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Canyons
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Canyons

Serene, austere, and usually bereft of crowds, canyons make excellent photographic subjects. Trying to capture the essence of such places with a camera can be a real challenge, however.

Because most canyon regions are vast in scale, you'll need a plan of attack for photographing one. You should start by reading up about an area and, if possible, do an overall tour before you start shooting. Then, narrow down a shooting plan to a few specific ideas. For instance, there is usually one type of geographic feature that typifies a particular region: the great stone arches of Utah, the ancient cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde in Colorado, or, of course, the unfathomable vastness of the Grand Canyon. Focusing on one aspect of the whole helps to fight off the temptation (and frustration) of trying to capture everything you see.

Once you've decided on a particular geological focus, try to match it to a specific design technique. In Bryce Canyon, for example, you would certainly want to concentrate on the shapes of the stone spires by silhouetting them against an open sky or finding patterns in the repeating shapes. At the Grand Canyon, you would want to find ways to establish size.

Don't ignore the human history of the canyons you visit, either. Whether it's a shot of a rock painting or a Navajo herdsman at work, reminders of human history will round out your scenic album nicely

Next: "Rain Forests and the Tropics"

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