Top five photos in August 2019

August was a great time for photos. Almost every week I was out shooting with my camera – and I think I’ll seriously consider moving some of these photos into my permanent page for my top-five photos.

Stunning view, hiking through Lower Calf Creek to the Lower Falls

Shot at the tail-end of the month, I was in the Escalante Monument area – where a group of my friends camped in the Lower Calf Creek Campgrounds. The hike to the Lower Falls is a fairly tame hike, where we see some of the best landscapes Utah has to offer.

I sed Lightroom Classic’s HDR photo merge to stack together 7 bracketed shots, using +/-1 exposure bracketing. I also had a polarize on – but mostly to deal with the eventual creek and waterfall scenes I wanted to photography further down the hike. I did a significant amount of brush adjustments on the harshest highlights and the darkest shadows to help bring out a scene, as I recall it.

Lost in the un-ending view

I don’t frequently day hike – but when I set up a base camp, it feels a bit more natural than leaving the house for a trailhead.

This photo was taken using my Lumix G9 and Olympus 12 – 40 mm Pro. Unlike most landscape photos, I wasn’t able to take a set of bracketed photos. I am happy that I was able to get a subject in one of these photos. Unfortunately, this was taken late in the afternoon, which lends to the harsh shadows. This is one of the advantages if I would be able to stack photos.

Hiking upfront, for once

Unfortunately, I’m not the fastest hiker – this means I’ll often be forced to take pictures of my friends walking ahead of me – which doesn’t result in the best photos. Over the summer, I’ve been working out, focusing on cardio and lower body strength to help me pick up the pace. Photos from behind can only be so exciting.

This was shot using my Lumix G9 while on the Calf Creek, Lower Falls trail – on the way there. The lighting is pretty harsh and I could not have used bracketing to make up for the lighting. Like with the earlier photo, when there is a person a group of people in the photo, the movement makes it impossible to get a decent shot.

In the editing, I did take some time to raise the exposure on my friends to help them pop-out a bit more. I also did a spot-brush and raise the shadows of the canyons. Unfortunately, the Lumix G9 has a tendency of adding a violet hue when raising really low shadows. I typically try my best to expose to the right – but when hiking, this is especially difficult.

Blue, orange, and green

One of the interesting things about Utah’s scenery is the iron in the soil – it puts an orange and red hint in many of the scenic landscapes. I love this look – it helps add a vibrance to landscapes you don’t normally see around the drier mountain ranges in southern California, where I’m from.

This photo has the least amount of editing, other than the crop and change in aspect ratio. It just goes to show how important planning and traveling for photos can be. If you haven’t read my article on lessons learned planning is one of the key themes.

Calf Creek, Lower Falls

I don’t have too much experience photographing waterfalls and running rivers – but it’s something I’m definitely interested in. At the end of one of our hikes, we found ourselves at the Lower Falls at Calf Creek.

I had a polarizer on when I shot this, which helps cut some of the glare of the water.