Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Pine Creek Canyon

I've talked before about the difficulties of photographing a canyoneering trip. But every once in awhile, our merry band comes across a canyon that has all the right angles and light for wonderful pictures. I think Pine Creek Canyon in Zion National Park qualifies. My two biggest complaints is lack of good angles to shoot (rappels are often in constricted spaces where it's nearly impossible to shoot anywhere but up or down) and the sometimes necessary speed we have to take on in order to get through a canyon before the end of the day. Pine Creek Canyon? Negative on both accounts. It was a real pleasure to have great angles and a leisurely pace (well, sort of; we planned on doing another, shorter canyon the same day). I had the time to ask my buds to wait for me when a photo op appeared, and there were plenty of those. Pine Creek Canyon is full of wilderness eye candy.

But the bottom line for me is how many good photographs I was able to squeeze out of the canyon. That doesn't happen often. I was happy throughout. What a pleasure.

On a technical note, I went with just one lens, my 16-35mm, and there were many places where there was bright and dark spots in the same shot, so I did a lot of HDR, five-exposure brackets. Many of the pictures in this portfolio come under that category. If I did my job right, it's not obvious. Lastly, lots of darkness where I was shooting anywhere from ISO 400 all the way to 26,400. Love that Canon 5D MIII with its low-light performance!

Jerri at the beginning approach to the top of the canyon.
Rich descending the first rappel.
Jerri watching Rich go down into the canyon.
Jerri on first rappel while Kevin looks on.
Rich descending into one of the most amazing canyon chambers I've seen.
Jerri wading through chest-high water to the chamber's exit. Oh, yeah, that water was cold.
A corridor through the canyon.
Annette under a rare swatch of sunlight.
The canyon version of driftwood.
Another corridor. Note the chock stone overhead.
Annette takes a brief snooze while Rich rigs the anchor.
Out in the open again, Rich descends into one of the more spectacular scenes.
Another canyon scene. Note in the upper left a "window" where the Zion tunnel cuts through the mountain.
Sometimes you get lucky: Rich wore a bright yellow shirt that kept him from getting lost in the composition.
Jerri belaying Annette.
Yours truly descending a free rappel (photo by Jerri Lauridsen).
Rich belaying Annette.
A small pool near the last rappel.
Rich washing off his gear of all the sand in a soothing, down-canyon pool. Caribiners get cranky when they're loaded full of sand and then they get stuck at the worst possible moments.
Relaxing in the pool before what turned out to be a longer than expected (and hotter) hike out to the car.

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