Eagle Crags, Zion National Park

Eagle Crags, Zion National Park

While visiting Zion National Park in May, we spent much of our time around Springdale where we were constantly noting a great peak just outside the park, particularly as it would pick up late evening sun. If you are familiar with the iconic bridge-view of "The Watchman" in Zion, it appears on the horizon in the distance. We didn't know what it was or how we could reach it, but with a little bit of exploring we eventually found ourselves headed up a dirt road to find a way to it. With a few hours before sunset and generally poor weather we felt we had time to at least explore our options.

The dirt road turned out to be pretty awful, albeit short, with deep ruts and occasionally complete holes - kudos to my friend Suad for navigating up there successfully. We eventually found a small parking area and a trailhead that lead out to this wonderful place known as the Eagle Crags, managed through the BLM (Bureau of Land Management). Considering the tremendous effort of reaching the trailhead we decided to just wait out the evening and hope for some bursts of sunlight to work with, while we explored the area for the best vantage point. We covered quite a bit of ground trying to find just the right locations - I spent considerable time trying to pull some low grass into the foreground to no avail, and ultimately settled on a fairly open view of the peak alone.

Not long after we arrived there were a few breaks in the clouds to the west, and for a couple moments the Eagle Crags received some direct sunlight. During that short time I came away with two similar frames, but preferred this one. I had waited for the clouds to blow into a position in which a light patch fell behind the highest peak, creating more tonal separation between the sandstone and the sky. Although this break in the clouds came early on, we spent nearly four hours up there hoping for more light to fall on the peaks, but it never did.

This photograph was prepared from a scan of the negative itself, which I worked with digitally trying to reproduce contact prints I prepared previously. I truly prefer the tonality of the contact print, but between printing it back in May and planning to scan it last week it appeared to get damaged by a water streak. I only prepared one other contact print which I passed on to Suad already, so the negative scan has to suffice for now. Truly, I would prefer to be enlarging the negative at home, but I don't have an enlarger to work with. (If anyone would care to provide me with a functional 4x5 enlarger I'd be happy to give it a shot).

Tachihara 4x5 | Caltar 210mm f/6.1 | f/32 | 1/2s | Ilford FP4+ | Tripod | HC110(b)

View more related images in my Zion National Park Gallery.

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