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The Rest of The Story

I’ve been wanting to visit the iconic Horseshoe Bend for many years and I finally had my chance a few weeks ago.

As its name suggests, the Colorado River makes an abrupt 270 turn in the shape of a horseshoe. It’s located downstream from the Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell near the city of Page, AZ. Drive 5 miles south on US89 from Page and you’ll see a gravel parking lot. From there a half mile hike on a moderately sloped dirt trail brings you to the overlook.

I arrived late in the day and found quite a few onlookers and photographers awaiting the sunset.

 

The overlook is about 50 yards across and provides a wonderfully wide view of the river – both upstream and downstream. The Colorado sits below the jagged cliffs about 1000 feet down.

These spectators are standing pretty close to the edge of the cliff. And while I love the scenic surroundings, I am not a big fan of steep cliffs so I made it a point to stay behind this couple.

There’s plenty of room to accommodate dozens of visitors without feeling crowded.

As you can see these photographers had lots of space in which to set up their equipment while waiting for the sun to go down.

From this vantage point, the cliff on which they are standing looks safe…….

However, in this next photograph I’ve stepped away from the edge so that you can see the rock platform on which they were positioned.

These people are a lot more brave than me. I couldn’t bring myself to stand next to them. I wasn’t about to stand just inches from the cliff’s edge that drops down by a thousand feet. No, not this photographer.


So how did I get this unobstructed view of Horseshoe Bend?

As Paul Harvey would say here’s “the Rest of the Story”.

My shooting position was immediately to the left of the four photographers with tripods. To take this photograph, I laid on my stomach and carefully crawled to the edge of the cliff. My camera was safely hanging from my neck by its strap.

Since I had a very wide angle lens (15mm), I first took a deep breath to get some courage, leaned over the edge, calmly composed the scene in the viewfinder and finally snapped about three shots.


 
So there you have it. By itself, this Horseshoe Bend photograph certainly doesn’t tell the story behind it. To inject a slight bit of humor here, let me say that I’m not afraid of heights, only of falling from them. I wasn’t going to leave the overlook until I had my shot. A little dirt on my clothes is the price that I had to pay to get it.

 
Written by: Arnie Lee

 

 


 

 

 

 

Landscape Tip #8

15th February 2010

One technique for turning an ordinary landscape into a more interesting landscape is to use the ground or ground covering as a way to emphasize distance.

Getting Down (to business)


This beautiful historic building, adorned with bright gold trim sits in the center of Brussels. This photo shows the structure’s intricate detail.


To add a different twist, I placed the camera close to the ground so that the cobblestones become part of an added perspective.

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Landscape Tip #7

16th November 2009

Sometimes you may have a difficult time deciding how best to capture your scene. Fortunately with digital, shooting that extra picture is nearly free. So go ahead – press that shutter button.

The Long and Short of It


Out in the wilderness with beauty all around, it’s sometimes hard to decide on how best to take that photo.

What is going to look better – horizontal or vertical? Well don’t fret, just go ahead and try both ways and then make your decision afterwards.


I prefer the vertical because it emphasizes the depth of the scene.

But since there is no right or wrong, you decide.

Landscape Tip #6

24th October 2009

Picture taking is often quite spontaneous but you can turn it into something that is more planned. To capture that perfect shot, you may want to take a few minutes to find the best view.

Take a Short Walk


What a view! I jumped out of the car and snapped the gorgeous Grand Tetons from the road at the Jackson Lake Dam. My initial thought was that here’s a view that can’t miss. However, a quick in-camera review revealed the orange floats in the foreground.


For this photo, I just walked twenty feet to the left and snapped. The objectionable orange floats had disappeared and a sliver of beach appeared in the viewfinder to yield what I found to be a more interesting shot. What do you think?

Landscape Tip #5

11th August 2009

When the fluffy clouds appear overhead I often think it’s time to grab the camera. There’s something magical about capturing these soft tufts of cotton. It’s easy to capture those puff balls.

Dial Back


Here I framed the large cloud formation using the lovely hanging willow branches. Although the clouds show up with lots of detail, I’d like to see a more dramatic effect.


To add impact, I simply decreased the exposure slightly. You can do this easily by adjusting the camera’s exposure compensation by -1 stop. For an even more dramatic effect, you can reduce the exposure by – 2 stops.

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Landscape Tip #4

15th June 2009

Most of us have scrapbooks filled with landscape photos. Pictures are a great way to extend your vacation memories and to show off your worldly travels. From time to time, we’ll present tips on taking better landscape photos.

Wide is Nice Too


Many photographers zoom in close to the subject. You can see that this photo shows the rock formations in great detail.


Here, the photographer has chosen to zoom out to take in the widest view. In doing this he has nicely framed the formation with the surrounding pine trees. At the same time, the pines add to the depth of the photo.

Landscape Tip #3

25th May 2009

Most of us have scrapbooks filled with landscape photos. These pictures are a great way to extend your vacation memories and to show off your worldly travels. Taking great landscapes is not magic. While there are no right or wrong ways to take pictures, below are a few tips that suggest alternative ways to frame your landscapes.

Frame Cleverly

The photographer shot this picture over a wooden fence. By themselves, the colorful rock formation makes for a very picturesque photo.

Here, he shot kneeling down behind the wooden fence. This time the rock formation was framed by the fence creating an interesting alternative to the first photo.

Landscape Tip #2

20th April 2009

Most of us have scrapbooks filled with landscape photos. These pictures are a great way to extend your vacation memories and to show off your worldly travels. Taking great landscapes is not magic. While there are no right or wrong ways to take pictures, below are a few tips that suggest alternative ways to frame your landscapes.

Step Up

Here’s an indirect landscape shot.

In this example, the photographer has made the tree into the main subject while the mountains are still clearly visible.

To further make the tree more interesting, he moved closer to exaggerate the large tree root. The red mountains are still visible.

Landscape Tip #1

16th February 2009

Most of us have scrapbooks filled with landscape photos. Pictures are a great way to extend your vacation memories and to show off your worldly travels. From time to time, we’ll present tips on taking better landscape photos.

Turn the camera

When taking a picture of a tall object such as this mountain on the left, your first reaction may be to take the photo in a vertical orientation.

By turning the camera horizontally, this photographer was able to include more of the pine tree’s branches. The horizontal photo emphasizes the breath of the mountain base and the trees help to frame the mountain.