Utah Trip–Sunday Morning, Capitol Reef Cathedral Valley | Jim Kofron Photography | Jim Kofron

Utah Trip–Sunday Morning, Capitol Reef Cathedral Valley

Up before the crack of dawn (4 am), leaving our motel for a drive to Cathedral Valley. From Rt. 24, the unpaved road is a twisty route of 17 miles to the Temple of the Sun and Temple of the Moon. These are the two monoliths that we’re hoping to shoot at sunrise. We had a bit of difficulty finding the turn off in the dark (no surprise), and then you should stay right (don’t take a quick left—there some camping right by the road). Rick did the driving, which was just fine with me. About 3/4 into the trip Rick pulled over and we had a discussion about turning back. There were some reasonable clouds in the sky, and we weren’t sure whether we’d get a sunrise. The decision was to push on—I had never been out here at we were already pretty far into the trip.

So, this was what we were looking at pre-dawn. My hope was that the openings at the horizon would let the sun shine through...

And as you can see with the wide-angle shot, we might just get lucky...

Temple of the sun in predawn light

And this must be temple of the moon...

And here comes the sun, slow but sure. We got fantastic light—for just 5 minutes!!!

Pretty sweet! This is 75 seconds after the above shot was taken.

Running around, looking for different vantage points...

Temple of the sun, well lit!

And impressive in B/W.

And this is the final shot in this glorious light, about 5.5 minutes after it started peaking. Amazing colors, great clouds behind—we were very fortunate to be out here this morning!

And so we traveled on to the South Desert. The drive to get to the overlook was pretty exciting (rough, steep), but the views are completely worth it.

iPhone pano below

On the way out…

I’m not sure what these are called (other than I think they’re all considered ‘cathedrals’).

A touch of negative fill light here

To give you an idea of scale, Rick is lower center.

These formations are just incredible. Fun hiking in the open desert out here too. Great rocks!

Of course, you can find lots of old bones in the desert too. Apparently hooves are not the tastiest part of a deer… It makes a great prosthetic.

And we’re not done yet. Bentonite hills!

And as we left (the way we came in) we headed to our last destination, Moab.

Copyright 2014, Jim Kofron. All rights reserved.