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False Kiva, Canyonlands National Park

Posted by
Don Smith (California, United States) on 12 November 2009 in Landscape & Rural.


Spring Big Sur Photo Workshop - March 29 - April 1, 2010 (2 spots available)
Northern Arizona: Grand Canyon, Upper Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, and Sedona Photo Workshop - May 3-7, 2010 (8 spots available)
Redwoods and Mendocino Coast Photo Workshop - June 15-18, 2010 (space available)
Kauai, Hawaii Photo Workshop - July 12-16, 2010 (8 spots available)
Big Sur Photo Workshop Summer August, 2010 (Exciting details TBA soon)!
Arches/Canyonlands Photo Workshop November 2010 (Details to be released soon)
New Article on my Website: Creating a "Twi-Night" Image

Books Available for Purchase on my Website:
Photographer's Guide to the Big Sur Coast (e-book version - 102 pages)
On the Edge (printed version - softcover and hardcover - 120 pages)

I have returned from my Arches/Canyonlands workshop and now begin the task of loading, sorting, tagging, and processing my images from 9 days of location shooting across three states!

Tomorrow I will begin in earnest, but I thought I would start with an image I made prior to the workshop at a location called False Kiva, located in a remote area of Canyonlands National Park in Utah.

The trail to False Kiva is not published in any official park map, but the Class II hike is accessible to the general public. One must ask for directions at the Canyonlands Information Center. The trail for the most-part is marked with cairns, but one should allow 45 minutes down, and at least and hour back up. It is strongly advisable to be with a partner as there is plenty of loose shale and shear cliffs which can cause problems should one not be paying full attention. I could not in good conscious ever lead a workshop group to this location, nor do I feel I should divulge directions. This is considered a sacred Indian spot and utmost respect on the part of any visitor should be encouraged.

Knowing I had blank blue skies, I was lucky in reaching the kiva just prior to the sun hitting the ridge line of the right hand canyon rim. The kiva itself sits back under an alcove which extended far enough over me that I was able to use it to frame the top of my image with my 16-35mmL at 16mm on the Canon 1Ds full-frame sensor. The sun star serves as a eye-catching element in the frame and takes one's concentration (hopefully) away from the blank sky.

False Kiva is really not a true kiva (a sweat box), but rather a man-made circle of small stones of unknown origin.

This image was processed with the new Viveza 2 software which will be available next month. I played extensively with the contrast and structure sliders, and lightened the bottom right shadow with the new shadow adjustment slider. I also had to use some combination of Viveza 2 and Photoshop CS4's clone tool to remove some flare spots caused by shooting back towards the sun. If you are interested in purchasing a copy, please use my code listed below.

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III 1/25 second F/22.0 ISO 200 16 mm

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