Posts in Category: Sedona

Making Cathedral Rocks Rock

As I walk around the park looking at Cathedral Rocks from various viewpoints I’m thinking: how can I make my photo different?

Everyone has pictures of Cathedral Rock. I shot it last year myself and came away with some nice pictures but nothing that stood out from the crowd.

This time I was determined to make a portfolio piece. I wanted a photo that was different from everyone else’s but still reflective of what it feels like to be in that place.

Well, the conditions were mediocre. Very little contrast in the sky. The usual overly dark shadows and overly bright highlights that generally comes with afternoon sunlight.

I wanted something that was contrasty but without blown highlights or clipped shadows. I decided to wait.

We put a picnic blanket under a nearby tree and took a nap until evening fell.

I set up my camera and tripod as the sun went down and started shooting. A bunch of other photographers set up in the same spot and shot as well.

We were probably all getting more or less the same photo. Even so, none of us were really getting what we wanted.  The golden hour passed.  Then the blue hour passed.  As the sky got darker the other photographers packed up one by one. Soon I was alone but still shooting.  The other photographers probably thought I was crazy to stay but that’s when it happened.

With the sun completely down but the slightly brighter sky behind me still reflecting on the rocks I saw the light I wanted. At the same time, the few remaining clouds in the sky picked up a glow that came out perfectly in my long exposure. Bang! I had just what I was looking for.

The photo has the lighting, colors and contrast I wanted.  It’s not like any other photo of Cathedral Rocks I’ve seen.  Most importantly, it feels just like it felt to be there at that time.

The moon was always an integral part of the photograph. When you shoot the moon in a photograph you are almost always disappointed because your brain plays tricks on you. You will see the moon larger in your mind than it really is. Consequently, when you see it in your picture it will be much smaller than you remembered.

In this case, I decided to use Photoshop to replace the tiny partially full moon in the picture with a larger, full moon I had shot a year or so ago. You may say that the unnaturally large moon I put in the picture makes it something other than a photograph. To me it makes the image more about what I felt I saw that evening.  It’s a faithful reflection of the experience if not a faithful reproduction of it.

Anyway, I like it. Hope you do too.

Say, wouldn’t you like a nice print of this exclusive image for your living room? The only place you can get this image is here.