Monday, April 8, 2013


There was some high clouds this morning, but it did not deter us from going for sunrise light at Mesa Arch. En route we stopped at Shafer Canyon overlook for the actual sunrise. It was muted due to a cloud bank along the horizon. It turns out that it is not necessary to be at Mesa Arch for the actual sunrise, as what you are going for is the golden glow on the underside of the arch which is dependent on the sun reflecting off the rock wall below the arch, not on the actual sunrise. The glow continues well into the morning, and we had fun playing the angles for about two hours after the bus load of Japanese photographers had left.

We enjoyed our time there and had our group photograph taken before we left with Mesa Arch in the background. We drove back into town after a stop at the Visitor Center for the Island District of Canyonlands. Breakfast was at the Eclectic Cafe in town. It was the best breakfast to date. We dined outside on the patio.

In the afternoon we regrouped at 1530 to decide our plan of attack for the afternoon. It was a fairly thick layer of clouds so the hike to Delicate Arch was postponed for another day. It was decided to drive to the Needles District of Canyonlands to see the formations there including Elephant Rock, and the formations that gave the district it's Name. It was about an hour and a half drive. Once at the end of the road, we were also able to see some serious four wheelers driving down the Elephant Trail. This road is gnarly to say the least. We had some time to photograph some of the geology in the area as well before heading back to Moab.

Dinner tonight was the special dinner of the week at the Sunset Grill. The restaurant was the original home of John Steen who was the "King of Uranium" after he discovered and established the largest uranium mine in the U.S.A,  just outside of Moab. He became a multimillionaire as a result. Times changed and he ended up a pauper,  The house, now restaurant, sits up on a hill overlooking the town of Moab with a lovely sunset view. The dinner was excellent on all counts, from appetizers to dessert. Lin and I shared a prime rib cut of beef which was juicy, delicious, and very tender.

The plan for tomorrow of course depends on the clouds and sky. We are hoping to return to the Windows and Turret Arch area so that the other half of the group is able to shoot there with good light. A second choice is in Arches as well, and is the Wall Street area I believe. Anyway, again it will be a 0545 departure time from the houses.

Overall it was a good day today though again there was a lot of driving. The weather as usual is a factor in photography and most of the time works well as we can generally seize upon an opportunity. Here the weather has been iffy, and not provided lighting conditions in our favor for a trek out to Delicate Arch. All we can do now, is wait for the best that is provided to us.

Sunrise at Shafer Canyon Overlook - two versions:

Looking Down The Wall
Mesa Arch:

Mighty Stick

Budding Cottonwood Tree

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