Sunday, May 22, 2016

May Moonrise, La Sal Mountains from Canyonlands

Moonrise and La Sal Mountains, southeast Utah.
For the May 2016 Full Moon I was in the Canyonlands Basin in southeast Utah. 

The particular spot I was exploring has an unobstructed view of the La Sal mountain range to the east. However, this late in the year the moon rises to the south of the mountains rather than over them like it does during the winter months. So it wouldn't make for killer moonrise over the mountain peaks shots.

The clouds -- the variable of prime importance -- had been questionable for most of the day. At first they were an awful high hazy mess, neither blue sky nor overcast. But as the day wore on the thin high clouds moved on east, and were replaced by a nice mix of cumulus clouds and blue sky. So maybe things would work out, at least as far as sunset colors.

Mount Tukunikivats in the La Sal Range, under hazy afternoon light.
Being in the Canyonlands region, there is always much more to see than just the sky. And since one can't control the weather, one takes what is offered. It's all good here.

The La Sal Mountain Range in afternoon shadow.

The Colorado River south of Moab, Utah under sunbeam overcast skies.

Looking down onto the Kane Creek Anticline at dusk.
As sunset approached, there was even a slight threat of rain to the north. I had been hoping for a last minute breakthrough in the clouds on the western horizon to create some shafts of golden sunlight streaking low across the northern landscape at the last minute. Maybe even an alpenglow event lighting up the snowy peaks of the La Sals in a nice rose hue. It didn't happen, though I was ready. You have to be out there. 

Pre-sunset golden sunbeams to the west.
Toward the east, though, it was partially clear. As the light faded to blue twilight, the Full Moon made its appearance over the gently sloping southern flanks of the La Sals. 

Moonrise over the southern flanks of the La Sals.

 It was a remarkable scene in person. However, any zoomed in shots of the rising moon would seem not at all representative of the total scenery. So I made overlapping shots horizontally to be merged into a high resolution panoramic image.

Two shot panorama of the moonrise and southernmost peaks.
Three shot wide angle panorama: the moon appears smaller, but the overall scene is better represented.
After the last twilight was gone and the brightness of the Full Moon had taken over, it was time to walk back down to camp and enjoy the early night from there.

© Copyright 2016 Stephen J. Krieg