Friday, March 25, 2011

Monument Basin

Let's make it a trifecta of posts from Grand View Point! Such a neat area that these images have only touched on how scenic it is and only hint at the opportunity for photographers.

Here is the area around the Colorado River canyons known as Monument Basin.

Grand View sits some 1400' above the flat area known as the White Rim. If you look around the edge of the basin you can see where that name comes from. From the White Rim the drop is several hundred more feet into the depths carved by the Colorado River.

The top image takes in the whole of Monument Basin and you can see the pillars and buttes that make it a different kind of landscape.

The second image is also of the basin on a rainy day but in this one you can actually make out the mighty Colorado with just a glimpse of its waters.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Overlooking Grand View Point

More images from the tip of Grand View Point. Like I posted last week, I find the very end of Grand View Point to be one of the finest locations to photograph in any national park.

The sunset image here was what I was treated to on my first night at the park and it really shows all the grand qualities for why this place is named Grand View.

Looking across the gap toward Junction Butte and then beyond over the Green River canyons and the distant Henry Mountains is a true grand experience.

It was one I tried to capture several times during the trip. Six times to be precise-four sunsets and two sunrises.

I was treated to three good sunsets-this probably being the best -and one blizzard with near white out conditions.

My sunrises were one mostly clear and one total overcast and raining.

The second image is from the clear morning looking across the Green River canyons in the cool predawn light.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Grand View Point

Canyonlands is one of two national parks that are near Moab, Utah. The closest to town, the more famous, and the much more highly visited is Arches National Park. I say let the crowds go to Arches, as I think Canyonlands is by far the better park.

Don't get me wrong, Arches is neat, but Canyonlands is incredible.

When I got to the Moab area last month I hightailed it to the Island in the Sky unit of Canyonlands and set up my tent in the Willow Flat Campground there. That gave me a base that was within 6 miles of several amazing sights and locations I wanted to photograph. None of which was more high on my list than Grand View Point.

This is an amazing place at the very tip of the mesa that makes up Island in the Sky. It overlooks the canyons where the confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers meet (although you cannot actually see that).

The view from the tip is some 270 degrees. It takes in both the canyons of the Colorado River as well as the canyons along the Green River. There is a view to the distant Henry Mountains in the west, the Abajo Mountains in the south, and the La Sal Mountains to the east. It is a location good at both sunrise and sunset. In ten sunrises and sunsets in Canyonlands, I was here six times.

It is that good!
Here are a few images to give you an idea of what the view is like. All three of these are sunsets, although they are on different days.

The top view if from the very tip of the Island overlooking Junction Butte at sunset. This was the sunset I got the day I arrived in the park. Leaving Tucumcari at 3:30am paid off!!

The middle image is the view east over the Colorado River Canyons and what is known as Monument Basin.

The bottom image is the view west over the Green River.

Each direction offers something different and I could not wait for more!!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

New Mexico Morning

Whenever I travel I try to plan it so I can photograph not only my destination but also places along the way. Last week I was in Canyonlands National Park. No matter how you slice it Moab, Utah is a two day drive for me. I left in the afternoon and made it to Tucumcari-like the billboards say-Tucumcari Tonight!

Being an early riser I figured I could be past Albuquerque by sunrise and as long as I did not miss any left turns there I should be in the open country on US 550 in the early morning (or Pismo Beach).

Sure enough, I did not miss any of those left turns and I was on 550 as the sun came up. It was a fantastic morning I had to make a couple of stops for images. Every time I see a view like this I understand why New Mexico is the Land of Enchantment.

That early start would not only get to to a neat area for sunrise, it also guaranteed that I would be in Canyonlands for sunset. So in addition to getting a sunrise location I was also set for a good sunset too.

Now that is how to start a trip!

Note-I wonder if anyone gets the left turn/Pismo Beach reference? :-)