Magical Zion


This is an image of the iconic setting many photographers like to photograph during sunset in Zion National Park. Being here before, I wanted to do something a little different. This image shows the Milky Way reflecting its light over the Virgin River which leads to the Watchman Mountain formation. The image is a blend of exposures taken. The first was taken at 11:00 p.m. when the crescent moon was giving it’s light down into the canyon with the river and the second was taken at 3:00 a.m. when the Milky Way stood up above the Virgin River. I then blended the images together to create one. Both images were taken the same night without moving my tripod and camera between the exposures.

This photo could have been taken as one exposure, when the Milky Way was in place. But I would not have had the detail in the canyon as I wanted. When the Milky Way was in place the moon had already set. Earlier the moon gave fill light so I would have better detail in the canyon.

The night that this photo was taken, was a few days after the peak Eta Aquarids meteor shower. I was fortunate to have captured in the image a few small meteors flying thru the night sky. This photo also shows Mars, which looks like the brightest star, but it is Mars. Saturn is directly to the left and slightly higher from Mars, and is a little less bright. The two planets look like bright stars due to the long time exposure used to take the image.

The equipment I used was a Canon 5d Mk3, Rokinon 24mm lens. My setting for the sky was ISO8000, 8 seconds, F2.8. The setting for the foreground was Rokinon 24mm lens, ISO 500, 120 seconds, F-4.

Date Added
August 9, 2016