Adjusting at the Gooseneck of the Colorado River

Greater Canyonlands: Sunrise on the Gooseneck of the Colorado RiverBelow Dead Horse Point lies the Gooseneck of the Colorado River. Several years ago I took a photography workshop from Tom Till and he introduced us to a location that affords a wonderful opportunity for capturing the Gooseneck at sunrise. The light was really perfect that morning and I was able to take a number of images including one that has the Gooseneck Butte reflected in the quiet waters of the river. (As a side note, this image has become part of a branding campaign for a local land conservation group.) That trip was in late October and I returned to the same location in January 2012.

I arrived shortly before the sun was to rise and it quickly became obvious that I would need to adjust my expectations. The seasonal difference of three months meant that the sun was in a different position. The rearing bulk of the Gooseneck was in fact not reflected in the river and therefore I would have a different play of light off of the cliffs. The soft reddish-orange light was instead reflected off of the west side cliffs as was the glow of a gibbous setting moon. Adjusting should be no problem for a photographer, and so I did.

The images I captured several years ago have a lovely autumnal feel to them but what I photographed that cold January morning works for me as well. If you ever doubt the value and wisdom of returning to a place you have been before, don’t.

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