Lake Powell was a location that I scouted digital from Google maps, 500px, and over photo-sharing services prior to our trip. I was looking location that would offer wide vistas and the possibility of epic sunrise.
Morning landscape photography sessions are my favorite. The world is new and fresh. Every morning brings new possibilities with it. Don’t get me wrong there are challenges with photographing landscapes first thing in the morning. These challenges increased by not knowing the area that you are going to photograph. Before I set out on a morning of landscape photography I research my intended location, the weather, the direction of the sunrise, and the time that it will take to take to the location. The night before I make sure that everything has been charged and packed away. The last thing that I want when heading a location in the dark is to have to pack away my gear in a rushed state.
Sunrise Over Lake Powell
I arrived at the Lake Powell overlook just prior to morning blue hour. The sky was just starting to show the slightest signs of a rising sun. As I dawned my pack I started scanning the eastern horizon looking a foreground interest and sweeping vista that would help me build composition for the rising sun. The best that I could hopeful were the buttes off in the distance across Lake Powell from I was located. The problem that I saw was the low and mid-level clouds that were blocking the eastern sky passed the buttes. I was really hoping for more breaks in the clouds or high-level clouds that would have produced the epic light that we all search for. Alas, it was not meant to be that morning. I made this photograph with Nikon D600 at ISO 100, 70mm, f16, and 1/4 of a second.
Water and Rocks – Lake Powell
For my second composition of the morning, I turned my camera north across the lake to a rock feature that had caught my eye as I was pulling into the lot. By now the sun was rising just above the eastern buttes and casting sidelight on the rock walls to the north. I loved the way that rock textures looked in that light. The scene looked otherworldly to me on that cool morning in the desert. The water from Lake Powell looks so out of place next to that dry aired rock wall. I made this photograph with my Nikon D600 at ISO 100, 210mm, f16, and 1/20 of a second.
Lone Island – Lake Powell
Anyone who knows me knows that I love making photographs with reflections. So, it should be no shock that I would be drawn to photographing an island in still lake. I made this photograph with my Nikon D600 at ISO 100, 300mm, f16, and 1/6 of a second.
Vermilion Cliffs National Monument from Wahweap Overlook
Sometimes the only way to photograph a grand landscape is to take it all in. This not only requires light but the ability to capture the scene at the best time of day for where it lives. The only thing that is missing from this grand vista great sense of scale. There is a small two-lane road cutting through my composition. It may be the only indication of size and distance in this photograph. I made this photograph by stitching together multiple exposures from my Nikon D600 at ISO 100, 300mm, f16, and 1/6 of a second.
Wahweap Wilderness Area
The Wahweap wilderness study area is part of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. From the overlook located near lake Powell, you can see the dry escarpments and benches to the north. The sheer walls of the canyon beckon you to come and explore them. I made this photograph by stitching together multiple exposures from my Nikon D600 at ISO 100, 155mm, f11, and 1/320 of a second
Thanks for reading this long article. If you would love to see some video of this beautiful area head on over to my YouTube channel. You’ll also get to see me struggle in the field on that beautiful morning.