Upper Antelope Canyon

We saw Horseshoe Bend our first evening in Page, but we stopped in Page to see Upper Antelope Canyon. Flash floods, especially during the monsoon season, carve slot canyons in the pink Navajo sandstone, and the colors are exquisite.

Antelope Canyon is on Navajo land; people who want to see it must go on a tour authorized by the Navajo Nation. Above, people look up to see the sun-lit rock. The tour guides in orange shirts do a great job of managing the flow of many people through the slot canyon so we can all get our photos.

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Horseshoe Bend

We drove most of the day from Mesa Verde, Colorado, to Page, Arizona, where we visited nearby Horseshoe Bend at sunset. We’ll see how the light changed during the golden hour.

At Horseshoe Bend, the Colorado River makes a 270° horseshoe-shaped bend in a 1000-foot-deep canyon carved from pink Navajo sandstone. From the park service, “Notice how the rock itself has diagonal striped layers. These are the remnants of the layers of the ancient massive sand dunes before they were petrified into stone.”

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Milky Way at Mesa Verde

After clouds got in my way at Arches National Park, on each of our two nights at Mesa Verde National Park, I got up in the middle of the night to take pictures of the Milky Way.

Above, on our first night I photographed from the balcony of our south-facing room at the Far View Lodge. At 2:20 am, the Milky Way is more horizontal than vertical. With a 30-second exposure, the glow of distant lights is apparent.

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Sunset at Arches National Park

On our last evening in Moab, we drove to Arches National Park to photograph during the golden hour, our only sunset photos at Arches NP due to the park’s nighttime road closures. We returned to Balanced Rock and the Windows, which have interesting rock formations close to a parking lot.

From our time-tagged photos, we can observe how light changed as the sun set. Above, the sun just before sunset makes the rock glow red.

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Sunrise at North Window

Napping at Balanced Rock after trying for a Milky Way shot, the alarm woke us, and we drove to the Windows, arriving before dawn. The sun would rise on the far side of the Windows, so I had to choose between photographing the rising sun or the far side of the Windows. Photographing several Santorini sunsets last fall, I noticed that photos of the town illuminated by the setting sun were much more interesting than those of the sun sinking into the sea.

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My First Milky Way Photo, Almost

We planned our road trip to take photos of the Milky Way. We would visit three national parks known for dark skies around the new moon. We scouted rock formations to add foreground interest to the Milky Way. Near Moab, Arches National Park has interesting rock formations, but Arches roads were closed weekday nights. Canyonlands NP was open at night, but using canyons to add foreground interest to star photos seemed difficult.

Our first opportunity for open roads at night at Arches NP was early Saturday morning, and we took it. We went to bed early, got up at 2 am, saw stars, and drove to Balanced Rock.

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