Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 17-40mm f/4L USM lens tripod mounted. The exposure was taken at 19mm, f/14 for 1/30th of a second at ISO 100 using a Singh-Ray warming polarizer filter. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 4.
Have you ever photographed a deep forest, a huge lake or an enormous mountain range and when you looked at your images later they just didn’t seem as “grand” as you remember? This happens a lot in landscape photography since the camera itself has no way to record a sense of scale.
Take this image of Santa Elena Canyon in Big Bend National Park for example. It’s over 1500 feet from the river to the top of the wall but no shot I took could really capture the sense of scale I felt the first time I visited. Even my trusty 17-40mm ultra-wide zoom lens just wasn’t up to the task of conveying just how big this place really is.
Now look at this image of the Burro Mesa Pour-off, a geological feature less than 300 feet high. With Jack (my trusted guide) in the frame, the image somehow looks much larger than it did in person. It’s up to you as the photographer to create this sense of scale, which is why many professionals prefer to shoot landscape and travel images that include people.
Standing at the end of Santa Elena Canyon with Mexico only a few steps away on my left. The once mighty Rio Grande river now just a trickle after nine months of drought. It’s hard to believe this vast canyon was formed over millions of years by these same waters. The beauty and grandeur of our border with Mexico continues to amaze me.