Zion Light

Zion Light

Zion Light

The morning light rises above the canyon walls and for a special moment this slot canyon waterfall is magically transformed into a beam of light, above the famous Subway, Kolob Canyon, Zion National Park, Utah

Oak Creek Reflections

Oak Crek Reflections

Oak Creek Reflections is a vertical landscape abstract image of the popular Water Colors photograph. Colorful reflections of the Autumn landscape are cast onto the still waters of the quiet stream. The photograph was rotate 180 degrees to the upright orientation and creates a painterly style display. In Oak Creek, Red Rock State Park, Sedona Arizona

In this months article we will look at what constitutes fine art photography.


Fine Art Photography is a photograph created by the photographer to display their artistic vision in conveying the beauty and emotion of the scene. It is created specifically be displayed and shared with others, in shows and galleries, and as home, office or business d├ęcor.  To be successful you must be skilled in both your photographic and photo processing techniques. As such, fine art photography differs from the typical "post card" type of landscape or cityscape representational photograph.   

Last months article described the advantages of Luminous Light. Both of this month's highlighted photographs possess that quality, but with different aspects of light on display.

In the photograph on the left, "Zion Light", I wanted to emphasize the glowing light beam of the slot canyon waterfall. The warm filtered sunlight shining into this narrow slot only lasted for a couple of minutes.  I was able to take two photographs with long exposures before the light waned. The water flow in the waterfalls stream was perfect for the scene. Friends who live in the area told me that there was usually much more water, often so much that you can't even see the slot canyons walls. A larger or smaller flow would also have resulted in a totally different photograph. For me this was a magical and spiritual experience that I wanted to display in the photograph. A 30 second long exposure at ISO 100 allowed the cameras sensor to absorb the available light, capture beautiful colors of the canyons walls, and turn the stream into a misty luminous light source. I used F16 to get the depth of field, and focused manually using live view and magnification 5 to ensure sharp focus where desired. In the photo processing minimal work was needed. I added slightly to the contrast, color saturation and sharpening as usual, and further highlighted the light of the waterfall in the contrast curve. The result is a dazzling display of light and nature in the slot canyons of the American Southwest.

In the "Oak Creek Reflections" photograph beautiful reflections of the autumn landscape where shining onto the calm waters of the creek. I wanted to create a dreamy, painterly like, impressionistic style fine art image, by focusing only on the colorful reflections, rather than photographing the whole landscape. The composition placed trees vertically on both sides with grass on the bank and blue sky above to help to help frame the photograph. As a reflection, the original capture was inverted, so I rotated the image 180 degrees in processing to provide a natural orientation. I also took a closer cropped photograph without the sky but it resulted in a more abstract photograph than I wanted. To get the photo I had to weave my way through some brush to the edge of a soft and muddy riverbank. I found a rock to sit on and used my body to hold back the brush and shot handheld. I increased the ISO from 100 to 200, to cut my exposure time in half to 1/5 second. I used F13 and autofocus to have all of the angled reflection in the best focus possible, even though I knew the image would be of the wavering reflections. The resulting photograph looks like a painting and as such prints beautifully on canvas.    

Roupen Baker, November 2014       

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