Stuart Bacon, QPSA  

Valley of the Gods Road to Big Rock by Stuart Bacon, QPSA

April 2021 - Valley of the Gods Road to Big Rock

April 2021 - Stuart Bacon, QPSA


About the Image(s)

The Valley of the Gods in southern Utah is a small area but full of unusual red rock formations. Few people visit it so stopping to photograph, even staying on the road, doesn't hinder the little traffic. The day I visited the park had clouds in a normally clear blue sky so I wanted to have then in my compositions. This one was taken with my converted Nikon D50 and of the bracketed exposures used 1/2500 at f8. My 18-250mm zoom lens was set at 46 mm. I opened it in Photoshop, used curves to set the black and white points then in Topaz used both Sharpen AI and DeNoise then back to P/S to convert to b/w. I burned the foreground as well as the lower rocks on either side of the big one, and finally added contrast to the scene.

4 comments posted

Helen Herbert   Helen Herbert
There is a lot going on here Stuart. Interesting sky and cloudscape, Dramatic Rockface and interesting foreground with a lead in. In my opinion it should be better than it comes over. You seem to have done all the right things but it seems bit stuck in the mid tone area, although you specify you have used curves and contrast. Maybe a bit of selective dodging and burning would help to put some life into it. worth trying as potentially it looks to be a very nice image. Perhaps a crop of the bottom would give the rock structure more prominence and take it off centre.   Posted: 04/08/2021 04:11:01

Debbie Perez   Debbie Perez
That is one dynamic sky you have there! Since you are working with B&W, why not trying forcing more extreme black and white points? I agree with Helen's assessment of sameness but I think there is a tremendous amount of detail you can work work with. I would start with forcing the blue part of the sky to black and pulling out more white in the clouds. Dodge those rocks at bit more and maybe along side of the road to bring the viewer into photo. I like the scene and think this could be spectacular!   Posted: 04/11/2021 14:27:58

Julie Walker   Julie Walker
You have such amazing rock formations in the USA, enhanced in this case by a dramatic sky. For me there is just a little too much going on in this image so I would either crop some of the foreground or some of the sky to make the rocks more prominent. The addition of a little more contrast by selective dodging and burning, as Helen suggests, would also bring out the potential in the image.   Posted: 04/15/2021 05:10:49

Sharon Prislipsky   Sharon Prislipsky
I love southeren Utah and think this isa very worthy subject. You had a great sky going on and I think the drama gives this image real potential. Having said that, like the others I feel there needs to be greater tonal range, which should not be too diffiult to achieve using the suggestions that have already been offered. As for composition, I think the viewed's attention could be better focused on the rock structer by cropping in on all sides. This si another of those images that seem to me to be a "diamond in the rough."   Posted: 04/16/2021 07:49:35


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