Thursday, May 26, 2016

Canyonlands May Morning

Sunrise colors over the La Sal Mountains, May 22.
May 22: After two wonderful but too windy nights of camping in the Greater Canyonlands area, it was time to start heading toward home. With all day to do it and only a few hours away, I was rich on time.
Sunrise colors over the southern end of the La Sals.

So rich, in fact, that I found myself reluctant to leave. I was feeling relaxed, rejuvenated and serene. It was time to explore a few more nearby places. 

One stop was the Wine Glass, a fantastic study in sandstone erosion. Since the sun was not yet up, the light was soft and graceful.

The Wine Glass. Stone falling apart creates such beautiful sculptures.
But I continued to keep one eye to the east, toward the La Sal Mountains. Because the clouds over those still-snowy peaks looked to have high potential to reflect the rising sun's colors. 

The sunrise flare begins.
Just before the sun was going to clear the northern end of the La Sal range, it lit up the horizon with what I call a sun flare. In this case, a sunrise flare.

"Sunrise flare" closeup and La Sal Mountains.
The flare lasted so long that I had time to make a high resolution panoramic image from overlapping shots, to better portray the entire scene.

Sunrise flare panorama.
The glorious sunrise colors finally done, the clouds continued to tantalize me. Now absent the red-orange-yellow colors, the sunlight poured down in dazzling slanted sunbeams.

Post-sunrise sunbeams over the La Sal Mountains.
A bit further down the road the sunlight was pouring down almost directly from overtop the mountain peaks. Rather heavenly.

Post-sunrise, early morning sunlight shafts, and high desert trees.

Then it was on to the Needles Overlook. Given the past two days of high winds, there was a lot of dust in the air. Plus some moisture from a rain shower. Which meant quite a bit of haze. Which I minimized in post processing in Adobe Lightroom after the shoot.

Needles Overlook: looking south toward the Six Shooter Peaks and the Abajo Mountains.
Enamored with the scene despite the haze, and because the Indian Creek valley floor was so green in this cool and moist springtime weather, I made a really wide panoramic image.

Needles Overlook panorama, looking south.
I walked up around the bend to check out the view to the west, and the north. It was a different scene: little greenery below. But in the foreground, a wonderfully green, gnarled Utah Juniper tree, as if showing off amid the red and brown rockscape.

Needles Overlook, looking north.
Photo location: southeast Utah, near Canyonlands National Park.

© Copyright 2016 Stephen J. Krieg