Zion National Park – Autumn – Clear Creek

Clear creek runs parallel to the road through Zion in many places.

For the images in this article, I parked in designated but unnamed parking spots and scrambled down to the creek. I did not run into another person but in several places, I did see footprints on occasion.

The water-carved canyon walls are quite impressive and well worth exploring.

Feature Image Details

The light was fading fast but it was nearly calm so there was little movement in the leaves. In retrospect, I should have used a much higher ISO.

ISO 800 would have provided 4 stops of light. 50-100 is one stop, 100-200 is another stop, 200-400 is the third stop, and 400-800 is the 4th stop.

Each stop doubles or halves the exposure time. Instead of 8 seconds, my exposure would have been 1/2 second.

To achieve the depth of field in the images, I used a technique called focus stacking. I focused on the wall in one image and the background in another. Two images are generally insufficient for focus stacking but that is all I took.

One can combine the images manually or use a program like “Zerene Stacker“. I was forced to do a manual combination as I accidentally shifted the camera slightly between images and they did not line up.

Thus, I made a lot of mistakes, but I am pleased with the final result.

Additional Clear Creek Image

Scrambling Tips

The key to these images is easy: Get off the beaten path and explore!

There is nothing difficult about the preceding image other than scrambling down the hillside with no marked trail to get to the creek bed. I took the above image about 15 minutes before the feature image.

I almost stopped at that point because the light was fading fast but an inner voice said look around the next bend. The result was one of my favorite images from the trip.

When you are off the trail, please look around you in all directions even if you have a Garmin or other tracking device. It’s important to know how to get back out, whether or not your tracking device fails.

I frequently leave cairns for myself. In this case I didn’t because I have an excellent memory for features, even individual rocks. When in doubt, please mark your spot so you know how to get back to your car.

Other Zion National Park Articles 

  1. Zion National Park – Subway Trek Part Three – Inside the Subway
  2. Zion National Park – Subway Trek Part Two – The Crack
  3. Zion National Park – Subway Trek Part One – Archangel Falls
  4. Zion National Park Autumn – Great White Throne
  5. Zion National Park – Autumn – Lower Emerald Pools Part 1
  6. Zion National Park – Autumn – Lower Emerald Pools Part 2 (After a Rainfall)
  7. Zion National Park – Autumn – Middle and Upper Emerald Pools
  8. Zion National Park – The Watchman – Autumn
  9. Zion National Park – Autumn – Hiking “The Narrows” Part I
  10. Zion National Park – Autumn – Hiking “The Narrows” Part II
  11. Zion National Park – Autumn – Hiking “The Narrows” Part III


Those interested in my equipment and recommendations can find it here: Mish’s Equipment List.

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Mike “Mish” Shedlock

6 thoughts on “Zion National Park – Autumn – Clear Creek

    1. Thanks
      I recall playing around with crops but decided on uncropped. I like the leaves on the canyon floor and the two large red rocks, both add a sense of scale. I have a very tightly cropped abstract of just the sandstone but discarded it today. Your crop looks OK but it is too tight. It needs negative space,

      One possibility would be to move further to the left but if memory serves I was standing high up on a ledge and there was no further left to go. Alternatively, I did not like what was further to the left. I was at this scene for quite a while and have various compositions but I kept coming back to this one.


  1. Yep, I figured more of the left side didn’t make it to the raw shot for a good reason.

    Speaking of cropping loops (which turn a huge picture of the Grand Canyon in to a thumbnail of a boring pebble), there is always this: 🙂


    Vicarious thrill. For several months I’ve threatened myself with a road trip down Zion, et al, way. The Wave, for instance. Your new picture blog is too satisfying.

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