Thursday, February 5, 2015

Moonrise, La Sal Mountains, Utah

La Sal Mountains, and...the moon

Time for another Full Moon. This time, in the high desert country of southeast Utah. 

Between Monticello and Moab is a lightly visited side road called the Anticline Overlook road. There are many more cows and pronghorn (antelope) than people. No power lines ruining the view. Nothing. Perfect. 

The La Sals in late afternoon, with the red rocks.
It was the evening before the official Full Moon on the calendar, which is usually the best day of the month for landscape photography shots of the almost full disc rising above the eastern horizon while it's still light. 

We were there, ready. Even had time for a side trip to the Anticline Overlook beforehand. 

I'd picked this spot because of the prime views of the La Sal mountain range to the east. The one that you see in all the photos of Moab and Arches National Park, towering over everything. It's a small but very photogenic cluster of peaks. And when you have the full moon rising above them, it doesn't get much better. Probably not any better, really.

Having once again used The Photographer's Ephemeris on my computer to determine the time and, just as importantly, the azimuth (compass direction) that the moon would rise that evening, I was set. Pretty much. Because those mountains in the way would block the moon for a while. And it doesn't rise straight up, like an elevator. After all, it has to arc across the southern sky and set in the morning in the west. So by the time it clears the mountains it will be somewhat southeast of where it initially "rose". 

Don't you hate that technical stuff? Even when it's useful? You just want to wing it. Not a bad idea. 

But I used it, and it worked out very well. So there. One for the geek side of me. Which allowed me to turn to the artistic side and shoot away at a very awesome scene. 
The moon first appears, 5:18 PM.
Photo location: San Juan and Grand Counties, southeast Utah.

© 2015 Stephen J. Krieg.