. I took 3 bracketed exposures (-2, 0 +2) using tripod for support.
Camera: Canon 60D
Lens: Sigma 17-70mm
Focal Length: 20mm
Bracketing: 3 shots (-2; 0, +2)
Tripod: FEISOL Tournament CT-3442 ( Check my FEISOL Tournament CT-3442 Review ).
Ballhead: FEISOL CB-40D
Lightroom: import, tagging, export to Photomatix
Photomatix: I used 3 images to tone map image (-2; 0, +2), 16-bit tiff image was exported to Lightroom.
Lightroom: straightening, cropping, export as PSD image
Photoshop: cleaning, contrast
- Topaz DeNoise was used to reduce digital noise (sky area )
- Topaz Clarity was used to enhance details in foreground elements (forest, mountains)
Photomatix processing settings:
Lightroom processing settings:
Photoshop layers order:
Archiving: I save all my photos as JPEG (quality: 100%) at full resolution and with the help of the Lightroom plugin, I synchronized them with my portfolio on SmugMug for safekeeping, sharing, image hosting and online sales. Do not forget that my FREE Lightroom Preset Collection is always free for all subscribers to my newsletter.