Saturday, April 11, 2015
Sometimes You Get What You Need
My photography crazed friends Andy and Pete suggested a shoot where we would only photograph at night and sleep during the day. And we would primarily car camp - each of us sleeping in the back of his own SUV. The one week which seemed to fit our schedules was in February and the target area was eastern Utah. It was necessary to find a week where the moon was less than one half at it's brightest and it would set early enough to give us both some moonlit landscape and some moon free night sky. We didn't quite figure the impact of the very late rise of the thickest part of the Milky Way, which turned out to be around two hours before dawn. For those who like night photography, you know that the night starts fading two hours before sunrise (and doesn't get really dark until 2 hours after sunset.)
We met up in Arches NP and the first night started off well and then became increasingly cloudy. Then there was a major league snowstorm. So much for night sky shooting. We elected to head south because the snowstorm was moving northeast and we figured it would clear there first. We drove to Natural Bridges National Monument where eventually we were the only visitors for a day. When you see no other tire tracks, you know you have the place to yourself. The snowstorm coated the rocks and trees perfectly and we had the opportunity to photograph the high desert scenery in its winter finest. Of course, hiking in the snow was a little challenging and sleeping in the SUV's at 20 degrees wasn't exactly cozy. But the images were awesome, and eventually the storm cleared providing a superb sunrise in the process. We photographed our way back north and eventually got some night shooting as we had envisioned.
In retrospect I was glad for the diversity the snowstorm provided and the fact that it forced us to get some sleep at night.