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Photographing the Narrows in Zion National Park

Perhaps the most famous sight in Utah’s Zion National Park is the Narrows, a slot canyon carved by the Virgin River. The dramatic patterns in these sandstone cliffs are some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country, making for incredible images. I had the opportunity to photograph this amazing sight last month, which was not a particularly easy endeavor. Some of the most beautiful parts of the Narrows are only accessible after hiking upstream through the river for several miles.

Narrows-1

NIKON D800E + 20mm f/1.8 @ 20mm, ISO 100, 3 seconds, f/13.0

If you decide to hike up the Virgin River, the most important consideration is safety. The river moves very slowly, but it can get quite deep at parts. A drysuit (or wetsuit) is essential if you are making the hike during the spring, as I did. The river can get incredibly cold, and there is no way to quit mid-hike. A few companies right outside Zion rent drysuits, although you need to arrive early in the morning – 7AM or so. By 9AM or 10AM, most places will be out. If you photograph the Narrows during summertime, a drysuit may not be necessary.

There are a number of islands and river banks along the way, which makes it easy to catch your breath if you need to. These also are the best places to take photographs, assuming that they provide the perspective you want. If it weren’t for places to rest, this hike would be even harder – several miles/kilometers though the middle of a river is extremely exhausting.

Narrows-2

NIKON D800E + 20mm f/1.8 @ 20mm, ISO 100, 1.6 seconds, f/11.0

Another important consideration is to keep your camera equipment dry. This can be tricky. If you walk through waist-high water – or, on some days, even deeper – there is no perfectly safe way to carry a camera (unless you happen to use an underwater housing). This is particularly true walking through a stone-filled riverbed; I nearly fell a few times, and I saw several people who did.

I was lucky that my camera didn’t get wet, but I also took as many steps as possible to prevent any water damage. I only had a single camera and lens, which meant that I didn’t need to worry about changing lenses in the middle of the river. I hung my tripod off the side of my bag, since it could get wet without a problem. More importantly, my camera was inside of a kayaking dry bag, which itself was inside of a trash bag. Even if I fell – in theory – no water would reach my camera. That said, I’m glad I didn’t have to test it!

If you have a spare camera, you might consider bringing it along instead of your main one. Although I brought my main camera, there were a few times that I would have preferred a backup instead.

Narrows-3

NIKON D800E + 20mm f/1.8 @ 20mm, ISO 100, 5 seconds, f/16.0

In terms of equipment, the most important gear to bring is a wide-angle lens. For the most part, the Narrows are so narrow that it is difficult to use anything other than a wide-angle. However, this is a generalization. There certainly are wonderful detail shots at certain points along the hike, so feel free to bring a telephoto if those are the photos you want to take.

If your lens allows, I also strongly recommend a polarizing filter. There are so many sources of glare in the Narrows – the river, the canyon walls, and even tree leaves – and a polarizer will make your images significantly simpler. A tripod also is a necessity; the Narrows are so dark that your shutter speeds may be several seconds long – even in mid-day. Plus, the water in your photos will look more natural with a slow shutter speed.

Narrows-4

NIKON D800E + 20mm f/1.8 @ 20mm, ISO 100, 1/2 second, f/16.0

One of the most difficult parts about photographing the narrows is avoiding people in your images. Countless times, other hikers passed through the frame that I had set. There’s nothing wrong with this at all – the Narrows are a beautiful place, and thousands of people enjoy them every day.

As a photographer, though, I often prefer to take landscape images without other people in the frame. I was lucky enough to visit the Narrows during the spring, which meant that they weren’t particularly crowded. Even then, though, I had to wait several minutes for people to leave some of my images. I imagine that this would be even more problematic during the summer.

If you don’t want to wait a few minutes for people to cross through your frame, you might consider blending two photos together. For example, take an image with people in one part of your frame, then a second once they move to a different part. Layer the two photos, then blend out the people in Photoshop. Although it isn’t perfect, there may be no other way to take the photos you want on a crowded day.

