Anatomy of a Composition, part 4

Grand Canyon – Blue

“Opacity” is a word used throughout art and science to describe a thickness value.  The root is the word “opaque” which is probably obvious to discern, and in photography it specifically refers to how much you are going to reveal or cover up dependent on varying applications of filters, or color.  Different features can be hidden, or revealed and even specifically highlighted. In the case of this image, nothing light that was used. The opacity, the ability to see each layer, distinct, was created by nature, and that’s what makes this image special to me.

Grand Canyon – Blue Shot with a Sony a7r using the Zeiss FE 2470/F4 ZA lens.
EXIF Data: ISO 50 | F/8 | 1/250 se

I sat on a rock at Yavapai Point watching the sun change from glaring, to illuminating, to vibrant and frantic, then finally softening.  There were four distinct and unique sunsets that night, it was a joy to see all of it transpire. This “blue” was the beginning of the night. The progress was slow and gentle, with an occasional gust of wind to signal the passing of time.  But sitting there, for multiple hours and well into the moonrise, that sense of calm that envelops is, oh so calming and uniquely rewarding.

But the beginnings, this blue, there’s just something in the blue.  One of my brother Steve’s final plays was “The Drowsy Chaperone.” It is a comedy that follows the narrator through as series of quirky events in his New York apartment building and how he relates his life to various Broadway shows.  In the narrator’s opening monologues he discusses “blue.” It’s his phrase for the low-level anxiety that creeps into all of us, that little discomfort that creeps in; he would cure this “blue” with music, with musicals, specifically. It is an entertaining play if you ever get to see it, and I felt comforted know that this is where my brother would turn when he felt “blue.”  He would turn to his art, his creativity, he wouldn’t wallow in it.

Two of my favorite images so far this year are blue.  This sunset, and a sunset on New Years Day over Lake Vallecito in Southern Colorado.  Both of them are warm to me. As heavy as they appear both are very light in my mind, both bring calm to my mind.  The subtlety, the simplicity, there’s just something in the “blue.”

This image is available as a 20″x30″ canvas print.  Comes with framed backing, ready to hang. Beautiful rendering and a high quality production.

Find it at:


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