Dead Horse Point State Park has a number of great vantage points to photograph from, but the ones off the main trail give better, unobstructed views of the beautiful canyon. All you have to do is go off to the right of the trail, come down a couple of rocks and look for open areas.
Photo Spot Details
I have visited the Dead Horse Point State Park many times, but never had the luck to get beautiful sunrise colors. I kept on coming back, over and over until I finally got what I was looking for. It was a very cold and extremely windy morning – I was the only person in the park and it was a bit scary to come out of the car. After walking to my favorite spot (marked on the map), I set up my tripod pretty low and tried to stay closer to the ground, because of how bad and gusty the wind was. The sky was quite cloudy and I thought it would be another day with no luck. But I was wrong – within the next few minutes, the Sun’s rays pierced through the clouds and gave me a very short window to capture the above image. It was an absolutely amazing and breathtaking moment worth patiently waiting for!
Travel and Gear Tips
- The best time to photograph the Dead Horse Point is at sunrise, so get there at least an hour earlier
- Bring a stable tripod and if the weather forecast shows gusty winds, make sure to bring a heavy duty tripod – you do not want your gear flying off those sharp cliffs!
- A wide to medium range zoom lens is ideal, so if you have a 24-70mm or a 24-120mm equivalent, it would work great for the above shot
- A polarizing filter is a must-have to bring to reduce haze in the distance and enhance colors
- Definitely use that polarizing filter, unless you are shooting a panorama as above
- If the sky gets very bright, it might be a good idea to bring 2 stop GND filter to balance out the exposure
- Keep your ISO as close to base ISO as possible in order to be able to recover the most amount of dynamic range
- There is no reason to shoot at very wide or small apertures on a tripod, so use your lens’ sweet spot, which is generally between f/5.6 and f/8