Giorgio Trucco – How did you shoot that? Coyote Buttes
In the heart of the Coyote Buttes (a section of the Paria Canyon-Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness Area), you find a small canyon whose multicolored striations reach such sinuosity and geometric perfection that they have merited the canyon the moniker of The Wave. This small canyon has become an icon of the American SouthWest and many famous photographs portray it from every possible angle and perspective.
A small distance from The Wave you find a similar formation, also well known, though smaller and much less abused than its big sister, known to photographers as The Second Wave, or simply, The Other Wave.
The Second Wave is a typical sunset subject. The valley in which it is located, set between monumental sandstone rock formations, is oriented in an East-West direction, and in the morning The Second Wave is set completely against the sun. Therefore, in order to obtain a good photograph, you must wait for sunset conditions, then return to the car in the darkness of the night, guided by a reliable headlamp and good knowledge of your way across the desert.
It was a sweltering day of August and I had already run out of water for some hours due to a miscalculated sacrifice I had made in favor of a third camera I had added to my already heavy backpack.
I knew well that to reach The Wave in the heat of August in the Utah desert bordered on madness, but the air was so clear and the colors so saturated that I had decided to proceed and withstand everything at all costs until sunset. I sat in the shelter of a rock and spent in the shade the rest of the interminable afternoon, devoured by thirst never experienced before. At sunset I recovered strength, bewitched by the colors that the warm light of the sun reflected by the yellow, orange and purple rocks, created all around. With satisfaction gained from enduring, I placed my favorite camera, a Fotoman 617 MkII superpanoramic camera on my tripod. It was not difficult to identify the final composition taking advantage of the exquisite features of the superpanoramic format. The north side of the valley was already in the shadow and created a dark background against which stood out forcefully the edge of the rocks, still illuminated by the sun.
I calculated the exposure by placing the yellow light of the scene in Zone VI and exposed two frames, leaving the rest of the film for another image I made in the few minutes of light that still remained.
At the waning of the sun I retired my cameras, took out my headlamp and headed towards my car, from which I was separated by a three hour hike.
I spent the remaining hours tortured by the most memorable thirst, comforted only by the thought of the photos I had taken that day and by the visions of the gallons of cold water waiting in my truck cooler.
Other images from Giorgio Trucco of the Coyote Buttes area can be found in this portfolio:
Camera: Fotoman 617 MkII
Lens: Schenider 90mm f/8 Super Angulon
Film: Fuji Velvia 50
Post Production: Imacon 949
Aperture: f 32
Film Asa: 40