A couple of weeks ago, we took a long weekend and spent it in Flagstaff, Arizona (just a few hours up the road from us) and Grand Canyon National Park (the Grand Canyon). Today’s photos come from the series I took at the Grand Canyon.
The Grand Canyon is one of the most photographed natural wonders of the world, so what could I possibly do differently to create some interesting captures. What I decided to attempt, was to stick with the natural elements of this natural wonder and present them in a slightly different perspective (not that this hasn’t been done, but my approach hasn’t been presented as frequently). For anyone that hasn’t visited the park, the view is breathtaking and over-whelming at the same time. The colors and shapes are incredible, but the size, depth and scope of what you are looking at boggles the mind. I decided to break it down into captures that focused on highlighting depth. I love creating that sense of depth in a picture, so what more natural thing to do when it’s all but handed to you. Kind of obvious, but the presentation I wanted for each shot was a strong foreground that was decidedly distant from the background.
The first shot gives you the idea of what I am talking about. The foreground is on the left side of the frame. I love the building nestled at the top of the lookout point and the people viewing the canyon. Even the clouds have shape, texture and depth.
This second capture, zooms in on the same spot for a slightly different perspective. The foreground becomes the prominent feature with the people walking around the lookout point, yet we still have an obvious background that is large and distant in scale.
The third photo takes another lookout point that juts out from the rim. In this one, I have a hint of trees from where I am standing as the immediate foreground (I am shooting across a very deep ravine), yet the lookout point stays as the main foreground, with the canyon as the background creating the sense of immense depth to this shot.
The fourth shot is of two lookout points. The one in the foreground has the most people walking around, but then you realize the rock strata to the right of that is actually another lookout point further back, which the fifth shot zooms in on.
In this capture, you see the people on the point and this angle is looking down the canyon, not across it as is evident by the coloring (air is hazier and bluer because of the distance).
Lookout points are an easy way to capture the obvious levels of depth, but for my last two, I used a slightly different approach. In the 6th capture, I have two light color rock structures in the foreground and a red colored rock strata in what could be called the background, but behind that is the canyon creating another focal point of depth (three distinct elements of depth).
The last photo looks down into the canyon. I framed just one area of erosion that is laced with a trail taking you all the way down to the Colorado River, which can just barely be seen below and right of center. This angle pulls your eye down through the various layers and levels towards the river.
In your opinion, was I able to create a series of pictures that portrayed visual depth, giving you a feel for the shear size of the subject matter in an interesting way? What are your thoughts?
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