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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Activities Photography
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Features
Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Food Nearby
River
Scenic
Wildlife

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Moab is amazing

Moab offers some of the absolute best spots for night photography. The light pollution is better than at Zion and Bryce. The rock formations and the stubby trees are great for long exposures because they don't move.

Powerful

This spot is such a gem amongst the desert. It feels as if you can walk across the Milky Way on nights out here. Warm clothes, solid tripod, and probably a fair amount of coffee make it a night to remember.

A wonderful experience

We have done this hike in the morning. It was great! Highly recommended. For those who do it at night and take start trail shots, how easy is it to get out --- or follow the trail out at night? Thanks!


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Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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