The Watchman is a mountain in Zion National Park.
It is a famous view and one of the most photographed images in the park, maybe the most photographed one. BTW it is the pointy peak over the river in the first image.
As you might guess, I photographed it too. Why? Easy. Look at it. It wants to be photographed. The river, the canyon the mountain-this has it all.
So I went off to make the standard image late in the afternoon, just like most photographer would. Now what the image does not show is WHERE you make the image from. Take a look and you might guess you are on a bridge. That is correct, but it is a two lane bridge with no sidewalk.
That's right, no sidewalk. There is about a two foot striped area on the side of the bridge. Photographers joke that the stripes mark out spots for photographers since it can get busy with photogs. This is a place one needs to have a minimal amount of equipment as if you are wearing a backpack there are times it seems a bus will snag it off your back. Luckily being in the park the speed limit is low, but when a truck goes by at 30-40 mph about a foot from you and your tripod it does start to be "fun".
The first image is that standard afternoon one. I know the photographers are already thinking, the dork left his polarizer on with his 10mm lens. Yes I did. Doh! But at least you can see what the standard view looks like.
I knew the lack of clouds would make the first image pretty bland so when I got up early the next morning and it was still cloudless I went back to photograph the stars over the Watchman.
What you see here was the first image I got. The Watchman was catching some light, the Milky Way hangs in the sky and the river had a little glow to it. As soon as I saw it on the screen, I knew I liked it.
Then late in the trip I had a very cloudy afternoon and I thought I would go back and try one last time for an image. This time I went down into the river and photographed out of it for a different take on this famous view. The clouds really made this one work.
Clouds are awesome!
Now I had two images that I really liked and both were a little different than the standard shot.
I guess the moral of the story is do the classic locations but then try to do it differently. You might just get a much better image.