The Great Undercut at Coyote Gulch is one of the most impressive things you can see in your life time. I have seen many big canyon walls and many undercuts but none with such a combination and a view as this one has. This is why I chose to come back and photograph it two years after I first saw it.
Photographing the Great Undercut took some planning and some patience. In the morning my group got out too late to catch sunrise, which was fine by me. Since we were in a deep canyon you can’t see much anyways. We hiked out to the location late morning and I began planning my shot. I did not want too much harsh daylight to come across the arch (the structure in the middle of this image) but I also wanted to include some red glow which only happens when there is reflected light. In order to get those two combinations I had to return at sunset.
After six plus miles of hiking, my group returned to base camp. After a few hours of rest I headed back out to the arch to get this shot. I arrived a few hours before sunset which gave me time to contemplate composition and different areas to photograph from. I found this nice little pool in the stream with minimal movement allowing for a decent reflection in the water of the sky and canyon walls. I dropped my tripod very low to the ground to get a proper reflection as seen above.
In order to deal with the huge dynamic range of light I did end up bracketing the shot and combined three images at different exposures. The clouds in the image were a nice touch that showed up while I was waiting for the light to get right. I have a few other versions of this image with different cloud formations but I have not played with them yet. I just liked these ones.
I did have to remove some pesky hikers/ campers who decided to camp right at the bottom of the arch who would not collapse their tents for a bit. I did leave a tent to help maintain a sense of scale.
Enjoy, and message me about purchasing this image.
After taking these images the light seen on the edges of the canyon dissipated and the clouds turned smudgy and non attractive. That marked the end of the photo shoot. Afterward was two miles filled with frogs, toads and bats. Too much fun for a hiking, photographing, biologist.