This is the final set of images from my short trip to Utah in late November. If you missed the previous posts, be sure to check them out: Oil Paintings and Dreams of Solitude. One of the many reasons I wanted to head out to Southern Utah was to check out Guy Tal’s new gallery in Torrey. If you’re ever in the area make sure to stop by – you won’t be disappointed (and might end up bringing some art home with you!). Seeing many of my favorite images from Guy in print, beautifully mounted and framed, was a real treat. That afternoon Guy, Marc, and I went for a hike to Upper Calf Creek Falls, in hopes of there still being some fall colors. Not too surprisingly, fall had long come and gone, but we found plenty of ‘picture sandstone’ and lichen colors to keep us busy. Close up abstracts of these colorful forms are a dime a dozen, but I think this one was my favorite from the day.

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"Lichenscape" ~ Calf Creek area, Utah
The Tech: Canon 5D2, 45mm TS-E, tripod
Exposure: iso 100, f/16, 1/20th sec

The following day a heavy winter storm started rolling through, bringing record cold temperatures to the western US and plenty of snow to keep things interesting. In fact, forecasts showed that in the evening it would get cold enough that it would likely snow in the valley floor of Zion – which was on my way home! With the fall colors still hanging on in many of the trees, the conditions were potentially exciting enough that Marc abandoned his other plans and we both took off for Zion… a long drive through heavy snows and occasional white conditions. Along the way we stopped on boulder mountain to photograph the frost covered aspen.

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"Rhythm and Rime" ~ Boulder Mountain, UT
The Tech: Canon 5D2, 70-200mm, tripod
Exposure: iso 400, f/8, 1/500th sec
Notes: I increased the white balance on the aspen trunks to make them stand out more.

Eventually we made it to Zion, where the higher elevations were already covered in a light dusting of powdery snow. The temperatures were hovering just around freezing levels, so there was enough melting snow that the waterfalls started going in the main canyon. I found one particularly vibrant maple near the emerald pools falls – seeing waterfalls in Zion is special, so seeing them with peak fall colors was incredible. But the magic didn’t peak until the following morning, when the entire valley was covered in a thin layer of fresh snow. The conditions were surprisingly hard to do justice, but I think this image is pretty close.

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"Transitions" ~ Zion NP, UT
The Tech: Canon 5D2, 24-105mm, polarizer, tripod
Exposure: iso 100, f/16, 2.5 sec
Notes: I used 4 exposures at different focus settings to achieve complete depth of field throughout the scene, blended with Helicon Focus and touched up by hand.

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4 Comments to “Winter’s Embrace”

  1. Richard Wong says:

    Hey Floris. I am really digging that red leaf buried under snow look for that Emerald Falls image. That has holiday season written all over it.

  2. Chris says:


    I have to say that the Zion shot is definitely my favorite I have seen of those falls at Emerald Pools and like you I have seen quite a few from there!

    Also the Boulder Mountain shot of the trees is really nice!

    I guess it is time for me to pack up the kids and get out again!

  3. Kobus Smit says:

    Dear Floris

    I am looking at many photography websites and blogs, but I always come back to yours because I am in love with your creative photography. Why did you shoot the shot called “Rhythm and Rime” on 400 iso? “Transitions” is stunning. Do you get more depth of field by blending 4 shots? Or does the Helicon focus help you to get the depth of field? Would you recommend the Helicon focus for landscape?

    May 2011 be a amazing photography year to you.

    Kindest regards

  4. Hi Kobus,

    Thanks for the kind words! I used iso 400 on Rhythm and Rime in order to freeze the motion of the branches – there were strong gusts of wind (carrying the snow ‘mist’ you see) blowing through shaking everything. I use Helicon Focus to blend exposures taken at different focus settings (of the same scene, with all the other settings the same), that increases the depth of field. It’s a good program, but a bit pricey. I believe CS5 has similar capabilities, however.

    Happy new year!