Virgin River Hanging Gardens, Narrows-Zion National Park

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Hanging Gardens, Virgin River, Zion National Park

Hanging Gardens Along the Virgin River in Zion National Park

 Here is another image I took along the Virgin River during my short hike up the narrows. This hanging garden was about 1/4 mile up the canyon past where the paved trail ends. The mix of colors on the canyon wall with the river flowing along beneath made for a nice scene. I’m also submitting this photo as part of the #FlowingWaterFriday theme on Google+. I think the slower shutter speed I used really accentuates the flowing nature of the water in the river.

I really wish I had the time (and the equipment) to go further up the canyon but in my short time wading in the river I found a lot of good photo opportunities. The narrows is a unique area and well worth exploring when you’re in Zion National Park.

Friday Photo Share December 2, 2011

Happy Friday! This week’s photo share is an image from our recent trip out to Zion National Park. I’ve finally pretty much got through all the images and so I should be able to post some from time to time from now on.

This particular image is going to be my entry in our photography club’s December photo competition, which is tonight. I’m pretty sure I won’t win a prize for this but I really like the image. I’ll be interested to see what the comments are from the other members.

img_3549_virginriver1_lowres 

This image was taken as we were walking along the paved path that leads to the “world famous” narrows in Zion National Park. This was taken mid-morning, just before the sun made it above the canyon walls. As a result everything was still a little dark but the colors in the rocks were very vibrant. I set up my camera on a rock near the middle of the river and took this image. I used a longer shutter speed to give the water a very flowing and “pillowy” appearance.

After I took this photograph we wandered up to where the paved trail ends and I waded up the river about 1/2 mile or so with my camera to see what I could see. Pam wasn’t interested in wading in the cold water so she sat down and enjoyed the view. I manged to get a few decent images which I’ll post at some point in the near future.

Do any of you have images from Zion National Park that you’d like to share? If so, send them to me at fridayphoto [at] marksphotographyspot [dot] com and I’ll post them. Be sure to keep the file size under 1/2 meg and please resize the images to no more than 600 pixels wide.

Happy shooting!

Review: Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM Lens

Last week we returned from a great vacation out West. We spent three days each in Death Valley and Zion National Parks with stopovers in Las Vegas. I knew that I wanted to try some wide angle photography while out there so after some research, I decided to rent a Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM Lens for the trip. It is one of several “ultra wide angle” lenses that are on the market and has received very good reviews from a number of sources. The lens is specifically designed to fit the APS-C “crop sensor” EOS digital SLR’s like my Canon EOS Rebel T3i


After using the lens and really enjoying it I thought I would give you my impressions of it by doing a “video review” of it. Now remember, I’m not a pro photographer or optics expert, so I can’t give you a technical review discussing sharpness, vignetting, barrel distortion or any of the other technical issues. But, I think I can give you a real world impression based on using the lens in a variety of situations.

 

So, without further ado, here is the video review. After this, scroll down and I’ll give you some sample photos and links:

Having a wide angle lens can really increase the possibilities in your photography. Here are a couple of images I took to show you the advantage you can gain by “going wide”.

This first shot is taken with my T3i and the kit 18-55mm lens set to 18mm:

Our Backyard With the 18-55mm Lens Set to 18mm


Here is the same scene after I swapped out the 18-55 for the 10-22, shot at 10mm:

Our Backyard With the 10-22mm Lens Set to 10mm


Big difference, huh? The extra field of view is pretty impressive. In the first picture (18mm) you can barely see the top of one of the deck posts while at 10mm you can see a good chunk of the railing. That’s a HUGE difference and exactly what I was looking for. Having some extra room can make a big difference in your ability to get the whole picture in one shot. And, a wide angle lens opens up many new creative paths.

Here’s a couple of quick (I’m not finished tweaking these yet) examples from the trip:

This 1st one is from Las Vegas. It was taken on the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard “the strip” and Tropicana.  With the lens at 10mm I was able to get both New York/New York and the MGM in the shot, as well as a good portion of the road.

A Wide Angle Shot of The corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Tropicana.

This next shot is from the top of “Angels Landing” in Zion National Park. To get here I had to hike up a ridge and scramble up some rocks. The view from here is awesome. Once again, with the extreme wide angle I was able to capture a pretty impressive view.

Wide Angle Shot From the Top of Angels Landing in Zion NP

As you can see, the wide angle really gives a different perspective on things and can allow you to capture a very big slice of life. The lens operated perfectly for me and I can assure you that any “errors” you see in my images are my fault, not the lens’ If you are interested in trying a wide angle lens for yourself without committing to purchase one you might want to rent one to try out, like I did. I used a local lens rental service, Aperturent.com for my rental and they were great. Their prices are very reasonable and they will ship the lens to you, anywhere in the country, via FedEx just like the other lens rental companies. Here’s a link to their site.

Rent Camera Gear

After using the lens for two weeks I plan on purchasing one whenever I can afford it. If you are looking for a wide angle lens, here are some links to help you out.

Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM SLR Lens on Amazon

Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM SLR Lens at Adorama

In addition to Canon, Sigma produces a 10-20mm lens. It has received favorable reviews as well:

Amazon:Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM ELD SLD Aspherical Super Wide Angle Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras

Adorama:Sigma 10-20mm lens

Not to be outdone by Canon or Sigma, Tamron has their own 10-24mm wide angle lens:

Amazon:Tamron AF 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 SP Di II LD Aspherical (IF) Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras

Adorama: Tamron AF 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 SP Di II LD Aspherical (IF) Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras

 

So, to summarize things: You Need A Wide Angle Lens! OK, maybe you don’t officially “need” one but they sure are nice and can open up lots of creative possibilities in your photography. If you are looking to add a lens that can give you new options in landscape, architectural and many other types of photography, a wide angle lens is the way to go. I plan on getting one and I think you will enjoy the creative opportunities a wide angle lens like the Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM lens can give you.

Happy Shooting!