Zabriskie Study #1

May 05, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

Zabriskie Study #1 Zabriskie Point was one of the highlights of the trip for me. It was only 10 minutes from our hotel (Furnace Creek Resort), and didn't require any hiking in order to get a decent viewpoint, which all made for some relatively lazy photography - at least compared with the 5am wakeup call and 50 minute drive in order to get to Yosemite valley for sunrise a few days earlier. While most people (there were about a dozen people there by sun-up) took the opportunity to photograph 'the bigger picture', I was mesmerised by the incredible detail and undulating nature of the landscape, and preferred to focus on a smaller 'vignette' of the landscape. This was pre-dawn, with a brightening blue sky overhead, and the colour of the light was the second key feature of the landscape for me. The rocks themselves are a sandy brown colour, and during the day in full sun there is no doubt about their colour. But at this time of the morning, with indirect light, there was a curious mixture of blue-light and sandy brown which contrasted beautifully.

I shot this image with my Canon 5D MkII, and 45mm TSE lens coupled to a 2x extender which gave me a 90mm lens. From the viewing area a focal length of 70-130mm is needed for this kind of closely cropped composition. Shorter focal lengths could work for those prepared to risk the wrath of their fellow photographers and venture out onto the rocks, but then you lose elevation and the effect of  'depth' due to the receding ridgelines would be lost I think. As far as I can remember I didn't tilt the lens for depth of field, relying on F16 to do the job for me.

 


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