The Narrows is a canyon with running ice water, which is actually melted snow, with extremely slick rocks to walk on. You must have a hiking stick to navigate successfully while walking the Narrows. Even so, depending on the speed of the water there is a high probablity that you will fall down as one of my photos below will indicate. For you photographers. While you are hiking in water like this, turn OFF your camera. if you do not and it is submerged, when you bring it up it will be fried. Even if it is off and you fall and your camera goes underwater take the battery out BEFORE you check to see if you broke your leg. GET THE BATTERY OUT OF THE CAMERA.
Ok, so where did all these damn people come from?? This is suppose to be a wilderness trail? Looks like down town Los Angeles!!! Well, you are almost right. Zion is one of the most visited National Parks in the nation. They come from all over. In the summer time the traffic is at it's worst. People are all over. I was there to photograph landscape but that was not going to happen, so I just decided to photograph the people instead. Make lemonade out of lemons. Turned out to be interesting.
The first photo may look like an easy photograph to take, but hold on, not so fast. In the morning you are in a very high contrast environment. Please observe the tops of the mountains. They are bathed in sunlight. Where as below the scenery can be dark with a lot of shadows. Even putting the camera in PROGRAM MODE (Nikon Speak) where the camera does all the thinking for you, there can be extremely *bright spots (over exposed) and also *dark areas (underexpose) all with in the same photo. This is where you come in. You have to do the thinking for the camera. You have several options.
I am generally photographing in APETURE MODE, so I can adjust the depth of field. I am constantly adjusting my ISO up or down, and also manipulating the Exposure Value (EV), in-order to produce a light balanced photograph. That is, the image is not too dark, nore it is too light. Last but not least, put your camera in SHADE mode, which is the manipulation of the White Balance. White Balance is your cameras way of adjusting colors to match the color of the actual light source (image) so that white appears white in your photograph.
White Balance is a bit complicated because it deals with the temperature of light measured in Kelvin. With my Nikon, photographing outdoors in the middle of the day the White Balance is set to SUNLIGHT, which in Nikon speak is 5200 degrees Kelvin. That is your reference point. What if the image is something other than sunlight? Well, that is where the thinking comes in. In a high contrast situation, the camera senses the light entering the lens. Even though it is daylight, the canyon walls block direct sunlight and you can be faced with deep shadows. At that point put your camera in SHADE MODE, which is between 7000 degrees Kelvin and 8000 degrees Kelvin.
You must think of your ISO, and your EV (exposure value) and White Balance exposure when photographing in this type of environment. However, you cannot forget about shutter speed, and F/stop settings. It gets complicated, and everything can change. You can't just make a few adjustments and forget your settings. I found just going around a bend, everything changes AGAIN. You take a shot. Maybe it is too dark. Bump up your ISO, but be cognizant of the fact that the higher the ISO the more grainy the shot. So be careful. I generally did not go over ISO 800. Then I would manipulate the EV starting first at: +.3, if it is still to dark, go to +.7, same results go to +1. At the same time the camera WHITE BALANCE is in SHADE mode.
There is no set way to photograph outdoors. To take that National Geographic shot you must be thinking of: Shutter speed, F/stops, ISO settings, EV settings, and White Balance (WB) adjustments. It ain't easy, so be flexible, then read and understand your owners manual.
* To further understand the the concept of photographing in a high light contrast environment please reference the ZONE SYSTEM.
In conclusion, don't go to ZION and other places thinking that PROGRAM MODE will fix all your problems. Nope. Sorry. You have to take the time to learn how to use your camera and make it do what you want it to do. That is why you consult your owners manual, as painful as that may seem, understanding what the camera is actually doing will allow you to take excellent shots. Sorry, this ain't ANDROID photography. That class is down the hall.
Oh yes one more thing before I forget. Test on Tuesday. Sharpen your pencils.
This guy fell, he was not cooling off. You should note: There are no OSHA regulations here concerning hand rails, or other safety equipment. You are on your own.
People, people everywhere, nor a drop to drink...