Gorgeous Time-Lapse Film Shows the Wild Beauty of Moab, Utah

Ron Risman captured beautiful time-lapse scenes around Moab, Utah – including the lesser-visited, but equally scenic spots – to demonstrate the diversity of the region found outside of the ever-popular Arches and Canyonlands National Parks.

Acres of photographic opportunities

A photographer and timelapse specialist and workshop instructor, Risman has been photographing for over 30 years, with a particular affinity for the night sky. In his latest accelerated film, he hoped to show audiences what the 1.8 million acres of public land outside of Utah’s national parks has to offer. Some of the locations he has captured include Goblin Valley and Dead Horse Point State Parks, as well as Castle Valley, the LaSal Mountains, and many backcountry roads.

iPhone capture of the sun setting over the red rock cliffs south of Moab
Moab, UT
A pre-explored location near Moab in the La Sal Mountains
Moab, UT
Another pre-explored spot to capture the sunset along the Colorado River

“Moab, Utah is one of the most amazing places you can visit, whether you’re looking for adventure, solitude, or anything in between,” Risman said. PetaPixel. “If you’re a painter, photographer, hiker, biker, climber, rafter, off-roader, or traveling in an RV or RV, Moab has what you’re looking for.”

Moab, UT
Pre-scouting and pre-planning a shot when the sun goes down and the stars come out to play
Moab, UT
A beautiful sunset in Goblin Land at Goblin Valley

Moab, UT

Photographers in particular will appreciate the millions of acres of red sandstone arches, spiers, fins, canyons and hoodoos. Utah’s second-tallest mountain range, the LaSal Mountains, is also found in Moab, with its peaks reaching over 13,000 feet in elevation.

“Often these peaks are snow-capped even in spring and early summer, which creates a beautiful contrast between the desert landscape and the mountains,” says Risman. “In the summer, take a short hour drive from the desert climate of Moab with temperatures near 100 degrees to sit under a grove of Aspen on the LaSal Mountains with temperatures in the mid 70s.”

Capture earth and sky

The area is just as well suited for night sky photography, boasting some of the darkest skies in the country.

“The International Dark Sky Association has designated these places as Dark Sky Parks, and you’ll soon find out why,” says Risman. “The lack of significant light pollution and the dry high desert climate ensure a great view of the night sky most nights.”

Moab, UT
Set up early to capture the Milky Way rising between the red rock faces

Risman captured footage for his film in May and used a variety of equipment. Its two main cameras were Canon EOS-R5 and Sony a7R IIIpaired with Canon 24-105mm f/4, Rokinon 24mm f/1.4and Samyang 14mm f/2.8 objective, plus a mix of different rails and carriages for smooth movement.

Moab, UT
Capturing a 3-axis motion control timelapse using the eMotimo Spectrum ST4, Dynamic Perception carbon rails and carriage and the Sony A7R III with manual Rokinon 24mm F/1.4 lens

For cautious travelers, Risman advises Moab to be one of the safest places to spend time outdoors because “there really isn’t much in the way of predatory wildlife.”

More of Risman’s work can be found on his website, instagramand YouTube channel.

Picture credits: Photos by Ron Risman.

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