Look to the desert for strong photos
Vail CO, Colorado
MOAB, Utah ” The snow is leaving, but the wildflowers are still months away. Consider a weekend trip to the desert for a chance to make some great images. Wildflowers abide in the desert around Moab from mid-April through May. Just don’t expect the same blooms you find here in the mountains. The desert is a sparse place, and you will have to look carefully to find flowers like this desert primrose, but when you do, your reward will be some gorgeous wildflower images.
For best results, follow these suggestions:
– Call ahead to find the best spots for wildflowers. Moab Ranger District 435-259-7155, Arches National Park 435-719-2299, or Canyonlands National Park 435-719-2313.
– Photograph at sunrise. The heat will cause flowers to close up in the afternoon.
– Use a tripod and get low. Getting down near ground level will give you more interesting composition. A tripod will allow you to carefully evaluate the edges of the frame.
– Wear sunscreen and dress appropriately. Much like here in the mountains, the dry air causes a warm day to quickly change into a very cold night. Be prepared for changing weather.
– Watch your step! Crypto biotic soil crusts abound in the desert. Plant life depends on these crusts for survival. It’s important to stay on established trails, in sandy washes, or on slickrock to keep from stepping on this crust.
– Travelling in the early morning will provide the best light, and the best possibility of finding flowers, but don’t stop there. Moab offers excellent opportunities for landscape and action photography. Take your camera on a mid-day bike ride along the easier (by Moab standards) Bar-M trail. Have a late lunch at Eddie McStiff’s, and then drive to the Delicate Arch trailhead, in Arches National Park. Make sure to get to the trailhead at least two hours before sunset and hike the moderate trail 1.5 miles to Delicate Arch for some great sunset photography. Make sure to bring a jacket and a good flashlight because you will be hiking down in the dark
Timothy Faust is an award-winning photojournalist living in Breckenridge. His work can be seen at http://www.timothyfaust.com.