Behind the Scene: Angels Landing

angels landing-.jpg

The Story

Every once in a while I need time of my own. Surprisingly this does not happen often as I am frequently joined these days at 6:30 a.m. by my 18 month old and then go directly to work. I of course have a social job in that I have to work as a team 95% of what I do. Upon returning I am with my family all evening and then I go to bed.

I had reached my social limits and needed time to go out on my own.

Luckily for me, my wife obliged and so I set out to Zion to capture some wildlife photos and this photo. Upon arrival I headed towards Big Bend. I often start here when I am wanting to do some river walking alone as there are significantly less people who stop here. From here I headed down the hill to photograph a couple of bucks who were hanging out in the river and the banks.

A few things from this interaction. I am terrible at photographing wildlife at this time, but I will learn. The deer in Zion are way more mellow than the ones out of the park. Always remember they are wild animals for those who think they are not.

After walking and photographing for a while, it was time for me to line up my shot. After scrambling to find a nice riffle (a biology term for a rapid) I found my chosen location. Since the sky was way to bright for the image I bracketed the shot and took the photograph with three different exposures.

In the end I only used two of the images to actually edit the photo. I tried a few more compositions and even a different location but they did not turn out as nice.

The Edit

To pull this photo off I first edited two photos separately in Lightroom and then moved them into Photoshop. Since the rock had less noise in the longer exposure I used that for the image. The sky was from my short exposure with a lot of fine tuning and battling. If you look ever so closely at the rock there is a bit of a glow coming from around it. I have absolutely no idea where that is coming from as I have tried to remove it. It must be a general glow that comes off the rocks.

The water is the interesting part of this tale. When I first put the two images together I used the water from the longer exposure. As I looked it had a wispy and beautiful appearance but it was kind of dull. As I looked at the sky exposure, I really fell in love with the way the water moved in it. It had action and excitement. It had its own personality. So I painted it in using a layer mask.

After that I brought it back into Lightroom to do some final adjustments and then spit out the final image.

It was a lot of work but I like the photo.

Photo is available for purchasing and print.

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