I had the chance to social distance recently on the Arizona/Utah border at Lake Powell — my first camping trip since I was a Boy Scout many moons ago. And I loved it. I met up with a photographer friend and we masked our way through a couple days of camping, scouting and shooting with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III.

Here is a link to a previous article on working a scene. And, check out this composition article on filling the frame.

The place

First look on approach to Toadstool rock formation.

After some internet scouting prior to the trip I decided to check out a place called the Toadstools. As the name implies there are rock formations resembling mushrooms. It is one cool location! A little less than a mile from the parking area, nature’s creations once again astound me.

Composition

I always recommend that you try to work a scene rather than run and gun. Working different compositions and trying small camera adjustments can make a large difference in your final capture. Above is the scene as I first approached. Below I started to fine tune the image.

A less than successful attempt to balance the two subjects.

I felt the need to have a foreground element to balance the towering toadstool. A yucca plant that fit the bill. This gave me two subjects on power points at a diagonal from top left to bottom right.

An additional diagonal line across the top between the rocks and sky was positioned about a third from the top of the frame. Rocks and shadows filled the middle ground and sand and my yucca took up residence down front.

Compositional elements at work. Lots to look at in this photo. Triangle of green balanced by triangle of shadow areas. Top diagonal balanced by S-curve.

High Res Shot file size

There are plenty of pixels with which to work in this file. I used the High Res Shot mode on the E-M1 Mark III with M. Zukio 12-100mm f/4.0 lens.

The incredible part of this is the shooting handheld method which results in a 50 MP file from the 20 MP sensor. The camera makes 16 exposures while offsetting them by approximately half a pixel. It then combines those exposures into a RAW, JPEG and a proprietary .ORI format. I’ll be sharing some thoughts on the handheld 50 MP capture and files in another article.

Final image

Processed final image using composition with added dodging, burning and selective sharpening.

Above is the finished image. I endeavor to move your eye around the photo using techniques other than composition such as super sharpening certain features, dodging, burning and saturation. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Yours in Creative Photography, Bob

P.S. – I added a different sky as well that was photographed just a little earlier in the day. But, that’s another post.