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Most visitors to Moab, Utah head to the two national parks, Arches and Canyonlands or Dead Horse State Park. Fortunately for landscape photographers, there is much, much more to this area. Castle Valley and Fisher Towers to the northeast, Behind the Rocks to the south and Marlboro Point between Canyonlands and Dead Horse Point are some of the many interesting locations to visit and photograph. Leaving Canyonlands, I decided to explore the area between the entrance to the Island in the Sky District and US Route 191.
From one spot I spied two buttes in the distance and decided to get closer. From a small parking lot past the Navajo Rocks, it was only a few hundred meters to the spot where I photographed these mesas. I was surprised to learn that they were named the Monitor and Merrimac after the two iron clad ships that fought each other to a draw in the first naval battle between such vessels during the US Civil War.
Because this spot was an impromptu discovery for me, I didn’t have much time to reach a suitable position where I could combine the mesas, the developing sunset and an interesting foreground. Luckily for me, I found it just as the mesas were lit by the setting sun and the clouds began to acquire the warm tones of sunset. I very much enjoyed the transition from the yellow at the horizon to the blues above as well as the dramatic western sky.
I have visited the Moab area twice in fall, when the temperatures are moderate, and beautiful sunrises and sunsets occur frequently. I hope to return in winter, where in addition to fewer visitors and lower lodging costs, the addition of light snow to the sandstone should provide plenty of photographic opportunities.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor