Navajo Trail descends steeply through an eroded cut in the Bryce Canyon sandstone. To my eye, one of the most wonderful things about such places is how light bounces from wall to wall, absorbing and intensifying the colors of the rock and vegetation along the way (also see Image #9252). It is often a challenge, however, to capture the dramatic contrast between areas of brilliant, direct sunlight and the subtle, deeper tones in shadows. Because of the limitations of film, either the highlights will be burned out or the shadows will go black (how often do you see pure white or black in paintings -- or, for that matter, in real life?).
In this case, I took advantage of the fact that the shadows were filled in with reflected light. Still, this image illustrates the importance of accurately calculating the exposure: a little more exposure and the highlights would have burned out; a little less, and the shadows would have become opaque. Because the area in brilliant sunlight is relatively small, it was essential to have a good spot meter. Today, with digital cameras, this might be a good opportunity to use HDR techniques.