Apr 232013
 
Okuda_Takashi_blog

Photograph copyright Takashi Okuda

Many people take the images of rocks reflecting the light from the setting sun in the Grand Canyon. However, I have not seen a good picture of the Grand Canyon with the red sky at sunset. I wanted to photograph the Grand Canyon with a beautiful sunset.

When you photograph nature, preparations are important. To see a good sunset, I check the weather forecast everyday throughout the week. According to the forecast, Thursday would be sunny and Friday would be a little cloudy. Actually, you cannot see the good sunset on sunny days. The cloud reflects red color light and people can see that. I decided to go to the Grand Canyon on Friday. I arrived at the Grandview Point in Grand Canyon one hour before the sunset. There was a thin cloud in the sky. It was the best cloud to make a red sky at sunset.When I arrived, the sunlight was shining on the rocks. The color of the rocks was getting red as the sun set. Many visitors left after they took pictures of the red rocks. However, I knew the time to photograph had not come. Twenty minutes after the sunset, the sky changed to deep red and orange.The gradation of orange, red, purple and blue colors and the magnificent view of the Grand Canyon made me excited. I started taking pictures.

I decided to use HDR to capture the ground and sky. The sky was too bright compared to the ground during the sunset. I also wanted to make a panorama picture to express the magnificence of the Grand Canyon. I fixed my camera on my tripod vertically and set my camera to manual mode. I used f/18 to get a deep depth of field and to make an HDR image and set the camera to the bracketing mode. The basic shutter speed was 1/1.3 seconds and I took five pictures with different shutter speeds. They were 1/1.3, 1/5, 1/2, 1.6 and 3 seconds. I rotated my tripod head horizontally to make the panoramic picture. I took picture six different pictures to make the panorama. Therefore, I got thirty pictures to make one overall image. After I did that twice, the sky got dark. I just had two chances to photograph the beautiful sunset. Then, I got back to my room to edit my pictures. I used the software, Photomatix to process the HDR. I wanted pictures with high saturation. After I made one HDR picture, I saved the setting to apply it to the other pictures. As a result, I got six HDR pictures with the same brightness and saturation. I merged the six pictures in Photoshop. I cropped the picture to the rectangular shape and finally, I put the unsharp mask on the picture.

About the Photographer:
I am Takashi Okuda. I am a university student of Northern Arizona University. I am from Hiroshima, Japan. I studied film in the vocational school in Tokyo.At the time, some of my friends took photography. This promoted my start in photography. After I started studying in the U.S., I changed my major to Artand Photography. I like to take landscape images. Especially, I am working on HDR and Panorama pictures. They are new techniques in the photography world. That makes my pictures different. I would like to introduce beautiful views in the United States and Japan to many people.

To read more about the Northern Arizona University “Behind the Image: Guest Blogger” project on our blog, please read the introduction on our April 15 post at youcansleepwhenyouredead.com/wordpress/introducing-the-nau-photography-students-behind-the-image-guest-blogger-project.