Come on, not again!

After waiting 3 months, we are finally in Moab, Utah, with Josh Snow leading our night photography workshop. Our original March date was postponed until April due to cloudy skies. You can’t shoot the stars if you can’t see them. Our April date went out the window when Moab shut down for COVID-19. Now here we are at the end of June and again the weather has gone awry. The forecast? Cloudy skies with westerly winds of 25-35 mph with gusts to 50mph.

With the star shooting postponed yet again, I hoped to salvage a sunset. Would the sun peak through the clouds and deliver?

Heading west, we began the 40 mile drive up the winding, cliff hugging road to Canyonlands National Park. The wind gusts shook the car as we climbed through the hairpin turns. “Not too close to the edge”, I couldn’t help but caution Jeff again and again. He even threatened to let me drive.

Fifty minutes later, at the Candlestick Tower Overlook, I sized up the rock monument in the distance. The canyon edge dropped like a cliff before me.  Would we be safe on the edge?  Scouting the area, Jeff spied a scrawny dead Pinion Pine on a distant point. What a wonderful foreground element. We just had to get there.

Hiking through the trees away from the edge, we didn’t experience the wind full force until we arrived out on the point. Despite our super heavy duty Really Right Stuff tripods, I feared my camera would catch the wind and tip, thousands of dollars down into the canyon. My cheeks stung as sand and small pebbles pelted me with every gust. Sacrificing my body, I blocked the wind from blasting the camera lens.  What a wicked wind it was.

Pinyon Pine Skeleton frames Candlestick Butte

Shrubs and grasses blew nonstop creating blurry foregrounds. At least the monument and the tree would not blow away.

As sunset approached, the wind blew away the one thing I did not expect, the clouds.

Just before sunset all I was left with was bland skies.

The sun sets unceremoniously behind Candlestick Butte

Time to think in black and white?

Candlestick Butte at Sunset in Black and White

Perhaps black and white is better here?

As the sun dipped below the horizon, the clouds that blew to the east glowed in pastels. Unfortunately, the clouds were behind us and our view was to the west. Bummer.

Panning to the left, I was able to catch a few departing clouds beyond another Pinyon Pine

What a wicked wind! Not only did it ruin my star shooting opportunity, but it ruined my sunset as well.

Remember it’s all about the light!