The "Sacred Canyon" found along the west coast of Vancouver Island has been on my go to list for quite some time now. I have seen many photos, and now more than ever before. One quick look through instagram or Facebook and your sure to see a few shots. It doesn't bother me though, some photographers get really specific about shooting locations that have never been photographed before but I think for me it's the adventure and the experience that I am after more than anything else. Just seeing these places through your own eyes is really spectacular! So finally I made the trek and checked it out for my self.
With a quick impromptu trip to Vancouver Island my girlfriend and I thought it would be a great time to take advantage of a few extra days and do some exploring. Once we arrived we quickly got some groceries in Victoria, gassed up and headed up the coast. When we arrived at the the road that would take us down to the entry of this location we quickly realized that a truck would be needed, unfortunately my old Mercury Sable wouldn't make the cut so we would need to hike the extra kilometres down to the beach first. This is always rewarding especially when carrying a full pack of camera gear! The canyon is located about 2-3 kilometres down the rugged beach then up a creek about one hundred yards or so. We would also now need to walk about 2 kilometres from the road down to the entrance onto the beach making the total journey about 7 or 8 km. Not so bad and totally worth it! We quickly descended the the rutted road and hiked down the beach looking for the creek. We found it and made our way in!
Jasmin enters the "Sacred Canyon" after a long hike from the car. Nikon d800 Nikon 16-35mm F3.5 VR 16mm iso 400 F3.5 1/25
We slog our way up and make our way into the canyon, it's incredible and I haven't seen anything like it before. it reminds me of being somewhere tropical (I have never actually been in a tropical place...lol) We are alone and all I hear is our echoing voices and the rushing sound of the creek and the waterfall found at the end of this canyon. The colours are truly brilliant, vibrant green, gold, yellow, brown and black contrast against the white clear flowing water. It's spiritual and in the moment I almost forget to shoot some photos. I snap back to reality and quickly bolt the Nikon d800 to my Gitzo tripod. I am shooting with the Nikon 16-35 mm F3.5 VR super wide angle lens, infront of the lens I screw on my Lee landscape Polarizer to help cut the glare and naturally saturate the colour. I take a quick shot wide open at F3.5 in order to freeze Jasmin as she steps up and into the canyon (shot above) and then I go to work on my shot. I find a nice composition set my exposure, lock in my focus and squeeze the shutter release. In this case the dynamic range is hard to capture in one frame as the canyon walls are dark and in shadow but the waterfall and creek or bright with highlights. I bracket a couple of shots by only adjusting my shutter speed. Now we just take it in, the feeling in here is almost pre historic!
Sacred Canyon - Nikon d800 Nikon 16-35mm F3.5 VR, Lee Landscape Polarizer, Gitzo Tripod, Cable Release 16mm iso 100 F14 8 sec
Back in Vancouver and still reliving the experience it's time to process the image. First I open the RAW file in Adobe Lightroom and do some minor distortion corrections. It turns out that the incredible dynamic range of the Nikon d800 was able capture all the light in one single exposure. Now I go through some adjustments to contrast, saturation, sharpening, white balance along with some fine tuning and the image looks good to me. Next I open in photoshop and resize the image for a variety of usage such as website and social media. And that is it! I can't wait to go back!
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