Colorado River, Dead Horse Point

Colorado River, Dead Horse Point
Colorado River, Dead Horse Point

Colorado River, Dead Horse Point. Deadhorse Point State Park, Utah. October 10, 2012. © Copyright 2013 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

The canyon of the Colorado River, from Dead Horse Point State Park, Utah

The light was a bit tricky when we drove out to Dead Horse Point to look at the famous view of the Colorado River as it loops below huge cliffs at the edge of Canyonlands National Park in Utah. It was nearing the middle of the day, so the soft morning and evening light was nowhere to be found. It was also hazy, with the slightly opaque air taking on distinctly blue colors. For all of these reasons, and also perhaps as a nod to old school landscape photography, I went with a black and white rendition of this photograph.

This is a truly remarkable bit of terrain. First, in the bottom of the canyon the Colorado River negotiates and abrupt horseshoe bend here beneath the tall cliffs leading up to the “Island in the Sky” portion of Canyonlands National Park. Above the river are a series of huge terraces form as the river eroded its way though the deep and old layers of sedimentary rock that characterize this area. Shooting with a slightly long focal length, I was able to eliminate most extraneous subjects and crop tightly around this area of massive cliffs and terraces.

G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist 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.

2 thoughts on “Colorado River, Dead Horse Point”

  1. Hi Dan, I like your hat. I am a De Anza Alum. I like what you did with this photo. I was there on Oct 19 and had the same issues with the haze and no clouds. Being inspired by your photo, I think I will try converting one of mine to black and white. Thank you for the great idea.

    1. Hey, glad you like the hat! (At one point I thought of photoshopping the DA logo out of it, but then decided to leave it alone.)

      Daytime haze in places like this creates a real challenge in more ways than one. Not only does the haze obstruct the view (which can be a good thing in some cases, where it produces a lovely muted effect) but it also tends to make things very blue, shifting colors in directions that don’t look wonderful when the subject is this sandstone.

      I had a similar situation just last week when shooting at Point Reyes, and when I made the photographs I was already “seeing in black and white.”


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