The Illuminating Lens

Island in the Sky – Canyonlands National Park, Moab, Utah – Part 8 – 2023

On our last morning in Moab, we left the hotel at 4:30 AM to get to our last location, Island in the Sky in Canyonlands National Park.

Island in the Sky is a large mesa that is 1,000 ft above the surrounding terrain.  We arrived at our first stop when it was still dark.  As I got out of the vehicle I realized it was very cold!  I put on my wooly hat and gloves with some heat packs in the special pockets!  I grabbed my gear and headed out to the Grand View Point to get my first view of the morning!

Pre-dawn view from Grand View Point! Nikon Z7 with Z 24-70 mm lens. 1.6s exposure


As I walked out to the edge I realized that not only was it very cold but the wind was blowing pretty hard.   I would need to keep a hand on my tripod for sure!

I decided to go even wider as the sky was spectacular so I switched the lens to the Z 14-24mm very carefully in the wind.

As the sky began to light up I moved around getting different foregrounds to highlight the wider vista!

A wider view from Grand View Point. Nikon Z7 with Z 14-24mm lens. 1/6 s exposure


Since it was my last day here, I decided to pull out my 70-200mm lens and get some more intimate landscape images.

The colors before the sun rises, Grand View Point. Nikon Z7 plus FTZ and F mount 70-200mm lens.

I had not taken out my phone at this point as I found it difficult to operate the phone camera even with the finger holes in my gloves but I finally pulled it out to create a few ICM (intentional camera movement) images.

ICM – Grand View Point – iPhone 14 Pro Max using Slow Shutter app


I went back to the Nikon as the light started to come up as the sun broke the horizon lighting up bits and pieces of terrain in front of me.

Grand View Point. Snow was still remaining on the darker side of this red butte. Nikon Z7 with FTZ and F mount 70-200mm lens.


As I walked around trying for a different view I decided to do a panorama with my phone.

Panorama from Grand View Point. iPhone 14 Pro Max


It was about this time that I realized that my hands were turning blue as I had continued to shoot without my gloves! Duh!  I quickly put them back on and stuck my hands in my pockets!

I switched the lenses one more time, back to the 14-24mm to get the streaming clouds!

View of streaming clouds from Grand View Point. Nikon Z7 with Z 14-24mm lens.


We gathered back at the parking area, loaded up, and drove a short way back to another overlook.  But we spent way more time looking directly down at this stop than we did overlooking the view!

At White Rim Overlook the surface was pretty much solid rock.  There were small depressions in the rock that still contained water similar to our very first stop on our first day! But the difference here was they were all mostly frozen!  So ice abstracts and ice bubbles became our focus!  Colleen Miniuk, our workshop leader, is known as Bubbles for her obsession with bubbles so we knew we would be staying at this spot for a while!  Amid squeals of glee from Colleen and others, I found some interesting ice abstracts as I checked the many depressions.

Some of the many ice-filled depressions at the White Rim Overlook. Nikon Z7 with Z 14-24mm lens.


Colleen getting close to those ice bubbles! Nikon Z7 with Z 14-24mm lens. It was so cold we were glad to have face masks! 


I had set the scene! Now it was time to get in close!  I did not have my macro lens with me so I thought I would see what the wide-angle could do.  I could not get too close due to the focusing distance but that meant I did not have to kneel on that hard rock!  That was a good thing!

Ice Abstract – Nikon Z7 with Z 14-24mm lens.


The variety of shapes and curves in even the same depression was amazing!

Curves and Triangles, Ice Abstract – Nikon Z7 with Z 14-24mm lens.


Firs and Ice – Ice Abstract. Nikon Z7 with Z 14-24mm lens.


Another ice Abstract – Nikon Z7 with Z 14-24mm lens.


We were at the White Rim Overlook so I had to get an image or two of this view.

View from White Rim Overlook. Nikon Z7 with Z 14-24mm lens.


It was hard to drag everyone, especially Colleen, away from all the ice abstract opportunities but we had one more stop and then had to get back to the hotel to check out.

Our last stop on the Island in the Sky was the Visitor Center and Visitor Center Overlook.

We made our group shot here and I made a couple of images.

Visitor Center Overlook. iPhone 14 Pro Max


We crossed the road to check out the visitor center, and warm-up. I had to purchase my obligatory Canyonlands National Park coffee cup and lapel pin for my collection!

We headed back to the hotel, I said goodbye to Colleen and all my new photographer friends and loaded up the car.

The Island in the Sky mesa in Canyonlands National Park is a must-see when you are in Moab!  It is a seasonal location so be sure that it is open when you are in the area.

This was an amazing Sheography (women only) Workshop!  Great locations, instruction, and people!  I highly recommend any of Colleen’s workshops!

Snow was predicted so I opted to take the longer route that was more interstate highway. I wanted to get back to Salt Lake City before the snow as this Floridian has not driven in snow for many years!  I made it to the hotel in SLC and 30 minutes later the snow came!

Snow on the tree outside my balcony in Salt Lake City! iPhone 14 Pro Max


I had a 5-minute drive to the SLC airport in the morning, the roads were clear but I turned in my rental with 5 inches of snow on the roof!

For larger versions of these images and many more to purchase as prints or on other merchandise please visit these four galleries for the locations mentioned in this blog:  Grand View Point Overlook   White Rim Overlook  Visitor Center Overlook    Misc Utah

This is the end of my Moab, Utah adventure!  I hope you enjoyed all 8 parts, if you haven’t read them, please check them out!

My next adventure is a bit closer to home!  I long weekend at Amelia Island, Florida with my Board of Directors from the Tampa Bay Camera Club.

That is all for now!


Lynn Wiezycki

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