Fall Color Report, Utah Canyonlands

I was surprised to see that the fall color display in Southeast Utah was nearing completion. For the past 5 years or so I have visited the Canyonlands Island in the Sky, photographing in and around Moab, Cedar Mesa, Comb Ridge and the Needles District of Canyonlands.  Each year I head out there during the last week in October, usually spending Halloween camping in the canyons.  This weekend proved to be very different than in the past, as the cottonwoods along the creeks, Indian Creek, Beef Basin, Lavender and Davis Canyons and along the Lockhart Basin road were past prime color.

But, I searched out a few gems and captured the last color of fall 2012.  In addition, I got up on Saturday at 3:00 am so I could photograph the night sky after the moonset.  On the way to our campsite along the Colorado River, I saw some sweet reflections too.

©Kit Frost

Along Hwy 211, near Newspaper Rock, Utah © Kit Frost

If you want to call the sandy wash a road…©Kit Frost

Along Potash Road, outside of Moab, Utah ©Kit Frost

Looking like some sort of snake skin. ©Kit Frost

Arches National Park, Night Sky

Looking east from Arches National Park.

Free Close-up and Macro Photography information

Close-Up and Macro Photography, A Primer

A free e-book from Macro Stop

I ran across this pdf online today, Michael offers this ebook free to share so go ahead and pass it on. Free, for non commercial use. wonderfully written, and full of good macro images. I love his quote:

“I am one of those people who spend too much time indoors but still have to have a reason, some mission, to simply go outside where it is nice. Photography is my reason and close-up and macro work is my passion and ticket to the outdoors.”

Text and Photos by Michael Erlewine

I too find photography to be my passion and my ticket to adventure and the outdoors. In his pdf, Michael mentions the depth of field preview button.  I thought I’d spend a few moments today discussing its use in the field.

Most higher end DSLR and many film cameras include a button, usually located on the side of the body where the lens mounts.  When you press the button, the lens “stops down” to whatever aperture you set on the camera.  Without this button on your camera, you are simply guessing at the results of the various apertures.

Try this exercise:  Set your mode to AV (A), set your f-stop to f5.6 and press the depth of field (DOF) button.  Looking through the viewfinder, press the button a few times. Not much happens.  Next, keeping your mode on AV, set your f-stop to f11 and press the button a few times. You should notice that the viewfinder image is a bit darker to you at f11.  Now, keeping the camera up to your eye, set your f-stop for f16 and press the DOF button a few times.  What you will notice as you press and let go of the button is the scene gets darker.  But the point of the button is to show you a preview of depth of field so look more closely at the background of your image.  You will see a significant difference between the background when the f-stop is set for f5.6 versus f11.  When the preview in your viewfinder darkens its because you are actually seeing the lens “stop down” as it will when you take the final image.  I suggest that students keep their eye looking through the viewfinder the whole time you use the DOF button so your pupil remains dilated, making it easier to see the results.

For the above exercise it helps to frame a subject that is close and include some background that is farther away too. Stay focused on the near subject for this experiment.

I photograph using the Aperture priority mode as I believe that control of the aperture is the most important tool available for landscape and nature photographers.  Choosing the appropriate depth of field (combined with a shutter speed that works for the image) is one of the most creative way to make your photos “sing”.

Learn about Waterfalls

Havasu Falls near Supai, Arizona. The water is...

Havasu Falls near Supai, Arizona. The water is blue/green due to high concentrations of dissolved lime picked up as the water runs through the sedimentary rock of Havasu Canyon and the Grand Canyon. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

waterfall is a place where water flows over a vertical drop in the course of a stream or river. Waterfalls also occur where meltwater drops over the edge of a tabular iceberg or ice shelf.

Block, Cascade, Cataract, Chute, Fan, Frozen, Horsetail, Plunge, Punchbowl, Segmented, Slide, Tiered, Multi-step. The Types or  categories of waterfalls.  Defined as the most identifiable, obvious or prevalent form a waterfall takes as it descends.

When out making images of waterfalls, my workflow includes spending some time watching the water flow.  In finished prints I like to see the place where the water “lands”.  I feel cut off if the waterfall photo doesn’t show me the landing zone.  It’s often the brightest of the tonalities in the photograph so I pay particular attention to exposing correctly for those highlights.

Speaking of highlights, In many really good examples of waterfall photography, you may notice that the photos are taken in the shade. I avoid distracting “speckled sun”, and rarely photograph waterfalls in full sun, although parts of the falls may be wonderfully exposed with a bit of sunlight.  Here are a few examples.

The lowest part of a multi-tier waterfall as it plunges to the base.

Colorado has many examples of waterfalls. © Kit Frost

A plunge fall shoots through a canyon wall in Colorado. ©Kit Frost

Waterfall in the Rosenlaui ravine (Switzerland...

Waterfall in the Rosenlaui ravine (Switzerland) Français : Une cascade dans le ravin de Rosenlaui, en Suisse. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



Angel Falls in Venezuela is the worlds tallest waterfall at 929m (3,212 ft). A Plunge Waterfall