Out of Darkness
Out of Darkness
Near the exit to the famed "wall street" section of the Virgin River Narrows, lies the Imlay Boulder. This boulder is frequently photographed, as you must pass it to enter or exit this section of the Narrows, and in the afternoon for a short time, the sun filters down into the 1800 foot deep slot canyon creating this gorgeous reflected light.
In July of 2013, after visiting the Narrows for the first time, I returned a second time to explore and photograph the entire 16-mile length of this canyon, and made my first version of this image. At the time, I'd never seen any photograph of this scene, and was simply captivated by the scene and this seemed the best composition. Only over a year later did I see images from other photographers of the scene.
In January of 2016, I decided to switch back to film for my fine art work, and purchased a 6x4.5cm sized medium format film camera to begin getting used to exposing film instead of digital sensors again. Later in the year, I switched to a 6x7cm format camera, to get used to bellows focusing and a larger image capture plane. Finally, in early fall of 2016, I switched to 4x5in format, and a wooden view camera - technology that has existed since the 1800s, but which has not yet been surpassed in the digital age.
In November, I made this trip to Zion National Park for the fall colors, and decided to take the opportunity to recreate this image on the vastly improved quality of large format color transparency film. Arriving on-site, I captured 4 exposures of the scene, 3 on Kodak Ektar 100, and 1 on Fujifilm Velvia 100. Other large format photographers told me the Velvia wouldn't be able to contain the wide range of light in this scene, from the brilliant highlights to the deep shadows. However, I decided to give it a try anyway, and the result is what you see here. I love the way the Velvia renders this beautiful canyon scene.