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Jonathan Sachs

Notes on The Lake Powell Master Class

I was fortunate enough to be invited to participate in Michael Reichmann’s Lake Powell Master Class in early April 2001. We traveled by van from Las Vegas to Lake Powell, via Zion National Park and then took a house boat out on Lake Powell for four days. We then drove to Bryce, stayed overnight and then spent a full day at Zion before returning to Las Vegas. The weather was cool and partly cloudy with occasional showers.

It was very stimulating to shoot with a group of other highly motivated and experienced photographers. We tended to spread out and work independently much of the time as we worked in a particular area, but spent a lot of time together in the early mornings and evenings talking shop and having a lot of fun. Some of the banter was very spirited, thanks particularly to Chris and Milton. I brought my Pentax 6x7 camera and with a full range of lenses and heavy tripod as well as the smaller Hasselblad XPan with its 45mm and 90mm lenses as a backup and for hand-held shooting. The Pentax system is heavy (about 35 lbs), but I love the big transparencies and have reconciled myself to working out before trips so I can haul it around.

When I got my film back after the trip, I spent a pretty full day editing it down (I shot 21 rolls of 220 and 8 rolls of 35mm) and scanning on my Imacon FlexTight Photo. I then edited the images using Picture Window Pro. For the most part this consisted of converting the files to a wide gamut working color space, cropping, touching up dirt specks, adjusting the brightness curve, making saturation and selective color adjustments, and in some cases mild unsharp masking. I have tended to exaggerate the colors somewhat to achieve a more painterly effect, but these images are still works in progress.

The Photographs

Click on the thumbnails to display a larger version of each photograph.





This photo of The Watchman in Zion National Park was taken from the auto bridge near the park entrance at Sunset on the first day of the trip. The light was changing constantly and I was lucky to find a magic moment when the face of the mountain was illuminated against the dark storm clouds. Pentax 6x7 55mm lens.

 

 





The tight composition of trees and boulders in Zion happened to catch my eye as we were walking down the auto road on the last day of the trip. At the time I did not expect it to work as well as the final image. Pentax 6x7 200mm lens.

 

 

 





On our second day on the lake, we hiked up Davis Gulch first in the morning and then again in the late afternoon. The light and scenery were both spectacular and group’s energy was buzzing. I was fascinated by the interplay of color and texture of a number of these “tree against canyon wall” compositions which let me isolate the intricate tree forms against the contrasting rock face. This was one of the first photographs I shot in the morning. Pentax 6x7 165mm lens.

 





This image is also from Davis Gulch later in the day, facing South with the late afternoon light grazing the canyon wall and illuminating the trees from the right. Pentax 6x7 200mm lens.

 

 

 

 





From almost the same spot as the previous image, this one was taken facing East with the front-lit foliage highlighted against the shadowed canyon wall behind it. Pentax 6x7 165mm lens.

 

 

 

 





We stopped several places along the road on the way home between Zion and Las Vegas to capture the last bit of light. I have no idea what mountain’s name is, but I liked the way its castle-like form was illuminated against the dark storm clouds. Pentax 6x7 100mm lens.

 

 

Jonathan Sachs is president of Digital Light and Color, and author of the image processing program Picture Window.

 © 2001 Jonathan Sachs
Cambridge, Massachusetts
20-Apr-2001

 

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Concepts: Utah, Kane County, Utah, Colorado Plateau, Color, National Park Service, Zion National Park, Camera, Bryce Canyon National Park

Entities: Las Vegas, Pentax, Hasselblad, Digital Light, Zion National Park, image processing, Lake Powell, Davis Gulch, president, Lake Powell Master Class, Michael Reichmann, Michael Reichmann, Bryce, Jonathan Sachs, Chris, Zion

Tags: Zion National Park, dark storm clouds, Las Vegas, canyon wall, Lake Powell, Pentax, Lake Powell Master, Davis Gulch, smaller Hasselblad XPan, mild unsharp masking, late afternoon, Picture Window, selective color adjustments, Imacon FlexTight Photo, Picture Window Pro, afternoon light grazing, image processing program, intricate tree forms, lens, Michael Reichmann, house boat, occasional showers, big transparencies, early mornings, particular area, heavy tripod, wide gamut, color space, castle-like form, brightness curve, final image, dirt specks, hand-held shooting, Digital Light, park entrance, auto bridge, painterly effect, magic moment, larger version, auto road