Monday, May 14, 2012

Moab - Sunrises and Sunsets

The beauty of the Moab area is all about the rock.  Although it takes numerous shapes and sizes, it is consistently the orange/red color that makes it special.  In the middle of a sunny day, the rock is so reflective that it almost appears white.  On a cloudy day, it seems to be a dark, burnt red. However, catch it in the very first or last light of the day and you get a real treat. 

This picture is taken in Arches National Park.  You are looking through North Window at Turret Arch.  Sunrise in May is about 6:15, which means dragging out of bed around 5:15 to get to the park in time.
We were lucky to have a full moon while we were in Moab.  Not just any moon, but a Super Moon, when it is supposed to appear larger than normal.  Taking photos of the moon is always a bugger because the moon is so much brighter than everything else.  Expose for the moon and everything else is a black shadow.  Expose for anything else, and the moon is an over-exposed white blob.

This trip I tried to get my photos the day before the full moon.  It's not quite as large, but because it rises about an hour later each day, you can get about an hour overlap of the moon rising and the sun setting, solving some of the differences in lighting.

This isn't a great photo, but I am beginning to get the techniques and timing down so that now I just need to find the right place at the right moon for a great shot.
I was heading back to the parking lot, glanced over my shoulder and saw this.  Decided it was worth a photo. Probably would have been better than the picture above if I caught the moon as it popped up.
Still, walking back to the parking lot when I noticed that the sky was looking better.  Of course, I took this about 50 feet past the point where I startled the rattlesnake.  At least he was kind enough to buzz from his spot in the bushes, about 18 inches off the path.
I posted this earlier in the week, but it's one of my favorites.  The entire sky was dark and cloudy, with no interesting light, except right behind Balanced Rock.  The trick was getting a good shot without my tripod blowing over.
Julie and I hiked up to Delicate Arch for a sunset.  It was pretty, but I have seen much better in a lot of photos.  In May, the mountains behind the arch are normally snow capped.  This years sparse snow is showing.  The one lonely cloud just refused to have any colors other than white, and then dark grey. If you haven't seen it, this is the arch that is on the Utah license plates.
I was in the Courthouse area of Arches for sunrise. The big full moon was days old, somewhere in its waning gibbous phase, but it was still pretty to see the sun come up as the moon set.
This was the first night we got a lot of color in the sky.  I have mentioned this before on the blog, but when I first started photography I had the impression that nothing beat a day with clear blue skies.  Now those are down at the bottom of my list.  Almost anything but rain is better.
These formations are all over 75 feet tall.  I love how they stand out so well in the open desert.
Several lessons from my photography symposium:
  • Keep it very, very simple. Less confusion. Less distraction in the photo.
  • Pay more attention to the foreground and background.
  • Be there for every sunrise and sunset.
I was trying to practice those things and make them habit.  I love these tangled old Juniper trees.  This one must be 100 years old.
The Colorado river is an ugly green, probably from all the fertilizer and nutrients that leach into it every day.  However, catch it on a calm morning with no sun on the river, but bright sun on the cliffs behind, and you get some spectacular reflections.
... and one more.
Tomorrow we will look at flowers, mostly the blooming cacti in the desert.
Post a Comment