In order to do it you must first be able to see it. Conversely if you can’t see it then there is nothing to do. Sounds simple right? Far from it! No matter the subject, this small thought has always been a rule of thumb for me.
In this case let’s think Zion National Park in Utah. Close your eyes and it’s summer. My thoughts as I do this are hot days and warm nights. Big crowds and ice cream cones. Now how about winter? Brisk days and passing storms. Cold clear nights and bathing in stars overhead. Spring …. trees leafing and wildflowers possibly. OK fall. Color, Color and more COLOR!
All of this is real nice in general thought and some of all this, if not a big part is what I have in mind as I make plans and then head out. However the real magic and joy come in what I find as I experience the thrill of the hunt and the sheer excitement of the chase while there. Nothing is better than to f/8 and be there! Me and the gear.
When storms pass in Zion the result is surely water everywhere. It falls from the peaks and raises the Virgin River levels, the same river that has left us with this remarkable location, and all this renders the photographic oportunities unlimited.
Last week saw the onslaught of winter and being only a few hours away we timed it so as to witness the beginning of a series of storms. There are always two stagities that I use in these situations. One is to get to a location that I have been successful in the past and wait for light and the other is to chase it. Knowing which to choose comes from experience. Nothing teaches like experience!
In the iconic image of The Watchman From The Bridge waiting for light is common practice. People from all over the world have gathered here as have some of the greatest photograhers on the planet. It’s one of those rare places where if you are of a mind you can feel and sense how special this location is and just how fortunate I am in the dozens of times I personally have had this experience.
As the storm gathered and light diminished and then appeared in subtle intensities I began thinking and talking with people as they came and went in the two plus hours of my shoot. The vision in the featured image here was passing clouds and how the very scattered light that was hardly visable represented motion to me.
What I wanted was to show the motion of both the clouds and the river which were both moving so slowly as to be insignificant. I realized that a long enough exposure would also gather enough light to carry the composition.
That’s what I saw. Now how to do it? The right tools for the job is always the answer. My Singh-Ray filters allow me to paint my vision on a broad canvas. I’m never without them anytime, anywhere!
A 30 second exposure at f/11 using a Singh-Ray Vari-Nd Trio and Singh-Ray 4ss Graduated Nuetral Density filter was used in this image. The magic of the Vari-ND Trio is the built-in elements of the color intensifier along with a warming polarizer. This is in essence the Singh-Ray Color Combo with the added dimention of being able to “dial in” my desired shutter and aperture combination as it filters the amount of light that the sensor will see as I watch my light meter and twist the filter ring. It also allows me to bracket my exposures while maintaining that same combination. Again, possibilities unlimited! As a part of my kit this filter has been a constant since the day of its inception for me!
Yes there was better light to come this day and in the many opportunities through the years that preceded this one, and we’ll talk about them in posts to come, but the ability to See it and Do it was equal in every way to the image made here. I love it when that happens!