Monsoon Evening, Bears Ears Buttes


Sunset through rain curtain, Mossback Butte. Natural Bridges is on the valley floor at lower right; Navajo Mountain in far distance, upper left.


Lightning and rain at dusk, from Bears Ears Buttes, Utah.

Near Natural Bridges National Monument in southeast Utah are the Bears Ears Buttes on the Manti-La Sal National Forest. On a recent excursion there I drove up Elk Ridge Road to check out the view.

As soon as I got up there a thunderstorm enveloped me, so I staying in my vehicle and listened to the radio while enjoying the spectacle. Too dangerous to get out with lightning so near me.

Afterward I enjoyed watching the rain continue down onto Natural Bridges far below, with Mossback Butte in the distance and Navajo Mountain on the far horizon. The low light of dusk even allowed for long exposures on tripod that caught these lightning strikes.

Aspen Colors, Kaibab National Forest

Autumn continues its slow but gradual progression up on the Kaibab Plateau on the northern Arizona Strip. Warm, shortening days along with cool nights still free of frost or an early snow are doing the job. Those conditions tell the aspen trees that there is no hurry to drop leaves. A gradual lessening of the green chlorophyll in their leaves reveals the other colors, especially yellow and gold, sometimes orange and red.

I was slowly cruising through the Kaibab National Forest between Jacob Lake and the North Rim of Grand Canyon, looking for the earliest colors. In the morning light I was able to get close to some lower branches with outstanding colors. The Still green foliage of the other trees behind it served as a rich background to contrast with, along with the clear blue sky.

Autumn gold, blue skies, warm sunlight, chilly nights. The best time of year.

Aspen leaves in morning sun, northern Arizona.


Aspen leaves in morning sun, northern Arizona.

Fall Colors Have Begun: Kaibab Plateau

September on the Kaibab Plateau. The second best month of the year, because it’s autumn now. The best month? October, of course.

This time I’m getting to watch the entire unfolding of the fall colors, from start to finish. Every day. Day by day. Last week I sought out the very earliest of the aspen colors. A few clones of trees turned already. Some gold on the ground.

Photo Location: Kaibab National Forest, North Kaibab District, outside Grand Canyon National Park North Rim, Arizona.

Fallen Quaking aspen leaf

Fallen Quaking aspen leaf, Kaibab National Forest

North Rim Double Rainbow

Double rainbow, Roaring Springs Canyon, Grand Canyon North Rim.

Double rainbow, Roaring Springs Canyon, Grand Canyon North Rim.

Monsoon season scattered thundershowers continue around Grand Canyon this week. For the patient photographer, it provides a lot of variety in clouds and sunrise and sunset colors.

And of course: rainbows, especially in the late afternoons.

Photo location: Roaring Springs Canyon and Walhalla Plateau, North Rim, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona.