Behind the Museum

On any morning, you will find a herd of photographers lined up in the field behind the Zion Museum for an icon picture. I started on the deck of the museum but you will need to climb the rail and get into that field to avoid other photographers in your shot.

I like to arrive early enough to get some star shots so at 5:30 AM on November 5, I was first on the scene.

I was able to get some shots with only a half moon for illumination on the foreground and buttes. This worked pretty well because it was bright enough to illuminate the foreground and buttes but left the sky dark enough for the stars to show.  I am still perfecting my moonlit photography.

My first shot was using 24mm f2.8 ISO 800 and 25 seconds. This was done as a vertical to get more sky.

Behind the museum, starlit Nov 5, 2012
1ds-mk3, 24mm

Mounting  a Zeiss 15 f2.8. This produced a brighter image, but also a brighter sky. This is ISO1600 and 20 seconds. The sky was also lightening by then.

When the sky started getting light, I switched to landscape mode and dropped the iso to 200 and opened up to f5.6 on a 24-70 zoom. This scene calls for 30-40 mm.  There are two phases here. The first is predawn light which is pretty even. I took several of these.

Early Predawn

Late predawn

The last phase is when the sun strikes the Butte and creates a shadow line.  I went to f8 ISO100 and mounted an ND grad to tame the top portion. It’s pretty for 10 minutes then the brightness is overwhelming. Not just because of the shadow, but also because of the harshness of the light itself.

First sunlight on the top.

A bit later

End of show.

I think I actually prefer the predawn shots and if I had lower noise, maybe the starlit shots best of all.

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