Black Magic Canyon, located north of Shoshone, Idaho, is a truly unique landscape and a cornucopia of photographic possibility. Each time I descend into the canyon/riverbed, I find new features. Each time, something wonderful captures my attention.
Because the scale of the canyon is so vast, it’s easy to get caught up taking wide shots. Like most of my photography (and my life) I choose to focus on the details. I try to identify the most important subjects of the scene and eliminate the distracting elements. I like to look for features and details that may be overlooked. And while the canyon has done a great job of creating photographic opportunity, sometimes I like to offer some assistance.
Looking at this image, you might be asking, “Was that rock there, or did you put it there?” I placed it there. On my hike out of the canyon, thinking I was done for the day, I passed this small, spherical rock. It was just too perfect to pass up. I tried shooting a few images in it’s natural setting, but it was sitting on the canyon floor, lost among other rocks, gravel and sand. It was begging to be elevated – literally and figuratively. So I picked it up, held it, listened to it. The weight, the texture, the color and the shape all spoke to me. Looking around, I found an ideal pedestal for my new-found treasure.
In this image, I like the shallow depth of field (DOF). I think it makes the rock more dimensional. It also blurs the background completely, keeping the focus on the light-colored rock. I like the contrast between the black pedestal and the white rock. The black pedestal adds a visual anchor to the image, and also make the white rock seem lighter (in color and weight). Lastly, I like the square format. I tried several other aspect ratios, but none of them felt right. I think the square format works because it contrasts and complements the circular shape of the stone.
Camera and Settings:
● Canon 7D, Canon 70-200 at 200mm
● f/2.8 for 1/400 of a second, ISO 100
Processing Initial processing in Lightroom
● cropped to square format, maintaining original height
● all the basic sliders adjusted (except saturation)
○ Contrast (+100), Clarity (+100) & Shadows (+100)
○ Highlights (-100), Blacks (-52)
● B&W Mix sliders adjusted
○ Aqua and blue decreased (-80)
● Vignette added Additional processing in Photoshop
● The original image, especially in the black pedestal, had a lot of holes in the rock
○ I healed everything I thought was distracting, to smooth the surfaces of both the pedestal and the stone