Photography in Canyons

Section 31

In photography, one of the hardest things to capture is the contrast between light and dark.  Our own eyes is able to see the bright sky above when we are in the deep slot canyons below.  However, our cameras try their best to capture it automatically, but just end up failing on capturing the essence of this stark contrast.

But rest assured, there are some techniques that allow you to photograph slot canyons well.

Below are some ideas, tips, and thoughts shared by an incredible photographer, Josh Oyler.  He has a supreme eye for catching the details.  Also, there is a little known fact to non-photographers, and that is what is called "processing".  Processing is what the layman calls "photoshopping".  Processing is basically taking a photo, increasing or decreasing the exposure, brightness, saturation, vibrancy, merging HDR, and more.  "Processed" is the proper term for when you "enhance" a photo.

One thing that caught me off guard on a trip when it came to photograpy are people's expectations of when they see a picture online and what is reality.  One day I took a coworker's brother through the Subway found in Zion National Park.  I told him all about it but didn't share too many pictures. Later that day, he found a bunch online and instantly fell-in love.  Fast forward two days later when we were IN the subway and we came to famous spot where the 15-foot waterfall amongst some potholes.  It is indeed a very beautiful section!

However, when he was looking around he was quite disappointed he said! Disappointed?!?!  He said that from the pictures he saw online was almost disceptive as reality did not match what the online picture showcased.  He was expecting more greens and reds in the canyon wall and turquoise-carbbiean blue water.  That's true, that's not what reality shows.  

While the water has elements of those colors, the process of "processing" a photo afterwards, allow those colors to be showcased better, but it's not reality to what our own eyes see.

Years later, I still think about that when it comes to photography.

While those "processed" pictures look great when they are hung up on the wall, one should take a grain of salt when expecting THOSE exact same colors in slot canyons.  The case is made, if the photographer explicitly says that the photo has not been processed.  (Then you could most likely believe them.)

Below are some pictures that I googled of "Subway". Indeed you can see the processed photos.  I won't lie, as they make great pictures to use a wallpaper for your computer or to even hang up on your wall.  But again, it's not reality with our own eyes.

Expectation:

Image Credit: Google Images. Joe Braun Photography.
Image Credit: Google Images. Author unknown.

Reality:

Image Credit: Brett Johnson

Below are some ideas, tips, and thoughts shared by an incredible photographer, Josh Oyler.  He has a supreme eye for catching the details. 

Canyoneer Professional photos:

Scott Barlow: Link

Dan Ransom: Link

Christian Madsen: Link

Adam Kavalunas: Link

Brady Evans: Link

Michael Steck: Link

 

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