Angel of Death Spire Points to the Henry Mountains

This has been a long-awaited photo.  This spire doesn’t appear to receive the same amount of attention as the spire that most visitors hike to, which is Long Dong Sliver (Lone Spire).  But a visit to this location shows footsteps in the soft soil, which of course makes a lot of editing to lower the impact.  This particular spire’s name comes from the fact that many climbers have fallen during their attempts to climb it.

Below is my recon of the site.  Upon my first visit to the site, I found an FWD truck in the draw North of the spire and a recreator riding his off-road electrical bike on the spur of the soft black soil where the spire is perched.  So I knew that any shot would require cleaning up the soil disturbed by the recreators in post-processing.  As I scouted the area I quickly noticed the Henry Mountains still had some nice snow on the peaks.  This I thought would add value, if positioned properly in the image.  Notice the aforementioned biker on the top of the slop.

When I got into the draw I took this shot and quickly noticed that I couldn’t get the Henry Mountains into the image.  In the image, you will also see the biker on the hilltop.  Looking through the lens showed that I needed to get a higher angle to include the mountains.  Looking around the draw for any slope that would get me a higher angle.  As the AllTrails hiking track shows, I managed to find a slope that got up two-thirds of the butte cliff where the red dot is displayed.  This would be where I took the final shot that is being discussed in the post.

The AllTrails track also shows that I hiked up another slope thinking that I could use the spire to frame the Henry Mountains.

This shot increased the size of the Henry Mountains but didn’t fully frame the mountains and place a visible portion of a distant higher butte.  This later image was taken around 10:30 AM and it showed me that that if I pursued this image it would need to be towards the evening golden hour.  But the problem with that is the potential shadows if the sunlight was coming in from a Northwest angle.  For that to work, the setting sun’s angle needed to be high enough to clear the butte and fully light the spire.  So, I started realizing that my shot was the first composition would be the best option and that a sunrise shot would be my best option.  As luck would have it, my app Clear Outside for the next day was bringing in some nice clouds with a possibility of the morning light offering some salmon or orange glow, which as you see from the final photo was achieved.

For those that like gear, this image was shot using my new Peak Design Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod. You should check it out.  It is a joy to use and very light.  Now let me share with you how I shot this image and some of the post-processing actions.  This image was shot with a three-exposure blend to build the composition image with the expanded histogram shown above.  Doing this enhanced the colors and helped to bring out the tone of the spire.  The composite exposure resulted in a zero exposure bias and a brightness value of 5.01.  The brightness of course was increased to aid in image view ability.  As the color wheel shows post-processing allowed a complementary color theme.  Hope you enjoy the image.

Picture Info
April 15, 2024
6:57 AM
Sony ILCE-7RM5
FE 24-240 mm
35 mm
1/6 sec
No Flash
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