Professional nature and adventure photographer Bret Edge writes about the making of his image of mules ear wildflowers blooming below The Organ in the Courthouse Towers area of Arches National Park near Moab, Utah.Read More
Bloomin' Wildflowers and Reflective Potholes
The last time I wrote an update I warned you all about the quickly melting snowcap on the La Sal Mountains. Luckily, we've had a couple great storms come through the area and they left behind a healthy dose of snow on the peaks so they're actually looking better now than they were a month ago. That said, I seriously doubt that snow is going to last more than two to three weeks.
Those storms also dumped quite a bit of rain in the desert, filling area potholes to near maximum capacity. Larger potholes will hold water for several weeks but the smaller, more common ones will be empty within a few days. Get here while the gettin's good as it's always fun to photograph reflections of arches and towers in these ephemeral little pools.
Lastly, the wildflowers are coming along nicely. This is not going to be a banner year for them but there are enough blooms around that finding a floral foreground won't require too much work. Prince's plume is looking very healthy, as are the claret cup cactus blooms. Mules ear is just starting to bloom and will likely peak in most areas some time in the next 7 to 10 days. I've seen a few Whipple's fish hook cactus starting to flower, some nice clumps of lupine and, surprisingly, there are even a few bright red Indian paintbrush flowers clinging to life at the edges of slickrock and sand dunes.
That's all for now. Oh, one last thing: I've still got one spot available for my Undiscovered Moab Photo Tour next month, May 15-17. Click here to learn more about and/or register for this opportunity to explore and photograph some remote and stunning landscapes around Moab!
Wildflowers, Waterfalls and National Park Status Updates
UPDATE: March 30, 2015 - Yesterday on a mountain bike ride I saw quite a few wildflowers popping up in the desert north of Moab, even a handful of desert primrose that were looking very healthy. None of the more showy wildflowers are blooming yet, i.e. mules ears. We haven't had any rain or snow (in the La Sals) for well over a week. The snowcap on the La Sals is melting off fast.
Wildflowers and warm weather are here! Okay, so the wildflowers are nowhere near peak but they are starting to pop up here and there. I've seen some really nice bouquets of indian paintbrush at lower elevations as well as a few small white, yellow and purple flowers (sorry, I'm not much of a wildflower recognition expert). Cottonwood trees are just beginning to leaf out and their vibrant green leaves are always a lovely contrast to the rich red sandstone.
Area waterfalls are flowing nicely as the warmer weather melts snow in the La Sal Mountains. Speaking of the La Sals, they still have a snowcap but if they aren't visited by any more winter storms this spring the snow will disappear quickly. Compositions that include the La Sals always look better when they mountains are coated in snow.
Most of the 4x4 roads are open and in good condition, or as good as can be expected of a 4x4 road. As an aside, the National Park Service is considering the implementation of a permit system for day use of Elephant Hill and the White Rim in Canyonlands. For better or worse, you would be wise to keep an eye on the progress of this initiative. Construction on the new, larger parking lot at Delicate Arch in Arches National Park is now underway. Visitors will be impacted. For more information please visit the Arches NP website.
That's all for now. As the wildflower season progresses I'll post frequent updates, hopefully with a few photos, to give you all a better idea of what's happening around Moab in real-time.
Planning a photo trip to Moab? I offer private photography workshops that are designed to get you to the best spots at the best times for incredible photo opportunities. Click here to learn more about a private photography workshop with me.