Getting Acquainted At Capitol Reef

17Jan18

Capitol Reef National Park

The first park a friend and I visited on a recent trip to Utah was Capitol Reef National Park. While making images at Bryce National Park (as seen in my previous post) seemed easy, I cannot say the same was true here. But, the experienced photographer has learned to accept and work with the lighting and sky conditions given … especially when there is little time at a place. Such was the case on this trip with Mother Nature providing just a few short moments of photogenic opportunities during our less than day and a half stay. Adding to the challenge, many of the features at Capitol Reef require hiking or high-clearance 4WD vehicles and it takes time to get to them.

We had an adventure on the morning after our arrival as we ventured into the desert back-country to find the Temples of the Moon and Sun. Setting out in the dark, hours before sunrise we turned around at the first of two options when we were met with a river crossing. In the dark it seemed to be deep, swift moving and down a steep embankment. At the alternate route we were confronted with 3 bridges that consisted of narrow metal planks and no side rails to protect us from the dark abyss below. We were afraid but forged ahead … before realizing we were steered in the wrong direction by a misleading map! Now we had to go back over the bridges to get back on track! We got to the Temples just as a brief, bit of color appeared in the sky. And, by the time the sun came up over the ridge that was casting shadows on the temples the sky was a bald blue and the lighting was harsh.

We decided that first light on the Temples would be better in the spring when the sun is at an angle that is not obstructed by the ridge. The last two weeks of October would be a good time to visit other areas of the park, to take advantage of golden cottonwood foliage. Having never visited Capitol Reef before it was a fun visit to get acquainted, and one that we learned from.

‘The Castle, Capitol Reef National Park’ © Denise Bush
click here to view larger or order a print

‘Canyon Country Schoolhouse’ © Denise Bush

‘Canyon Country Barn’ © Denise Bush

‘Hickman Bridge At Capitol Reef’ © Denise Bush

‘Downstream From Capitol Dome’ © Denise Bush

‘Temple Of The Moon At Dawn’ © Denise Bush
notecards, unframed, framed, canvas, acrylic & metal prints available



34 Responses to “Getting Acquainted At Capitol Reef”

  1. So beautiful ! Again, I love your work.

  2. 3 Deb

    Sounds like one of our adventures! Lol
    You certainly made good use of what you were given! These are awesome, I always like the addition of the buildings with landscapes in the back!

  3. Nice images, Denise. One of my favorite national parks. Irene and were there in 2016 and loved it. It is also a great place for night photography.

    • I have seen some awesome night photos Ken! We were only there 2 nights, and needing to get up very early both mornings we had to forgo the idea. I want to have more time when I go again.

  4. 7 Joe perno

    Canyon Country Barn is amazing. Well they all are amazing, but that is my favorite. Always enjoy looking at your work.

    • Thanks very much Joe. I’m glad you like the barn. There is a wooden fence there that can be used as a leading line and I shot some like that too. Since everybody does that though, I decided to process this one instead. I think the ditch makes for a good leading line too.

  5. Good reminder of the work that goes on behind the scenes and the obstacles that come up on an outing. It’s not all beer and skittles!
    Still, you managed to get some nice shots, nonetheless!

  6. Quite an adventure you had! Great images, love the castle!

    • Yes the adventure was a bit scarey … in the dark and all! We only saw one other person (a rancher) the whole time on the road to the Temples.The castle is near the visitor center and we just happened to be there when it was lighting up! Thanks for your visit and comment!

  7. Gorgeous!

  8. All are amazing, Denise! I love the wooden structures adding to the gorgeous backgrounds. I really enjoy seeing your compositions, and how you draw us in. Great work!!

  9. You did well capture the place even with difficult conditions (light etc.) The school house and the barn are just fantastic!

  10. Beautiful images of Capitol Reef, love the colours, brought back good memories. Camped there when I visited the USA for the first time, mid summer, it was very hot, but there were apricot trees in the campground and a yellow bellied marmot had his home not far from the visitor centre.

    • Thank you! The campground looked nice … maybe I’ll stay there next time. I saw the orchards and now know why they called the settlement Fruita.

  11. A good overview of the park. Thanks

  12. 23 Angela Moyer

    Awesome! Glad we were able to capture the shots we did get while we experienced an exciting, nail biting adventure! Your images capture the beauty for sure!

  13. I enjoyed reading about the trip, Denise – what an adventure, as you say, trying to locate the temples…but that last photo is really, really beautiful. It has an unearthly calm. I love the first one, too.

    • Thanks Lynn … those are my 2 favorites too. Getting to the Temples of the Sun & Moon was the number one goal at Capitol Reef. I had seen pictures that enticed me to put the location on my bucket list.

  14. I loved Hickman Bridge as It mirrors all the colours of Australia – ochre pink, light brown, gold and rusty red. A truly beautiful shot, Denise!

  15. It’s beautiful and your images are too! Sounds like quite the adventure. I love the barn, and natural arch.

    This park is going on my “wish list”. Thank you for sharing it!

  16. Instant love with those photos. I always appreciate a photographer. 🙂

  17. These are making me miss those beautiful landscapes in the west!


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