PS#8: Hoodoos

This image was taken in Big Bend National Park a few weeks ago. This location is about 7 miles north of Panther Junction and about 3/4 of a mile west of the road (hiking off-trail). You can easily see these rock formations from the main road as you drive through that part of the park.

click for larger image

Shooting Specs:
Camera: Canon 5DII
Lens: Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS
Filter: circular polarizer
Shutter Speed: 1/8 sec.
Aperture: f/11
Focal Length: 105mm
ISO: 100
Camera mounted on tripod

I’ve seen photos of these hoodoos before, and I’ve always wanted to hike out to them. Wes and I scouted in that general area during our trip to Big Bend in October of last year. We agreed that it would be worth hiking out there early in the morning, but we didn’t find the opportunity to do it on that trip.

I woke up very early on the morning prior to the start of the workshop and drove across the park to this spot. I hiked, off trail, to a point just north of the hoodoos where the Chisos mountains could be seen in the background. I’d planned ahead of time that this was the view I wanted to shoot. The skies were completely cloudless, so I decided to minimize the amount of sky in the photo.

This brings up a debate on whether or not it’s advantageous to visualize your shots before you begin to photograph a particular location. I won’t get into the pros and cons of it, but I believe there is a happy balance between having no plans (and being completely spontaneous) and planning out all of your shots ahead of time. I usually go into my shoots with at least a rough idea of what I want to capture, but I also do not (or rather, try not) to get stuck or frustrated when my plans do not work out.

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