“Little Gilson Butte”, #4 of 2014

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“Little Gilson Butte”
Arca Swiss Rm3di, PhaseOne IQ180 Rodenstock 40mm HR-W, 1/ 30th at f/11, iso 35

I’ve seen some images of this location, usually with Mules Ear (a large yellow desert flower) as part of the foreground.  I was headed to Capital Reef National Park and decided to go in from the east side so I could try a sunrise shot at Little Gilson Butte.  The flowers hadn’t really bloomed enough to use, but the ripples in the sand for me made a more interesting foreground, since they are there throughout the year and the flowers are only there for a week or two. The patterns in the sand strengthen the composition, and if you look close you can see insect trails as well as areas where wind swept grass has created patterns in the sand.

To get everything in focus required a focus stack.  Tilt wouldn’t quite work because once the sand was sharp, the top of the green plant and the top of the butte would be soft.  Tilt for depth of field when it works is really nice, but the challenge is tilting creates a “wedge” of sharp focus and once you get the ground sharp, the top of near objects or taller objects in the background often are outside of that wedge and thus soft. But as long as there isn’t much movement in the scene, doing a quick series for a focus stack is pretty easy, and current software does a great job assembling the capture into a single sharp image.

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