Whats makes these canyon walls glow? This is a perfect example of reflected light. The shot was taken on a bright, sunny day. Direct sunlight bounced from the wall of the canyon just around the bend. The glowing walls were lit indirectly with that bouncing sunlight. Notice that Jay chose to frame the photograph so that no part of the photo was lit directly by the harsh sunlight. The reflected light is much more even, so there are no blinding blown highlights. You can even see some subtle detail in the dark shadows deep in the canyon – and in the cracks in the foreground.
We use reflected light all the time – not just to capture reflections on water, but also to bring out colors and details in scenes like this one. Shooting at mid-day doesn’t have to be taboo – just watch for lighting situations like these. Pay close attention to the light no matter where you are, and try to frame your image so that harsh light is eliminated.