Red Rock Canyon

Today I’ll do two photo shoots in the same locale, followed by one other tomorrow at sunrise. I’m speaking of the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, just 25 minutes from downtown Las Vegas. That’s right, only 25 minutes outside of one of the most frenetic and bizarre cities in the world.

The lead image here was shot in the morning, well after sunrise, right off the 13-mile long park loop road. I drove the loop this morning mostly to scout photo locations for a sunset shoot tonight and a sunrise tomorrow.

As we drove, I spotted a series of desert bighorn sheep and stopped for 30-minutes to photograph even though I knew the images would not be great. All I had with me was a 70-200mm lens at 200mm with a 1.4 tele-extender, hardly enough to reach these lovely animals who were quite far away. I switched my tripod-mounted camera from FX to DX mode, thereby gaining 50% more reach, much the same as cropping. Can you spot all four sheep in this image?

I usually don’t pass up such less-than-ideal scenes for the simple reason that it keeps me in practice for when I have my bigger guns with me. In a week I’ll be in Yukon Territory in Canada once again, one of my favorite places in the world, photographing bears and Fall landscapes, so any pre-trip practice is welcome.

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