Favorite Desert Landscapes

Living around Zion National Park is where I’ve been able to ‘cut my teeth’ in landscape photography. Basic principles, composition, lighting, all rules I’ve learned how to bend. Below are some of my favorite and why. 

Rule of thirds. Broken up by trees, broken up by color, with a lack of contrast that blends it slightly together.. making it that mash-up of deliciousness like your plate on Thanksgiving.

If I could summarize the area geologically, this photo would be it. Those iron-rich reds, stark whites with pointy trees, streaked walls, and dark brown sugar stone. Yet they’re all the same Navajo formation.

I think this is what Adele meant when she sang “and I set fire.. to the raiiiiiiin!” There are two facts about photographing landscapes in the park: clouds are best, and snow is even better. This was an evening when my intuition was spot on. I fumbled with filters as fire-clouds crept behind the towers and the sky burst into a psychedelic rainbow of a sunset.


That’s 7810 feet my friends. The West Temple (I’m sure the Paiutes had a majestic name for it) towers over Springdale, is the “head” of the towers of the virgin, and is the tallest peak in the main canyon. Here’s it’s cap! The rock on top is actually different: it’s the Temple Cap formation (betchya can’t remember that!). This counts as my ‘intimate’ look at a peak that’s always felt, seemed, and is, so very far away..

Moonlight Buttress. Climbers. Autumn. It’s a love affair. 

Keyhole Canyon is one of many visitors’ first experiences in the deep slots in Southern Utah. It’s also stunning, and keeps us coming back for it’s convenience, friendly squeezes, and.. interesting.. water..

Okokok I know I’m transitioning slightly to ‘adventure photography’ BUT who gets to see this perspective that often? The switchbacks, part of the East Temple.. C’mon.. give me a pass..

You can almost hear the silence.. You can almost feel the sound.. Solitude in Fat Mans Misery Canyon. If you haven’t done it, get some skilled friends, cold water pro, and for everything that is good and fuzzy in this world, a map..

Lesson learned: just bring everything. I was hired to do a portrait session and got caught without a wide angle and THIS. Gah! Silly Rachel.. 28mm lenses are for kids.. Remember what I said before: clouds and snow.

..and waterfalls. And if you can work the magic and get clouds and snow and waterfalls.. you’re a wizard. There are a few places that will definitely run with each heavy rain: Telephone drainage by the Riverside Walk, Birch Creek (this), the Refrigerator drainage by Angels Landing, Echo Canyon, Heaps Canyon that overlooks the upper emerald pools.. the emerald pools themselves.. just to name a few..

And last but not in beauty.. Mars. Basically. A cotton-candy-sugar-plum-fairy-colored land of lavender crust that fades between pale and rust. It’s stunning. 

Using Format