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09-03-2017, 04:08 PM   #1
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Planning my sunsets and sunrises on a trip through Utah.

We have a plan right now to go to utah in the middle of september with a following itinerary:
- Zion, 2 sunsets, 3 sunrises
- Bryce, 1 sunset, 1 sunrise
- Arches / Canyonlands, 3 sunsets, 2 sunrises

And then things get tight, I have to share one sunset between:
- Monument Valley
- Page, AZ (Horseshoe bend, Marble Canyon, antelope canyon - if there are spots left)

And can do one sunrise in Page, Az.

Any suggestions at what spots I should be during golden hours in these places? if you have pictures and know good locations please share them!

09-03-2017, 05:32 PM - 1 Like   #2
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I'm not an expert on these sites, but I do have a few thoughts about Zion. The main canyon runs north-south, so within the canyon itself is not necessarily great for golden hour. The Towers of the Virgin do light up nicely at first light, and are often photographed from the meadow behind the museum and also, much further away, from the Canyon Overlook trail. The view from the bridge toward the Watchman at sunset is so popular with photographers you'll probably be bumping elbows if you try it.

A much more interesting phenomenon, particular to red-rock canyons such as Zion, is light reflected off the canyon walls, creating a beautiful warm glow in areas shaded from direct sun. And this is available all throughout the day (if it's sunny) and at locations throughout the park, not just in the main canyon.

So a possible game plan would be morning golden hour in the east side of the park, where features such as Checkerboard Mesa will catch early light (and where the Canyon Overlook trail is located), search out reflected light wherever you are in the park during the heart of the day, and then maybe venture over to the Kolob Canyons section of the park for evening golden hour.

Zion is a photographer's dream; enjoy the experience!
09-03-2017, 05:44 PM - 1 Like   #3
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This can help

The Photographer's Ephemeris
09-03-2017, 07:51 PM - 1 Like   #4
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Well, I have not been to Page specifically for sunsets, but for - Page, AZ (Horseshoe bend, Marble Canyon, antelope canyon - if there are spots left) of these three....
  • Horseshoe Bend has a view looking west in to the sunset with the bend as the anchoring foreground, as the parking lot and road are on the east side. The only real viewing spot is on the east side looking west (which is the traditional view). It is a 5 minute walk to the bend from the parking lot. Google Maps
  • Marble Canyon is south of Horseshoe Bend and runs north - south. There is a bridge, but it's pretty flat on the top with mesa cliffs in the distance. There is a ranger station on the west side after you cross the bridge, but I don't have any idea as to the landscape for a sunset. Google Maps ..... Marble Canyon sunset - Google Search
  • Antelope Canyon up top is flat - with the view to the west of the power transmission towers to Phoenix. The best time to shoot the slot canyons is at high noon to get the streams of light coming down. Google Maps
So, what I was planning on doing was the bend for the actual sunset, and then driving down to the bridge across Marble Canyon for the golden/blue hour if the sky had any interest.

I also came across a video with two guys who drove up there to shoot the Milky Way (late in the year - it's on the south west side). They shot the MW then went to sleep, woke up and stuck around to shoot the bend in the morning twilight in order to get some details down through the canyon.


It's 120 miles between Monument Valley and Page - so, it's really one or the other. Also, from the highway 163, the view is really to the east, so the easy shots would be to the east or the sunrise. Google Maps

Last edited by interested_observer; 09-03-2017 at 08:05 PM.

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