Moab in winter can be a beautiful place. Cold, but very beautiful. The sun is at the lowest angle of the year. This really brings out the colors in the red rock scenery to its most dramatic level. While the days are short you don’t have to get up early to take fabulous sunrise photos.
Many people come to Moab in winter specifically to take photographs without people in them. That is a virtually impossible feat from March to November. Visitors during busy season arrive at Arches and Canyonlands National Parks early in the day. Trying to get a photograph of any of the beautiful Arches without other people in the view is really a challenge.
It’s also important to pay attention to time of day and location of the sun. The ideal situation is to shoot with the sun behind you at a relatively low angle. But unless you are a frequent visitor to Arches National Park trying to plan the timing for any particular photograph will be difficult.
We recommend that you do a scouting trip sometime during the week prior to your photographic journey in winter. This way you can be sure that the sun will be in the proper position. Be extra careful of shadows this time of year. With the sun behind you and very low in the sky your shadow can inadvertently windup in the picture.
When there is a little bit of snow on the arches and surrounding scenery it makes for elegant contrast. A touch of white on top of the red rock formations adds greatly to the depth and richness.
Make sure you bundle up in layers and have excellent footwear when coming to Moab. Insulated winter boots that you supplement with traction such as micro spikes, Yak Trax etc. make winter travel a lot safer. Be extremely careful when traveling on snow and ice whether you are walking or driving. The local hospital gets new patients every day from accidents in winter.
Moab in winter can be a really special time. The lack of crowds combined with the beautiful scenery can be very rewarding. Just be careful of snow and ice, dress warmly and enjoy the place to yourself and the few other brave souls you meet.