I find that Zion National Park is the most challenging place to photograph among all canyon locations I visited during my travel photography driving trip through Arizona, Utah, Nevada, California.
Let me explain. Zion was my last canyon stop before driving to the deserts of Nevada. At that point, I was used to hiking or driving at the top rims of the canyons with the plane view in front and below me. It was always easy to find something interesting to photograph with multiple options for good compositions.
Zion is different. It is very narrow and you drive at the bottom of the canyon, and in most of the cases, you have to shoot up. I realized that even with my widest 10mm lens was not wide enough to fit everything I wanted to include in my composition. The tall trees were always in my way. The only solution was to hike up to the observation point and get a better view.
The featured photo is from the Canyon Overlook Trail. I find this location to be the most accessible (20min short and easy hike) with the observation point at the edge of a cliff and a breathtaking view of lower Zion Canyon.
Deconstructing Featured Photo
Processing: HDR Processed in Photomatix
Lightroom: import, tagging, export to Photomatix
Photomatix: I used 7 photos to tone map image (-3; -2; -1; 0, +1; +2; +3). 16-bit tiff image was exported to Lightroom (Tutorial: Complete HDR Workflow).
Lightroom: straightening, cropping, export as PSD image
Photoshop: cleaning, contrast.
- Topaz DeNoise was used to reduce digital noise (sky)
- Topaz Detail was used to enhance details in foreground elements (canyons).