Queen's Garden, Bryce Canyon NP, Utah

Thor's Hammer Focus, Bryce Canyon NP, Utah

This will be my penultimate image in my mutli-part Large Format tour of the rim of Bryce Canyon National Park. This is a less serious or straight-forward take on a particular icon of the park, Thor's Hammer. I've played with the front tilt at Bryce in in this photo creating a pseudo-miniature type of image. In this case I took an alternative approach to applying selective focus to Thor's Hammer but applying quite a lot of front swing (for those unfamiliar with large format camera movements that means that the front lens element has been pivoted to point at an angle to the left or right, rather than straight forward, which also moves the plane of focus to the left or right). In this case it created a plane of focus that leads almost straight through the shot. As you can see, besides Thor's Hammer being focused, a narrow band to the left is also in focus out to the horizon, whereas a few degrees on either side focus is very limited.

On some level these selective focus techniques a perhaps a bit gimmicky, but I also quite enjoy the effect. I'd originally hoped to find a higher perspective on Thor's Hammer to try a front-tilt selective focus, but within my available time I just didn't have a chance. I'd like to on another visit though.

Thor's Hammer is likely the single most recognizable hoodoo in the park. As you descend down from Sunset Point you eventually arrive at this point just below the top of the hoodoo. It's quite tall and difficult to capture from top to bottom from this vantage point, without a fairly wide lens. It stands in isolation, with tall walls on either side of it, sort of framing it in its own amphitheater. It's probably the nicest spot I've seen in the park to shoot looking east towards the rising sun. We were fortunate to spend sunrise at this point last year, and this year we visited this same spot for about an hour before sunrise (before dashing off to Inspiration Point, just a few minutes south).

Gimmicky selective-focus, or not, I like that this shot keeps Thor's Hammer isolated from its surrounds somewhat. It's a beautiful icon of the park and worthy of a visit.

Tachihara 4x5 | Caltar II-N 150mm f/5.6 | f/5.6 | 1/500s | Fuji Velvia 50 | Tripod

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