Author: David Huffman
Sabino Canyon, located immediately North East of Tucson, is a national park worthy of a trek for any nature-lover or photographer. Many locals go there for a weekly walk. There are multiple trails to explore, and the main road is about 4 miles and fully paved. They don’t allow private vehicles any longer, but there is a tram that stops at 9 different points if you wish to get on and off. The road can easily be walked in about 2 to 3 hours up and back, or just take the tram up (hill) and walk down as I did. During the spring and early summer the river will flow and provide some good reflections but the later summer may not have any water at all.
I got a late start, one Friday afternoon, getting to the trail about 4 PM. It was rather warm, about 96° that afternoon, which just goes to show that living in Arizona for 10 years changes your perspective on temperatures. Because I knew it was warm, I decided today I leave most of my photographic gear in the car, and took just one camera and one lens. I chose a Nikon D810 and the all-in-one Nikon 28-300mm VR lens. Some websites criticize this lens for sharpness, I don’t have any issues with it. Using one long-range zoom lens, also means that I’m not changing lenses in the field and possibly getting dust on my sensor. From experience, I found that I can shoot this lens critically sharp down to one 1/125th of a second, using VR, and my favorite aperture is F/8. I also like to use a polarizing filter to enhance nature’s colors and darken the blue sky.
The first photo was taken using these settings, and the image was improved using DXO optics V. 10. I added clarity, adjusted contrast and saturation slightly.
The second image is an HDR image, a combination of 3 images with a range from -2 to +2 stops, then combined using Photomatix Essentials, a simple software program for blending images. I chose not to exaggerate the image, but rather wanted to increase the contrast range to accommodate good detail in the sunlit mountain top and the shadows of the foreground.
You’ll find more images and information, including eBooks on travel and landscape photography on my website, www.HuffmanPhotoArt.com. Try one of our Arizona Highways Photo Workshops to learn and share more photographic fun! www.AHPW.org.