Fall Has Come to Moab

I must admit I’ve been a little lax in keeping the Blog up to date. The fact that I’ve been extremely busy the past few months may have had something to do with it. The late summer ‘monsoon season’ came and went, giving us some awesome thunderstorms and incredible skies. Unfortunately, it also rained or clouded-out a few sessions. But, such is life when you have those spectacular clouds. I developed a simple technique for capturing daytime lightning with some degree of success (10 frames with lightning in 30 attempts — not bad), and we got some fantastic sunset-with-lightning photos for my photographers.

Temperatures have cooled off to the 70’s-80’s now, and we’ve had some snow on the La Sal Mountain tops. With the monsoon rains came a fall wildflower bloom, which is still going on. The Moonflowers (Sacred Datura), Purple Asters, Pallid Evening Primrose, and the Prairie Sunflower have all been blooming well. Some of the Cliffroses are also making a small fall bloom, as are some of the Prince’s Plumes. The bright yellow Rabbit Brush is also blooming along all the roadsides.

I haven’t seen any of the colorful Collared Lizards in the past few weeks, so I think the lower night-time temps are putting them down for the season. Watch for them next April or May. The Pronghorn antelope are going into the rut now, and the bucks are herding their harems of does around now, and we’ve gotten some good shots of them lately. Hopefully the Desert Bighorn Sheep will start moving around more now as well. They have been pretty scarce this summer.

I need to put in a plug for coming to Moab to photograph in the late fall and winter. The low-angle winter light actually makes for the best photographic light around here all year. Also, many of the iconic Moab shots, i.e., Delicate Arch, Turret Arch throught the North Window, and Mesa Arch, photograph much better in the winter half of the year. The sun’s angle in the summer produces some unwanted shadows in some of these shots, and these disappear after the fall equinox. Couple this better light with much smaller crowds after Thanksgiving, half-price motels, and the sun rising after breakfast and setting before dinner, and you have perfect photo conditions in Moab. Our winters are generally sunny and mild, with the average daytime high in December/January of 48 degrees, so it’s possible to shoot here in the winter without freezing parts of your anatomy off. Having said that, the occasional little dumping of snow on the red rocks that we get here sometimes makes for some really beautiful and not-often-photographed scenes. And you often have them all to yourself. I’ve actually been to Delicate Arch at sunset, and Mesa Arch at sunrise, in the winter, with no one else there. Try to pull that one off anytime during the rest of the year. Just something to think about.