This is the first in a series of articles by noted photographer Gerard Steffan.
Zion National Park is world-renowned for its stunning vistas, sinuous canyons, jagged skyline and spectacular fall foliage. As a local photographer, I continuously seek new corners of the canyon to hike and explore.
One of the most rewarding and awe-inspiring locations in the park is Angel’s Landing. I’ve traversed this prominent peak on numerous occasions and rank it as one of the top hikes in the region. Beneath Angel’s Landing the Virgin River winds its way through the canyon shaded by tall cottonwood trees that turn golden-yellow in the fall.
When storms develop over Zion the light constantly changes, casting shadows and creating a spotlight effect on the sandstone walls. This is when the “magic” happens.
In recent years, I’ve been intrigued by reflections in nature. When I noticed still water in several sections of the river beneath Angel‘s Landing, I knew I had to capture the scene. One of my goals when photographing in Zion National Park is to find unique moments when several elements come together. On this early November morning, I was pleased to see fall leaves scattered in the reflecting river, interesting skies, and the glowing light of the Southwest.
To accomplish this photograph, I was sure to use a heavy tripod since I was standing in the river. If there was any camera movement the shot would have been ruined. I chose to shoot at F16 with a Tilt-Shift lens to ensure proper depth-of-field and I set my shutter speed at 1/30. It’s worth noting that I pre-visualized this scene many times before, scouting the area to find the right composition and determine the best time of day.
When visiting Zion National Park, I would highly recommend hiking beneath, around, and to the top of Angel’s Landing. You will find many photographic opportunities and satisfy your sense of adventure. Other photogenic areas include The Court of the Patriarchs, The Towers of the Virgin, The Narrows, The Watchman, The Emerald Pools, and Canyon Overlook.
You may purchase a fine art print of Steffan’s work at the Zion Lodge or at Steffan Photography, 3003 Santa Clara Drive, Santa Clara, Utah, 84765 or by calling 435-772-5196.