THE STANDARD PHOTO
It’s been said that it’s impossible to get an original shot of the Watchman from the bridge crossing the Virgin River in Zion National Park, and I’d fully agree with that statement. Since visiting Zion in October I’ve seen at least a dozen images of this scene. And while each is basically similar, the experience of standing on the bridge with two to three dozen other photographers waiting and hoping for the right moment with the right light to get your own shot is worth the effort to produce a shot which is far from unique.
The Watchman is likely the most photographed icon of Zion National Park. It’s the first major icon you see when entering the park, and it’s visible from many parts of the park. As the name implies, it stands as if a sentry above the entrance to the canyon that is Zion National Park. Like all of the geology in Zion, it is primarily composed of Navajo Sandstone that was laid down during the middle Jurassic period that lasted from 146 to 200 million years ago. The Navajo Sandstone is particularly hard and erosion resistant, but stresses created when the Pacific tectonic plate began interacting with the North American tectonic plate over the last 66 million years created systematic fractures and regional faults in what is now southwestern Utah. These fractures became the foci of erosional processes that resulted in the temples and towers, like the Watchman, that are so prevalent in Zion National Park.
This photo was taken with a Canon EF 17-40 mm f/4L USM lens zoomed to 29 mm on a Canon EOS 5D Mk III. The exposure was set to 1/125 sec at f/11 and ISO 800.
To see more photos of my recent Utah trip or read other blogs, visit www.chuckkopczakphotography.com.