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Pedestal Rocks, Stud Horse Point, Arizona

Posted by
Don Smith (California, United States) on 23 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 (7 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

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Photographer's Guide to the Big Sur Coast (e-book version - 102 pages)
On the Edge (printed version - softcover and hardcover - 120 pages)

I discovered Stud Horse Point thanks to a blog post on another photographer's site and it peaked my interest enough to try and find this location (not an easy feat in the dark but thank goodness for GPS). Also, I was scouting the Page, Arizona area for another location that would work for either sunrise or sunset to add into my upcoming Northern Arizona Workshop and this place more than fit the bill.

To call it "other-worldly" would seem to be almost too cliche! It is as strange a setting as one could find without leaving this planet. One must depart the main 89A highway about 10 miles west of Page, then follow a myriad of BLM dirt roads through high-desert sage to reach this hidden gem. You cannot see these formations until you are literally upon them as they sit down in a depression about 250 feet below a canyon rim.

This image was captured prior to sunrise and due to my west-facing position, I was able to capture some of the warm hues from the twilight wedge. I had to be careful to not allow any of the balancing pedestals to overlap, and it was a matter of crawling around on my knees until I could find the proper spacing. This is an important concept when photographing similar elements in nature. We see the world in 3-dimensions, but are trying to present our images in a 2-dimensional medium. My eyes could determine the spacing and depth of these balanced rocks in real time, but in a photograph, it would look as if the rocks were blending together.

I also narrowed the amount of these hoodoos to an odd number (in this case 3) as odd elements provide for more visual tension. I have never fully understood this concept, but it works. I can reason that my 35mm frame is made up of two-sets of equidistant sides, and by placing an odd-numbered array of elements in the frame, it serves to break the uniformity.

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III 3/5 seconds F/16.0 ISO 200 23 mm

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