Hauling around the old tripod (or not)

We pulled into Canyonlands NP in Utah for sunset photos. This park is huge, and without a definite place to photograph we drove to a popular overlook and parked. (As mentioned before, during the day you can hardly get a parking place here, but it was nearly 7:30 and the place was mostly empty.)

The sky to the west promised a kind of bland sunset with no clouds. I’d seen this many times. The sun would set behind a few mountains and with no clouds it would be pretty, but nothing to photograph. So, all that to say, I did not take my tripod, I told my wife, in fact, that I was just going to enjoy the sunset. But not being a complete fool I took my camera.

Photog on his belly - web.jpg

Why on earth am I laying on my belly taking photos the hard way?

We hiked along the rim trail for about a mile, the sun was getting low and just as I suspected, it was not going to be anything special. Then I turned around and saw a gorgeous rain cloud approaching. It was big and puffy and just starting to turn red. We got up and ran across the peninsula, for lack of a better term, and snapped a few photos. Curses!! I needed to use my graduated ND filter, which thankfully I had slipped into my jacket pocket, but I could not hold my camera and steady the filter while hand holding it. Curses again!! I needed my tripod. But I didn’t have time to run back to the truck and get it.

Time to improvise.

As you can see from the photo, I got on my belly, inched towards the edge of the cliff and used a rock and my sweatshirt for a tripod. I balanced all that so I could use my ND filter. While in the back of my mind I was a bit concerned about being a foot or two from the edge of a 500+ foot drop to the canyon floor, I steadied myself, held my breath and composed the shot. I took 5-6 exposures and thanked my wife for not laughing too much. Then she showed me the above photo.

Not at all graceful, but it worked!

Here’s the photo I laid down to get.