Narrows-5

NIKON D800E + 20mm f/1.8 @ 20mm, ISO 100, 1 second, f/11.0

Finally, it is worth noting that the Narrows can change significantly at different times of year. There are a few points along the hike where full-grown trees have taken root; these look beautiful during fall and late summer. Unfortunately, none of them had bright leaves while I visited – all the more reason to return!

I also visited just a small section of the Narrows hike (up to the “Wall Street” section). There are countless other landscapes to visit on the Virgin River, including some that have waterfalls and even more trees. If you are in Zion for a while, I strongly recommend exploring. Zion, like all National Parks that I have visited, is only crowded at the most famous spots. There are people everywhere, of course, but it is easier than you’d think to find an amazing place all to yourself.

Although I only had a single day to photograph Zion’s Narrows, it was one of the most memorable days of my life. The hike is tiring and cold, but it was completely worth the effort – both in photographs and in memories.

Narrows-6

NIKON D800E + 20mm f/1.8 @ 20mm, ISO 100, 2 seconds, f/16.0

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Roller Shutter Advantages

Usually shutters are solid and a bit stable which can cover your windows and door completely. Roller shutters are generally made of horizontal rails and with vertical stiles. You can get the roller shutter in different style and different varieties of size. You can get the shutters in different equipment. These materials include metals wood steel as well as plastics. This roller shutters add to the internal and the external of your house which will protect your home from any kind of damage.

You can get many different types of shutters such as café, plantation and solid shutters. Among all the shutters plantation shutters are the most popular one. This plantation roller shutters allows the light to enter into your home. You can get these shutters in many different colors. However, you can choose your design shutters. This kind of roller shutters can match any types of structural design which looks attractive. You can also get some attractive roller shutters for your cafés and restaurants. This café shutters are more conservative than plantation shutters. These are more decorative and can cover at least half of the window area.

If you are having doors then you should go for the big doors. However, you should choose some European style shutters doors. These doors are having a mobile louver on the top and the fixed lower half. There are most of the roller shutters that are most popular in Europe. These shutters are made of flat planks which spin around. You may also find aluminum shutters that are much safer in the area where storm are out of control. Aluminum shutters can protect your asset from being theft off, heavy rainfall, and high wind. There are lots of advantages of fixing a roller shutter at your residence or your business area.

Rolling shutters are basically cheap and adds a special touch to your internal as well as the external of your residence. You can also clean it up easily with a moist cloth and gentle detergents. You might be having some sightless fold 8in your home. However, these shutter give adds a security and privacy of your residence. Roller shutter also protect your house from harmful ultra violet rays of sun. By blocking the suns ray it keeps the interior of the house a bit cooler and also lower downs the external noise. These shutters are generally stable and flexible.

Nowadays, there are some high speed shutters that are usually designed in such a manner that you can open and close very quickly. These types of high speed shutter are much favorable and also lower the energy cost. You can fix this high speed shutter for your freezer rooms, internal use or even in such condition where wind blow at a high speed. These high speed shutters are having the interlocking facility which forms non stop pivots. You can find high speed doors of two types. They are single skinned and the twin skinned doors. You can also get the high speed doors which are horizontal from the middle.

Aryan Mathur writes articles on physical security products which include roller shutters, windows roller shutters, security roller shutters, aluminium roller shutters, solar and fire rated roller shutters.

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“Why?” with Scott Bourne

Picture
Image copyright Scott Bourne. All rights reserved.

In a recent post I wrote: 

I started “Why?” as a new feature on the SCU site to help more photographers understand the stories behind the favorite images of some of the most respected artists in our industry today. I can’t turn back the clock and chase down photographers who are no longer with us, but stay tuned. I’m going to be sharing a new image every week along with a short sound byte about the images from the artists themselves.

Every image has a story behind it or a vision of the artist.  Scott Bourne is in today’s spotlight.

In 2009 I met Scott at Skip’s Summer School in Las Vegas, not remembering we’d met close to twenty years earlier, back in my Hasselblad days. Since 2009 we wrote a book together, GoingPro. Then we launched a website and podcast by the same name which ran for several years and is essentially the roots of SkipCohenUniversity.com. Recently we launched a new podcast series, “Mind Your Own Business” as part of Photofocus.com.

