Inside Santa Elena Canyon

Looking north from the mouth of Santa Elena Canyon after a (very) hot hike up and down the steep cliffs of this beautiful slot canyon.

Photographer’s Notes
Here’s another image taken in bright sunlight (to illuminate the canyon) using a 2-stop, soft, graduated neutral density filter with no major adjustments in post-capture processing. More proof that with the right in-camera techniques, you don’t need to rely upon HDR techniques or exposure blending to obtain an acceptable image.

I was able to balance the exposure in this high-contrast scene by onmetering for the shadows and then hand-holding my graduated neutral density filter to “block” the sunlit side of the canyon and prevent it from being completely blown out. This technique of “fooling your camera’s meter” is old school but works very well in high-contrast landscape situations like this.

Inside Santa Elena Canyon

Inside Santa Elena Canyon – Big Bend National Park, Texas
Copyright © 2011 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 17-40mm f/4L USM lens tripod mounted. The exposure was taken at 20mm, f/16 for 1/8th of a second at ISO 100 using a Singh-Ray warming polarizer filter and 2-stop graduated neutral density filter. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3 and Photoshop CS5.
Click on the image above for a larger version.

6 thoughts on “Inside Santa Elena Canyon

  1. I’m curious about exactly how you held it. Did you hold it at a diagonal so as to darken the sand as well? I’m just surprised I can’t detect the gradation of the filter anywhere.

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