Sotol Vista Overlook, Big Bend National Park

http://www.flickr.com/photos/michaeltuuk/5813729402/in/photostream

Sotol Vista Overlook, Big Bend National Park 24mm, f/22, (bracketed shutter speed), ISO 100

Photographers wish they could take all their pictures during the golden light of sunrise and sunset but for those of us far south of the polar circle (in the northern hemisphere of course) those are very brief moments in time.  During my recent trip I wanted to make the most of my available time so I photographed what interested me regardless of the quality of light.  Even the “poor” pictures make for good memories.  Adding to the problem of harsh sunlight was a very thick haze.  I don’t know if was related to the heat or possibly due to smoke from wildfires, but it was a problem for pictures.

One afternoon we stopped at the Sotol Vista Overlook to take some pictures.  This desert overlook is roughly halfway between the Chisos Mountains and the Rio Grande along Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive.  The small gap in the horizon is Santa Elena Canyon — 14 miles as the crow flies according to a sign posted here.  Looks tiny but the canyon walls rise up to 1500′ above the river per the park service’s website.  I bracketed a bunch of scenes and hoped for the best.  I came up with this 6-exposure HDR (the first HDR I’ve done in quite a while) and I rather like it, especially considering the harsh light and haze.  I made attempts at processing single frames but the dynamic range was way too large (I don’t own an ND graduated filter — yet — else I would have made use of it here).

Processing consisted of tonemapping in Photomatix, an s-curve, sharpening, noise reduction, and a slight color tweak with the channel mixer in Photoshop.  I didn’t do any blending with the original exposures.

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6 responses

  1. Very nice shot Mike! It turned out great!

    June 9, 2011 at 1:05 pm

  2. Wonderful view, Michael. I need to go back.

    June 9, 2011 at 1:12 pm

  3. Great image, Michael. I really need to get back to Big Bend some day.

    June 10, 2011 at 6:25 am

  4. Thanks, guys! It’s an awesome place to be sure…

    June 13, 2011 at 2:45 pm

  5. RON

    I WAS THERE LAST THANKSGIVING 2008. HAD RIDDEN THE HARLEY STREETGLIDE TO THE CANYON. FABALOUS OF COURSE. COMING BACK UP, AROUND 4:30 PM I PULLED INTO SOLTOL VISTA FOR ONE LAST LOOK BACK TO ST ELENA CANYON. TWO GIRLS, TAKING PICS TOLD ME,”WE COULDN’T SEE YOU, BUT WE SURE HEARD YOU”. SWEET MEMORIES. GREAT PICTURE.

    May 21, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    • Riding a motorcycle through Big Bend would be simply awesome!

      May 21, 2012 at 6:52 pm

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