End of the trail - The riverwalk trail along the Virgin River in Zion National Park may come to an end but intrepid hikers can wade upriver under the gaze of The Mystery Mountain.

End of the Trail

From my story, A Utah Adventure: Part 1, Getting to Zion.

Over the course of 15 minutes, I shot this scene about 20 times. Each time, I captured 5 exposures. Liddy stood bare pawed and without complaint in the river with me. Her patience never ceases to amaze me.

Yes, there is snow atop Mystery Mountain.

Read on to learn more about this shot…

HDR – High Dynamic Range

I say 20 shots but there were 5 exposures for each one. There is no way to expose for the sky up above the canyon and have a decent exposure down below. The solution is to bracket. My practice, at the moment, is to expose 5 images with a 1 stop gap between each exposure.

This gave me a pretty good starting point.

A Composite

Yep and I still couldn’t get the river level ? – I think what happened was that I was looking at the tree against the canyon wall on the right. With that as my reference, I blissfully clicked the shutter – the tree is vertical, the river is on a tilt – there is a lesson there.

Virgin River Canyon -

I like this shot. The Virgin River is not about to flow sideways. See how the tree leans left out over the river. There are some nice wisps of cloud around the mountain.

Of course, there is the compositional element of the fellow squatting in the river bed…

Taking a Squat - Well, he has the right idea. Get low and get the girl friend against the canyon.

Well, he has the right idea. Get low and get the girl friend framed against the canyon.

Unfortunately, I didn’t see this until later. And I changed the focal length on my lens so I don’t have another image that I can use to layer over our friend. Another lesson for the field.

Of course, when we return for the conference next year, there will be a much larger crowd in the narrows here making it a much greater challenge to get the composition.

So… I chose the shot at the top of this post. I did layer another image over the people to get, what I think, is a better composition. You need the people for scale, it’s just a matter of waiting, shooting, waiting, shooting… Oh and don’t forget to check the level.

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