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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

US National Parks: The Temples of the Grand Canyon

Interestingly, many of the peaks within the canyon are named after Hindu inspired names. As I understand it, these Temples of the Canyon, as they are known were named by a member of the original geological survey team, who was fascinated with Hindu philosophy.

Many of these peaks look very similar...I might have made errors in identifying them...if so, apologies and please let me know.

This first study of the temples is intended to convey a sense of tranquil and calm, with the dark clouds brooding...threathening rain. I selected to use a moderate telephoto lens (120mm) to compress of the image. This effect from telephoto lenses makes the temples look like lines drawn next to each other:

Metering was intentionally done to make the landscape dark. I placed the lightest part of the North Rim at zone 5. This allowed the temples themselves to be in the cover of shadows at zone 2 to 4, each taking a slightly different zone, allowing it to be differentiated from the others. This also placed the trees in the foreground to be in zone 0, totally dark and without texture.

The Buddha's Temple:

This image of the Buddha's Temple is exposed using a 120mm lens. The metering scheme was done to place the peak of the Temple at zone 5. This principle of placing your main subject, or a part of the main subject in zone 5 is a standard scheme with good success for a variety of subjects and moods. In this case, it allowed me to place the clouds in zone 8, and the shadows from the clouds in foreground left in zone 2.

Vishnu's Temple, catching the last rays of the sun before sunset.

This is an interesting shot. The light from the setting sun casts its last golden rays on the Vishnu's Temple, turning it into gold, glowing as it evokes the feeling that the temple is emerging from darkness. As the sun was almost completely gone when I made this exposure, I metered to place the tip, and the very brightest part of Vishnu at zone 8. And allowing the image to fall in near darkness of zone 2.

I enhanced the saturation in CS4, to bring out the intensity of the bright golden rays, and to accentuate the glow.

Isis' Temple

This picture of Isis is also shot with the 120mm. Metering was done using the main subject in zone 5 principle, and allowing the image to fall into its own place. The clouds, look light, cottony, and in a sense happy.

And a self portrait...with my shooting partner's camera setup - a Canon EOS 5Dmk2 with 17-40L lens.

And some wildflowers, shot with the 120mm:

It is interesting that wildflowers grow like these in cracks and crevices of the rocks by the South Rim. It was particularly windy that day, and I had to shield the flowers with my camera bag, set the tripod up, and shot with the meter in average mode. The resultant image did not have the critical sharpness to be printed full size, but at web sizes, even in 1920 pixel wallpaper sizes, it is fine.
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