Alstrom Point understandably attracts photographers and you can see why. It is one of the most dramatic vistas that can be reached within a few hours drive of Page, AZ.
Although I would typically prefer to be alone in my exploration of Alstrom Point, this couple of photographers made for a wonderful subject and helps illustrate the scale. After they took their sunset photographs they made their way out of the area and left us to our camping in isolation.
As usual in the Summer on Lake Powell your vacation may not include any clouds. Sunsets still offer us the canvas of the brilliant canyon walls and will reward you with breathtaking orange explosions of color.
These photographs were all taken from an observation point off Highway 89 between the North and South entrances to Wahweap Marina. It’s a quick gravel road uphill to a small parking lot. Please be careful entering and exiting this stop — it’s off the highway and there are not turn lanes.
Here we get a wonderful comparison in size between these massive houseboats in the marina and the surrounding canyons.
One of the most recognizable outcroppings in Lake Powell along Wahweap is Castle Rock, here it dwarfs a rental power boat cruising the bay.
Looking over Antelope Island into Arizona is Tower Butte. A good friend of mine was hired once to photograph a wedding performed on top of Tower Butte. Just a pilot, minister, the happy couple and this photographer were able to take the helicopter to it’s plateau — after quite a bit of work to get the necessary permission. The story is that they found a tee and some golf balls on top.
Here is the epitome of an Arizona sunset: it really puts the Arizona state flag into perspective. The patch of clouds casting beams of shadows (or the sun casting beams of light, depending on how full your glass is).
As you may have seen in the Virga post, drops of rain from a storm at sunset catch the red light as they try to reach the ground.
Although the sun is a little too high in this shot to give us the epic sunset clouds over the lake, I really like the cooler colors during this Monsoon-season frame and the contrast of the dark clouds overhead. By the time the sun came down enough to begin to light the clouds over the lake it became obscured and the show was over.
The wide open skies of Arizona and Utah play host to some of the most amazing sunsets I’ve ever seen in my life.
A good sunset, photographically speaking, requires a few of the following elements to come together precisely at the right time.
Time. The Sun needs to be at a point that is low enough in the sky for the atmosphere of the Earth to filter the Sun’s light down to the warm purples, reds and oranges that we find pleasing.
Clouds. Although just the setting Sun itself can be an interesting photographic element, we typically want the largest possible canvas to capture that warm glow of the golden hour. Sometimes the stormiest skies make the best canvas. Sometimes the canyons are the focus.
Direction. Clouds are good, right? Not when they’re in the way of the sun. We hope that the sun peaks under the clouds, so if it is clear to the west we’re in good shape.
Interest. If we’re just talking about catching red, glowing clouds we’re probably done here, but to really amp up the excitement you’ll want to be positioned to get the golden light on some of your landscape as well. This is especially true for Lake Powell as the formations of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area really shine when the sun sets. The Navajo Sandstone captures a lot of light, imparts the iron-oxide glow and reflects it around the other canyons. I like to also include elements that are not sunlit to give a frame of reference to the awesome light.