Besides being a great friend, artist, writer, educator and entrepreneur, Scott is a visionary. You’ll understand why that’s so important as you listen to him talk about one of his most recognized images, “Cranes in the Fire Mist.”

Click on the sound bar above and you’ll hear an incredible story about Scott’s quest to capture this image. And, to see more of Scott’s work just click on the image to connect to his website. For educational information about Scott, visit Photofocus.com. 

SkipCohenUniversity – SCU Blog

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Photographer unleashes fury on Facebook after child-birth photos are reported

Photographer unleashes fury on Facebook after child-birth photos are reported
A photographer has spoken out in anger after her photo of a mother giving birth was reported and removed by Facebook. Morag Hastings is a mother-of-three who specialises in birth photography. An eye-opening shot of hers – which saw a mother, giving …
Read more on Metro

Thomas Ruff at the AGO: the art of stopping time
“I think he's really dealing with the physicality of the photographic medium,” says Sophie Hackett, the AGO's associate curator of photography, who stewarded Object Relations into being. “His works are very labour intensive. He's a problem solver.”.
Read more on Toronto Star

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Sarcastic Saturday – Telemarketing and My Eleven Million Dollars

Picture
© mvhelena74

Picture© maxmitzu

It’s Sarcastic Saturday, a time when I typically subject you to a little wrath aimed at some segment of life that’s simply abusive. Well, this week has been a record week for scam attempts, and it’s just too much fun not to share a few of the highlights.

  • “Hello, my name is Bruce, and I’m calling from the Microsoft Technical Department, and your PC is sending out error messages. We want to help you fix the problem.”

I have fun with these idiots. First, the accent is always coming from somewhere in the vicinity of India. Second, the caller ID is always a bogus number. Third, I’m on a MAC so there can’t be any PC error message anyway. I love to start out sounding concerned and needing help. When we get to the part where they want access to my computer, I love to challenge their name, with the following, “Okay, so Bruce, we know that’s not your real name. Are you related to Bob, Mike, Terry, Tom, Justin and Larry who have all tried this scam already and called me in the last few weeks?” That’s it they’re gone, although they usually leave me enough time to experiment with a few combination expletives.

  • In the late eighties, we used to get letters at Hasselblad from Nigeria asking for help to secure the funding of a past government administrator. They always came in on what was then airmail stationery – light almost tissue like paper. Today, it’s all email and the letter this week was from a woman who’s dying of cancer and wants to hear from me regarding sending twenty-two million dollars if I promise to distribute half of it to charity. She makes it very clear that eleven million dollars is mine to keep.

First, the emails always start with “Hello Dear”. I guess that’s because the last TV show the originator watched was Angela Lansbury in Murder She Wrote and they think that’s a pretty common introduction between Americans. Second, it’s always to “undisclosed recipients”, making me feel far less than special. Third, there’s always a health disaster involved versus the old government budget excess that needed to be moved. Last on the list, it’s loaded with typos. I want to give these guys a gift of a little spell check software. They’ve got the worse spelling and grammar on the planet!

  • OMG, it’s an election year. We’re not even through the conventions yet, and we’re already starting to get calls from politicians. The one this week that hit the IDHTTS* button was a request to join a live conference call with Representative Vern Buchanan here in Florida. It was in the middle of the day and, I was late to do a sound byte for “Why?” and the phone rang. (*Note: I-Don’t-Have-Time-for-This-Sh__​)

First, I hate that these calls are always generated by a robot. At least my Microsoft guys make me feel important enough to put a live body on the scam. Second, why do they always sound like they have a right to our time? “Please hold for a very important call from…” What is it about the arrogance of the staff of any elected official that makes them believe we’re all sitting around waiting for their calls?
 
Okay, there it is my contribution to the world of sarcasm on a beautiful Saturday morning. Hopefully, I’ve brought a little entertainment value into your life. Feel free to share any of your scam frustrations and we should be able to build a pretty entertaining list.

Although take your time – I’ve got a full day ahead. With the eleven million dollars coming in from Nigeria life is really going to change around here, and I promised Sheila we’d buy a yacht today!


SkipCohenUniversity – SCU Blog

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