When the clouds and light work together, it can be pure magic out at Alstrom Point – a remote overlook high over Lake Powell. I’ve had great luck every time I’ve been out there. Even when skies have been clear everywhere else, clouds like to congregate around here! Even though I have many great images from this place, in this post I’m going to show only images from our last group workshop outing. The image above is looking north where we had some dramatic virga in the clouds (rain that evaporates before it hits the ground).
It was really windy that day as the group drove through the Nipple Bench Badlands. We were kind of worried that it might be too windy out at Alstrom Point. This is the road through the Badlands. There are many photo opportunities along the way through this section of Grand Staircase Escalante. With the dark clouds in the distance, we had high hopes for dramatic light over Lake Powell.
This is the first overlook you come to. You can’t see much of the lake from here, but the cliffs and textures are really neat. After this point, the road gets very rough for the next 2 miles and is only suitable for high clearance 4WD vehicles.
We came to another overlook a little ways up the road. We got out to photograph since we didn’t know if the clouds or light would fade later on. With photography, you ALWAYS take advantage of good situations right when they present themselves. Never say you’ll come back because it just doesn’t happen!
One of the cool things about Alstrom Point is that you can practically drive right up to the overlook. The best views are just a short 5-10min hike from the end of the road. Once we got there, we were surprised to find that the wind wasn’t nearly as strong here! The workshop participants setup and started taking in the stunning views over Lake Powell.
The clouds and light were constantly changing. When this happens, I like to shoot at a variety of focal lengths. Many of my favorite shots from this evening were taken with telephoto lenses. This is one such example of a nice pocket of light on the cliffs of the Grand Staircase to the north.
This is Tower Butte, a lone monolith near Page, AZ. This was the first time I’ve photographed it since the clouds and light were so good!
And now we wait for last light. We were already really happy with what we got. But guess what? It only got better.
Here is the last light on the cliffs across from Padre Bay. The setting sun turned the virga into a nice shade of pink.
This was the evening of the full moon rise. With all the clouds, we thought we weren’t going to see it. But lucky for us, a small opening appeared in the clouds and the moon came out! I quickly grabbed my 500mm lens and took this shot handheld at 1/100sec, f11, ISO320. A large cloud was surrounding Navajo Mountain which you can see at the bottom. I liked having the little piece of cloud in front of the moon – it helps prove the shot was real. The majority of impressive moon shots you see on the internet are fake. They are usually just composites of different images. It’s easy to know when shots are fake once you know what to look for.
I very quickly went back to my wide angle lens on the tripod and took this shot of the moonrise.
Within minutes, the moon disappeared behind the fast moving clouds again and we were treated to this glorious sunset. Alstrom Point is truly a photographer’s dream. My company specializes in private photo outings to places like this. You can leave the difficult driving to us and we’ll help you get the best photos possible. Vist our website for more info: Private Tours