La Sal Mountains, Evening

La Sal Mountains, Evening - Sunset light on sandstone towers of Arches National Park and on the distant La Sal Mountains, Utah
Sunset light on sandstone towers of Arches National Park and on the distant La Sal Mountains, Utah

La Sal Mountains, Evening. Arches National Park, Utah. October 11, 2012. © Copyright 2012 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Sunset light on sandstone towers of Arches National Park and on the distant La Sal Mountains, Utah

I was hoping to get up into the La Sal Mountains, in the Moab/Arches area, during this visit to Utah, but it didn’t quite happen. We had seen some aspen groves high on their slopes and thought they could make a good photographic subject, but we were twice stymied – well, once stymied and once we guessed wrong. The wrong guess came first. As we approached Moab late in the day from the south, we though we would turn off the main highway before reaching town and drive up there. However, a sign warning of construction and a road closure dissuaded us, so we turned around and continued to Moab. Later, thinking that if it was closed from the first route (and actually, it wasn’t) then there must be access from the alternative, we drove up the Colorado River Canyon and turned off to head up that way… only to encounter road construction! We could perhaps have continued on, but it was late in the day and we had not calculated this delay when guessing how long it might take to get up to the trees.

So, in the end, our views of the La Sal Mountains were from greater distances – from high on the plateau of Canyonlands National Park and from Arches National Park. On the day I made this photograph, the light had been “interesting” – a combination of blah, clouded-over light, with occasional bursts of beautiful light coming through breaks in the clouds. We had been out on the ridge near the end of the main park road and had really enjoyed those moments of wonderful light, but late in the day it looked like the breaks would end there, but that they might continue over near the section of the park where this photo was made. So we quickly got in the car and headed over that way. When we arrived, things did not look so promising. The large clouds that had begun to block the light earlier were also affecting this area. But there we were, and there wasn’t time to try to get to another location before the end of the day, so we headed up into this rocky area to see what might develop. From here, the La Sals were largely clear, with more sun than shadow on the face of the mountains. Even though there were clouds overhead at our position, they were increasingly broken as they led toward the mountains. Now all I needed was some evening light on the foreground rocks and I might have a photograph. I got my wish, with just a few brief moments of somewhat attenuated golden hour light on the rocks as the more intense light fell on the distant range.

G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer whose subjects include the Pacific coast, redwood forests, central California oak/grasslands, the Sierra Nevada, California deserts, urban landscapes, night photography, and more.
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Text, photographs, and other media are © Copyright G Dan Mitchell (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from G Dan Mitchell.

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