This is a shot from the “House on Fire” Ruins in Mule Canyon in Utah. The sun was high in the sky when we arrived, but the ruins are in shade under a shelf of rock. The stone structures are incredible all by themselves, but when the harsh mid-day light reflects off the sandstone at your feet, it makes the ceiling glow with a brilliant light. That’s what we were after. And we got it.
We’ve seen this effect in countless canyons. The light bounces off one wall onto another, and the reflected light makes the canyon glow. Here, though, the unusual patterns on the ceiling add a whole different dimension to the photo.
I used a wide-angle lens to get as much of the ceiling in the shot as possible. The lens adds a bit of distortion – which also adds some depth to the image. For this shot, I turned the camera at an angle to remove the foreground rocks and help simplify the photo. Post-processing was minimal. I used the default “shade” white balance in Photoshop – and brightened up the ruins by about a third of a stop. I left the “flames” alone.
Who’s been here? I found out this morning (too late) that there are hand-prints in an alcove nearby! I was in that alcove, but didn’t see them. Darn! I guess I’ll just have to go back! Anyway – if you haven’t been, it’s an easy hike and worth a trip. Definitely!