Daily Photo – Zion on the Tracks

This shot was taken at the Creative Lighting Workshop thrown by Christopher Fergusen and Steven Noreyko in March 2008. We hauled a chair out from the studio to the nearby defunct railroad tracks and tried to find an interesting composition (this chair has been featured enough in Christopher’s work, in addition to the photos of various workshop attendees, that it probably needs it’s own agency representation).

The photo itself was taken during the setup, before we had the lights in place.


  • Shutter: 1/250
  • Aperture: f/5.6
  • ISO: 100
  • Camera: Canon EOS 1d mIII
  • Lens: Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM


Composition and Processing

  • Yeah, dark again. The tonal range of this image is pretty broad though, and if you look at the histogram it’s actually clipped at the top (the tracks, sky and part of the road) but is about 15% clear of the bottom end. And thanks to the 1d’s shadow detail, perfect for this shot. In fact, with Zion largely backlit anyway, I decided to emphasis this and blow the background out more, while bringing up the shadows.
  • The image required some cleaning up and reconstruction. That was easier on the left, but the right required a lot of grass and the addition of the obscured part of the chair. Blowing out the background meant the grass duplication could be less than perfect, and I took a piece of the left side of the chair and used it to rebuild the right side.
  • There was good color separation between Zion and both the chair and background, but not very good separation between the chair itself and the background. And the yellow-green color wasn’t working in general. I tried a number of things: changing the hue of the green, going to black and white, etc. After the black and white experimentation I decided that the image should probably have the same overall color, and given that railroad tracks have a bit of a classic western feel to them, chose this reddish sepia tone.

More shots of Zion can be found here.

August 11 2008 10:01 pm | Photography

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