Night Photography in Moab

Utah Arches National Park Visitor Center

Added by Phill Monson

  • Incredible sandstone formations make for excellent photography subjects
  • Unique Milky Way location in June provides beautiful backdrop
  • Easy drive from Salt Lake City
  • Abundance of lodging and camping options

Moab, Utah should be on every photographer's "to do" list. With two major National Parks within a few short miles (Arches and Canyonlands), along with State Parks and countless other geological gems, it's a photographers dream. While these areas are incredible at any time, the June night sky offers a unique look at the full Milky Way over the sandstone features. June provides the best view of the Milky way and what better than to capture it in all it's glory to make familiar locations new again.

A short 3.5 hour drive from Salt Lake City, there are several options in Moab for lodging from high-end hotels to sleeping under the stars - if you're going down for night photography, however, there won't be much sleeping.

Arches National Park has several arches and interesting rock formations to see that are easily accessible, while Canyonlands requires some slightly difficult hikes, especially in the summer heat. Delicate Arch, Balanced Rock and Double Arch are some excellent options to start with for your night photography adventure.

Moab is right in the middle of the desert, and summer temps can reach as high as 110 if not higher. Bring plenty of water, and sunscreen. Nights are cooler, but still warm, so be prepared for a range of temperatures. While the trails are fairly well marked, GPS apps are a good idea, especially while exploring in the dark.

Have fun, and happy shooting!!

Pack List

For night photography and "light painting," you'll need:

  • Full frame DSLR camera - full frame allows for better image quality at night
  • Wide angle lens to capture the night sky, that can go to a minimum of f/2.8 as you'll need to shoot wide open to capture all the light you can
  • LED light panels. No less than three so you can position them in interesting ways to make for dramatic lighting
  • Tripod for those long exposures
  • Friends to chat with or a good book as you'll be out there for a while
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5 months ago


One of my favorite experiences in photography thus far is doing night photography here. Definitely be prepared to stay out there for hours. I was out there until 3 AM in order to get clear Milky Way shots without moon interference. But it's so worth it. It's incredibly stunning. In Georgia, where I reside, it's tough to be able to view such a clear sky. So this was certainly a great experience. 10/10 will do again.

5 months ago

Added by Phill Monson

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