Iconic Zion

I can’t help myself. When I go to a place like Zion National Park in Utah I just have to make that iconic image even though it has been photographed a gazillion times before. We, the tripod nerds (as my husband likes to call us), were lined up shoulder to shoulder on the bridge above the Virgin River at sunset, all making pretty much the same image. But still, there are lots of people who haven’t seen this place before and I like having this image in my collection.

Please click the images to view larger versions.

The Watchman, Zion National Park, Utah

I wanted to create a more unique image of The Watchman though so after getting the first image I was on a quest to create something different.

There is probably no angle or technique that hasn’t been done, but I dont think I have seen an image like this one.

The Watchman, Zion National Park, Utah

I found a new location low on the bank of the river, used my 3 stop solid neutral density filter to enable a long exposure that would make the river smooth, and I also overexposed it a bit to get a different look.

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  1. says

    Nice job, Anne. I like both the “postcard” image and the second one. In the second one, I like the water (and the smudge of reflection of the Watchman in the water). The sky is nondescript, but I understand the circumstances. You did a great job of capturing this.

    • says

      Hi Mark, I love my ND filter! I have my eye on one of those 10 stop ND’s but they are hard to get your hands on. And expensive. But the 4 stop is great to have for the water shots. Thanks for your comments.

    • says

      Hi Michael, that is such an important point about it being just the start of a photographic journey and not the end goal. I saw so many photographers that night that didn’t leave the bridge. It’s not that hard to scramble down the side to get to the water, or even walk down the paved path a short way to get a slightly different angle. But when I did that I was the only one there. Only 50 or so feet away on the path and it was totally empty and the bridge was packed! Sometimes I think photographers fall into two groups, those who want to rock climb and hike for days to get to a spot, and those who only want to walk 20 feet from their car. I seem to fall between the two.

      I wish I could have gotten out to the subway while I was at zion, but unfortunately it falls too far into the adventure sport category for my spine to take. Maybe one day there will be a helicopter 😉 – oh no I can hear all the adventure sport types swearing at the thought!!

      • says

        The last time I stood in line to photograph an “iconic location” I was at Picture lake by Mount Shuksan. I waited for maybe 10 minutes for this one spot (feeling dirty about it the whole time), and when I got there I set my camera up in a vertical position. There were all sorts of grumbles and guffaws from the photographers around me as thats not “how you are supposed to shoot” that spot. They were all there trying to mimic a horizontal shot they thought was the “right” one. Later I went up the road a bit further to Artist Point and I don’t think I saw a single photographer from Picture Lake up there. 5 minutes away there was this 360­° of Mount Baker, Mount Shuksan, Table mountain and another whole range and almost nobody was there. I guess Artist Point is not part of the trophy hunt – which I am just fine with. :)
        Michael Russell recently posted..Ellison Provincial Park on Okanogan LakeMy Profile

        • says

          Hi Michael, that’s funny that a place called “Artist Point” wasn’t the main attraction for the photographers! I think there are way too many photographers who think there is a “right” and a “wrong” way of making images. Are supposed to be artists after all so that gives you licence to do whatever you want! Good for you for seeing out more unique images.

  2. says

    Hi Anne,

    I like the second shot much better than the “iconic” one. It’s always nice to place your tripod where there has never been one before. Much more satisfying.


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