Autumn Sunsets Assignment Winner Denis Dessoliers

Watchman Tower, Zion National Park, Utah,
"Flow To The West" by Denis Dessoliers

Congratulations to Denis Dessoliers for winning the Autumn Sunsets assignment!

“On November 3, 2015, my good friends Larry and Doug along with myself decided to head out to Zion National Park, Utah, to get a shot of the Watchman Tower. To our surprise, we arrived along with roughly a hundred photographers lined up on the rail of the famous bridge to capture the Virgin River and Watchman Tower under autumn color. With only two hours of sunset left, we knew time was already ticking down and needed a location as soon as possible. We decided to set up directly on the metal bridge overlooking the tower. Our problem with finding a location was solved but another arose. Each time hikers/bikers traversed the bridge, our tripods shook to an extent that made it nearly impossible to take a clear picture. We made the most of our situation and shot what we could in intervals, completely still to avoid shaking the bridge too much. The sky was slightly overcast so the light from the sun wasn’t making much of an impact on the scenery before us. A little while later though, the sun broke free from the clouds, and out from the horizon came a blazing light, illuminating the tower and the sky above. For the few minutes of daylight left that past, not a single voice was spoken, just the sounds of camera shutters firing away.”

Equipment & Settings: Nikon D800E, Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 with Gitzo tripod; two shots focus blend, one for sky one stop under and one for foreground half stop over, with ISO 100, f/11, Focal 38mm.


    Excellent image. Been there many times in many seasons, and I share the annoyance with the bridge vibrations. I now scoot downslope a bit under the bridge (to stay out of the field of view of any folks on the bridge) and shoot from there if the traffic is too heavy or the bridge too crowded. In winter the creek continues to flow (absent drought conditions), but given low enough temperatures there is ice on the creek bank extending out to the water. And a lot smaller crowds. There is, in fact, a pedestrian/bike trail which starts at the visitor center and ends at the junction by the bridge. It can be glimpsed in the image by Mr. Dessoliers on the east (left) side of the creek. Some good images can be had a little further down the trail, where the Watchman looms larger in the viewfinder.

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