Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Horseshoe Bend, Page, AZ

Horseshoe Bend, Colorado River, Arizona

So after a mere 4 hours on the road we found ourselves in Page. Though it looked like we passed some interesting sights, we had to be in town by 5 pm to meet up with the rest of the party doing the same photographic course we were so there was no time to stop-off along the way to explore.

The next two days we'd be photographing in and around Page and then heading south towards the Grand Canyon. The weekend course was being instructed by Alain Briot, a landscape photographer who has lived and worked in that area for many years, ably assisted by his wife and also-artist Natalie.
Format of the course required shooting at both sunrise and sunset plus other opportunities in between, with portfolio critiques and general discussions on landscape photography held in the slots left in relatively full days.

Horseshoe Bend is a section of the Colorado river that is, unsurprisingly, horseshoe-shaped. The plan was to get there early (6 am) so we could be set up by the time dawn broke. Fortunately, although cold, there was little wind, and since we were staying but a few minutes drive from the turn-out spot where we needed to park then getting up that early wasn't too bad.

We walked a few hundred yards to the main overlook area and got to watch the light changing across the entire vista ahead of us as the sun broke cover and climbed over the horizon. Personally, I've never systematically got out of bed and stood somewhere specifically with the intent of shooting the scenery at that time of day, but I now see what they mean by the quality of the dawn light being ideal for photography. The colours are more subtle and interesting, and it's much easier to balance exposure settings to capture both the sky and the ground without blowing-out the highlights. Except for some night time shots, it was also the first time I'd used a tripod, remote release and mirror-lockup on my camera all at the same time! But it won't be the last ..... next stop, Upper Antelope Canyon, where long exposures soon become routine.

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