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Grand Canyon
Phase One XF with 150MP IQ4, 240mm Schneider lens with 2X converter

I think I have photographed this scene half a dozen times before, but every time I visit the Grand Canyon, I'm drawn to photographing it once again. The force is simply irresistable, but no matter how hard I look for something else, I still have to capture this subject - the back lit ranges at sunset.

I think this is my best angle yet. There are a couple of dozen outlooks along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and on my recent photo tour with Tony Hewitt, for the first time we spent two nights next to the biggest hole in the Earth. That gave us two sunrises and two sunsets and we spent the time carefully, looking for angles and taking the time to work on our compositions. I'm very proud of myself because I took quite a few frames which included the sky.

Skies can be immensely problematic for me, but that's another story. Here, my challenge is using contrast and clarity invisibly, which I haven't quite achieved here. At first glance, you probably didn't think much of the technique, but hopefully you enjoyed the image. But look at it more closely. See how the ranges at the top of the image are more punctuated than those below. I've used clarity across the whole image, but probably I would have been better to use it locally. For instance, I think I could have less clarity up the top, but I need more clarity down the bottom. This can be done selectively with layers.

And if I can get away without using clarity, I do. Contrast is sometimes a good option, but not always. So, what's the problem with clarity? Clarity works a little like sharpening, in that the dark side of an edge is made darker and the light side lighter. This can create 'haloes' and if you look back to the main image, you can see a hint of a large halo around the central mountain top. That's what I would like to remove when I get around to properly finishing this image.

In the meantime, I'm enjoying a completely different landscape down in Antarctica with Aurora Expeditions!

If you're interested in joining me and Tony Hewitt in the USA, keep an eye on these newsletters as we're working on our next trip for February or March next year. Optionally, email Kim (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and ask her to add you to the list and we'll let you know once the details are finalised. We're thinking about Yellowstone!

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