Camping under the stars in Canyonlands National Park
Photo by Joe Newman
I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that you camp out in the desert in August. It’s almost unbearably hot during the day and even at night, it’s still a little warm. We just got real lucky when we camped out in Canyonlands National Park in southern Utah that the weather was slightly cooler than average on the one night we pitched our tents.
We stayed in the Squaw Flat campground in the Needles District of Canyonlands. Needles is the southeastern section of the park and its remoteness (it’s about an hour and a half outside of Moab) means you won’t find the crowds that you’ll have to deal with in the Island in the Sky District, which is much closer to Moab [Be sure to check out my video after the jump].
We drove by the Willow Flat campground in Island in the Sky and it didn’t look appealing at all. Of course, a lot of the scenic overlooks are much more accessible in the Island in the Sky district compared to Needles. So if you prefer driving up to a spot, getting out of the car and seeing gorgeous scenery, you could try camping at Willow Flat or staying in Moab, which is what we did for the other two nights of our trip. However, if you like to hike and you want to camp, definitely go with Squaw Flat in Needles.
The picture above is my first attempt at astro-photography. It’s a shame I wasn’t better at what I was doing because the stars were simply incredible. And that’s really the best argument for camping out — the chance to be miles away from the light pollution of the city and see the most stars you’re likely to ever see in your life. You can see the Milky Way with the bare eye, which is pretty freaking cool.
Photo of nighttime at the Squaw Flat campground in Canyonlands by Joe Newman.
[symple_box color=”gray” text_align=”left” width=”100%” float=”nonet”]
Camera: Olympus E-M5
Lens: Lumix G Vario 7-14 mm (14-28 mm equivalent)
Focal Length: 7 mm
Shutter speed: 25 seconds
Processing: I used Lightroom 4 to create a “cool” and a “warm” version. Then layered the images in Photoshop where I used the sky from the cooler version and the tent and ground from the warmer one to create the final image.