May 15, 2017
Moab and Vicinity
- If flying, landing in Grand
Junction is a consideration. It’s about at 110 mile 2 ¼ to Moab via
scenic route 128.
- Along the way you can stop at
Fisher Towers – site of several John Wayne/John Ford movies. Drive
by photo-ops or take a short hike.
- About an hour outside of Moab is
Dead Horse Pt State Park. It has a drive to a dramatic overlook of
the Colorado River Vista where the river does a 180 hairpin
turn. Best shooting time is just be before sunrise or late in
the day. Definitely take some wide angle
- Main Rd through Arches takes you
to most of the iconic locations
- Park Avenue, Courthouse Towers,
Petrified Dunes, Balanced Rock, Garden of Eden, The Windows, Turret
Arch, and Fiery Furnace, among others.
- Since shooting near the car,
take any equipment you wish.
- Generally, better shooting times
are early or late in the day or with nice blue skies with good
Arches off the Beaten
- A really nice hike is the Devils
Garden Trail and Dark Angel Extension
- You see a number of arches that
are not otherwise accessible including Landscape Arch (longest in
world), Partition Arch, Navajo Arch, Double O Arch, and of course,
the Dark Angel monolith. You can walk over a series of fins which
is cool.The trail is sandy, rocky in places, and can be hot.
Take water and snacks. There is not a lot of elevation change
for the 7 1/2 mile hike.
- The trail begins at the end of
the park road at the Devils Garden Trail Head.
Arches Night Shooting
- For those interested Milky Way
and Star backgrounds:
- Balanced Rock
- North Window
- Turret Arch
- General settings with a wide
fast prime lens like a 20 or 24mm F1.8. ISO about 2500.
Exposure about 1/25 or 1/20 to stars streaking. Tripod is a
- If no moonlight, consider light
- After night shooting, a sunrise
- Turret Arch through the North
- Need a head lamp or flash
- Small tripod helpful, be ready
because light changes quickly. Could boost the ISO and shot hand
held as an alternative.
Arches - Delicate Arch
- Catches best light before sunset
in the Winter and early Spring, later in the year, deep shadows on
the arch take away from the scene
- View of the Arch bathed in warm
light with the La Sal mountains in the background
- Arrive early enough to claim
prime spot on the ledge
- The 1 1/2 mile trail (one way)
begins at Wolf Ranch just about 1 mile drive off the main park
- A moderate zoom in the 24-70,
24-120 range works well to capture the vista
- Begin the walk about 1 ½ to 2
hrs before sunset. Absolutely have a wide beam flash light for the
Canyonlands – 3 large sections;
Island in the Sky, Needles, and the Maze. Very primitive
areas, minimal facilities, Maze requires 4WD
- Island in the Sky – two
drive to photo-ops
- Awesome sunrise shot. The
underside of the arch can look ablaze as it captures morning light
reflecting off of the 500ft nearly vertical cliff face below.
The view through the arch into Bucks Canyon is awesome.
- Good idea to scope out the
roughly ½ mile walk from the parking area in daylight in advance of
the shoot. Plan to arrive at least ½ hour before first dawn light
since the shooting area can be crowed. This means you will
park when it’s dark and walk the trail in the dark.
- A wide angle lens and tripod are
- From Moab it’s about a 50 minute
(40 mi) drive via 191 N, 313 W, and Grand View Point
- Close to Mesa
- Continue east on the park road
to the Green River Overlook. Laurents suggests this as an afternoon
shot. I don’t see why you can’t combine this with your
scouting for the Mesa Arch shot. Further east on the park
road to the Upheaval Dome trail head. The trail is relatively
short with two viewpoints. You can take these in after the
Mesa Arch sunrise.
- Needles District –
Chesler Park Hike
- Starting at Elephant Hill you
can do a ½ day (5 mile) or full day (11 mile) hike through and
along the spires. Again take water, snacks, and consider a 24-70 or
24-120 zoom to keep the backpack reasonable.
are copyright Bill Naiman. Please respect his