Toadstool Hoodoo
This photograph would look great printed large on canvas, metal or acrylic. It would work well in a living room above a fireplace or a dining room table. It would also work well in a gaming area or lounge. It would also give a great pop of interest to any office or business.

Toadstool Hoodoo

Red Sky at night Toadstool’s delight – Photograph by Matt Halvorson

Trip advice: If you go I do ask one thing, please stay off the hoodoos. They are soft rocks which means they erode more easily than normal rocks. There is one hoodoo that has even been flattened in this area by too many people climbing it. The hoodoo is now just a mound. Keep it nice for your kid’s grand kids. Also it can be hot or cold depending on the time of year you go. Please bring water and the correct clothing. Watch out for rattle snakes during the warmer times of year.
Now that I have giving my advice on with the trip.

My wife and I spent a week exploring southern Utah for our anniversary. We found this easy hike called Toadstool Hoodoos just off Hwy. 89.The hike in was very easy and short but the hike isn’t really close to anything do you have to drive a few minutes to get there which is a good thing, or it would be overrun by people. Gaia GPS has become a real favorite for me to find new locations and record my tracks. It integrates with my truck’s mapping system so I can have topo maps with off road trails to follow and make sure I am going where I want. This hike can be found and done without any mapping software but it is fun for a tech junkie like myself.

Toadstool’s Castle Wall

The above shot is from the cliff/wall at the start of the trailhead. I actually shot this on my way back to the car. I used the corner of the cliff as my line to draw you into the image. I liked the little puffs of plants at the bottom because they helped shot the size and give perspective. I didn’t do much in post except lighten up the sky because at this point the sky was dark and the foreground was lighter. I did add a slight vignette to draw out the corner more.

The First shot from this post is the first and biggest of the hoodoos you come across. For this shot above I wanted the toadstool to stand out against the sky in hopes of bringing more attention to it. I shot from a lower angle for that reason. I also wanted to make a natural line for the viewers eyes to follow so I used the C shape of the rock formation in the foreground. I had to make a compromise with the angle because too low and I lost the C shape and too high I pushed the toadstool down in the horizon. I hope you enjoy the shot. I got lucky with the sky. It was very cloudy at sunset and the sky started turning a little red. I decided I liked the idea of a red sky so I underexposed the image by a few stops. Once in Lightroom I masked the foreground and added some light until it was close to the brightness of the sky. I then added some de-haze to add contrast bring out the textures in the clouds. I then turned down the saturation on the foreground mask because it made the rocks look unnatural. I finished it off by sharpening and removing noise. I exported the image as a jpeg from LR and used Affinity Photo to add my signature to it. As I mentioned the above image is the first one you come across. It is at the center of the T in my trail log below.

Map of my tip. See and download the trip on Gaia

While you are there be sure the take the trail to the far left (west side) to view the cliffs and hills. I suggest walking over and enjoying the view for a while. It reminded me of the Painted Desert. As the sun moves across the sky the colors shift and give a new look every hour. An image below will shot the view from the right side (east) but the west view is just as good. This next image is of some smaller hoodoos just above the big hoodoo. They are center of my trail but at the top.

Toadstool Family – By Matt Halvorson

This shot was less planned than the first and it probably shows. I wanted a shot looking like a family of hoodoos hiking. As with any family there is always one who wonders away from the group like the little guy on the left. That was me as a kid always wanting to find something everyone waled past. The set up wasn’t much different from the first shot above. I used the crack in the rocks as a line to draw the viewer into the center of the image. I shot lower to make them look bigger and My processing in Lightroom was the same.

Toadstool Hoodoos East Side – By Matt Halvorson

If you walk to the far right of the trail you will come to an overlook that I took the above photo. I though this looked much like the Painted Desert in Arizona. I loved the colors, contrasts, and of course the sky was working working with me. Not much to frame here except to show the side-lit hiss in the distance and some of the valleys below. Standard rule of thirds and a tripod to get a nice sharp image. The processing was about the same as the others. I didn’t underexpose this image this as much because there wasn’t as much red I could pull out. Instead I probably only underexposed this by a stop to keep from blowing out the sky too much. In LR I boosted the shadows and added de-haze to bring back some contrast and textures. Same sharpening, noise removal and signature process.

Toadstool’s Fingers – By Matt Halvorson

The above image was taken as the evening was starting to get darker. This is from the far right (east side) looking south west. I timed this shot with some moving clouds to light up the trail across this hill. The sun was at the horizon at this point so angel of light was low and focused. I exposed for the white rocks the sun was hitting to keep the detail there. This made the sky and background go very dark in comparison. I decided I liked this look so I post I added some vignetting and left the background dark.

Matt Halvorson

I am a photographer that covers all photography from portraits to landscape to real estate and even abstract photography.

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