Light Shining Through The Gorge

There were so many issues to overcome to enable me to create this image. First was the location, the gorge is in the middle of a popular hiking trail making taking a shot quite problematic, as you need to get the shot while people are not traipsing through. Secondly was the light, by the time I got there the sun was quite high and was back lighting the scene. Lastly when it comes to shooting, even at 18mm I was still not wide enough to capture the scene in one frame. At this stage I would normally suggest taking a step back but in doing so would mean the sun would shift blowing out the whole scene. I went for a different approach and decided to create a panorama. I took the light reading for the gorge allowing the sky to be blown out while shooting 2 stops +/-.


I first created a panorama of the best set of exposures and then duplicated the files twice  in Camera Raw upping one file’s exposure to +2 and dropping the other’s to -2. I took all three exposures and using Photomatix merged the files into a HDR (this isn’t a true HDR but it is a work around when dealing with this situation). This brought back some of the detail in the sky and the gorge. In Photoshop I used Silver Efex to create the black and white toning. I didn’t like the suns bright spot so I created the rays of light as an added effect.

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7 thoughts on “Light Shining Through The Gorge

  1. Interesting dilemmas here. When I was trying my waterfall shots yesterday I wanted to shoot vertically but the sky would have blown even at 6.30am – I really must start to try the merged images technique.

    • It is a good workaround if you don’t have a ND gradient filter on you because that is what you really need in such situations. In merging photos together like i did, does add some noise to the image which is one of the negatives of this workflow.

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