Colorful sunsets have been almost nonexistent around here lately. My mantra “clouds make the sunset” was demonstrating itself again. Only this time by shutting off the sunset afterglow colors with a cloud bank on the far western horizon at sunset time.
Maybe this evening would be different. Once again things looked promising: cumulus clouds and clear air thanks to another brief cold front that even gave us about a quarter inch of rain.
So I headed up Maverick Point to see what would be. After checking out how quickly the Bears Ears road was drying out (it’s a slippery, even dangerous mess when wet), I then rolled back down to Photographer’s Point. No one was camping there at the time, so I claimed it for my own for the last hour until sunset. Instead of planting a flag I set up my camp chair and tripod. Appropriate.
The highly eroded extension of Maverick Point, around which the entrance highway (Utah 275) to Natural Bridges National Monument winds, was right below. It’s a visual and photographic delight, being composed of red cliffs, dark green Pinyon pine/Utah Juniper high desert dwarf forest, and snaking away from foreground to middle ground. With Moss Back Butte and, 75 air miles to the southwest, the hulk of Navajo Mountain.
The descending sun made the Point glow warmly with its low rays as it approached a horizontal cloud bank, disappeared behind it, then re-emerged below. When it did I turned the camera off to protect a searing high intensity shot into its sensor and circuit. In case the Olympus engineers hadn’t programmed it to protect itself from that sort of thing.
Finally, actual sun set time, slipping below the horizon. I was hoping that the cloud bank above would light up with rich reds and oranges as I’d seen it do so many times. But tonight it was merely moderate. Why? Another, barely noticeable, cloud bank way to the west at the very point of sunset.
Fine enough, though. Especially given the dramatic southeast Utah scenery, the clear, clean air, and the solitude.
Photo Location: Cedar Mesa at Natural Bridges National Monument, San Juan County, Utah.
© 2015 Stephen J. Krieg