Night Photography on Hole in the Rock Road

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Added by Jake Hougaard

Breathtaking stars all night longA cool break from blistering desert heatColor in the Milky Way visible to the Naked EyeTONS of slot canyons and hikes to do in the area during the day

There's nothing quite like camping out in the desert. The day brings a blistering heat that nobody wants to be caught in without having some shade or water close by. Whether sleeping under the stars or in a tent, the scene is indescribable. As the dark descends and the stars come out they just keep coming. There is absolutely no light pollution out here, being hundreds of miles away from a big city, making the starry scene spectacular. The depth of color in the milky way is visible with the naked eye and is something that takes your breath away every time. These nights out in the desert under the stars are the kind of nights that you find yourself awake for hours not wanting to go to sleep and lost in the vastness of the stars and the depth of the universe. These shots are all taken with a 25 second exposure, ISO 1600 and f/2.8. The lens is a 24-70 f/2.8 and these shots are taken at the widest angle possible with this lens, 24mm. I generally set the white balance to tungsten, however, if you shoot in RAW, and you should, the white balance can easily be changed and corrected during post processing.

Hole in the Rock Road is located just outside of Escalante, Utah and is a dirt road so make sure to bring a vehicle that can handle the washboard. The road can get brutal at times and it takes a couple of hours to get to the end of it. The road is about 51 miles to the end of it which is at Historic Hole in the Rock. The geo-coordinates for the beginning of the road are 37°43'39.4"N 111°31'53.2"W and it's found just south-east of Escalante. Along the road there are dozens of turn-offs that take you to trails for lots of super rad slot canyons and hikes to arches and things like that. Camping is allowed nearly anywhere along the road and there are plenty of great secluded places to camp. The farther you go down the road, the better the stars will be because it takes you farther away from civilization. As the road gets closer to Hole in the Rock it runs close to the cliffs to the south so it may be harder to catch the milky way all night if you get too close to the cliffs, however, at Hole in the Rock it pulls back away from the cliffs again and gives you a stellar view of the entire night sky.

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