A personal blog of photography and commentary by Andrew McAllister.

After our trip to Beef Basin we decided to check out the needles overlook before returning to Moab. As luck would have it we were the only ones there. Even though the wind had kicked up lots of dust making the view ¬†very hazy the Needles Overlook was no less stunning. Sometime I’ll have to stay at the camp ground a few miles from here and photograph this area early morning light. I’m sure it is spectacular.

Below: Looking toward the needles district. In the distance you can see Cathedral Butte (on the right).

Below: Views form the Needles Overlook are stunning even in hazy conditions. I wonder how many lens caps and hats you could find at the base of the cliff. Strong wind can seemingly come out of nowhere and the fence is welcomed. I don’t generally have a fear of heights but this overlook had me holding the railing more than once.

Below: Be where you are. As a photographer visiting such a spectacular location it can be tempting to just get into a zone and photograph like mad. My wife taught me the saying “be where you are” and I keep it in mind when out exploring our world. Taking photographs is a major part of my experience to be sure, however I do take time in-between shots to stop and take things in. The smell of Juniper and the sound wind blowing through evergreen are some of my favorites. Watching birds in the updrafts around the cliffs is another. If you just take pictures the whole time have you really experienced the place or is it just a photo location?¬†



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  1. June 5, 2012

    Great pictures of a great place! And you’re right: make sure you experience where you are first, also helps you make better photos!

  2. June 5, 2012

    AMAZING Photos – thanks so much for sharing!!!

  3. June 5, 2012

    The Needles is my favorite place in Canyonlands. We have camped in the campground you spoke of and it’s magical out there in the evenings. You can climb up onto the rocks and recline on your back and stargaze all night long. And you’ll see more stars than you can imagine. Also, a hike out to the confluence of the Colorado and Green rivers is worth seeing.

    • Andrew McAllister #
      March 10, 2013

      Hopefully doing that hike this summer. Camping for sure, how is the wind?

  4. June 5, 2012

    I agree with your wife…. on the other hand, I find I notice things I would have overlooked when I have a camera along.

  5. June 5, 2012

    Simply beautiful photos.

  6. June 5, 2012

    awesome photos

  7. John P. Meyer #
    June 5, 2012

    I hate to sound like a sentimental old geezer (hey, if the shoe fits, right?), but I remember fondly this spot during my first visit there in the late ’70s when there was no railing in evidence. Something about having that yawning chasm unobstructed before you that added to its awesomeness. Not to mention options for Darwinian selection.

    Great photos under difficult lighting conditions, Andrew. Congrats!

  8. June 6, 2012

    That first panorama is stunning, yes! And breathtaking beautiful. I hope I will be there one day myself…..

  9. June 10, 2012

    oh gosh, the drop from that cliff is just sublime! lovely pictures!

  10. June 11, 2012

    These shots are just out of this world!

    • Andrew McAllister #
      June 12, 2012

      It’s like another world when you are there.

  11. June 12, 2012

    Reblogged this on triptivelazan and commented:

  12. June 23, 2012

    Your question was whether if one goes to a place and only takes pictures, have you really experienced it?

    No. One needs time away from the lens to have the place work for you, the desert in particular.

    • Andrew McAllister #
      March 10, 2013

      I feel fortunate to be able to revisit many of the places I post about. It feels like visiting your friends. I have been to the Needles Overlook 3 times so far and It’s worth revisiting every time.

  13. August 20, 2014

    Hey there! Would you mind if I share your blog with my myspace
    group? There’s a lot of folks that I think would really enjoy
    your content. Please let me know. Thanks

    • Andrew McAllister #
      August 21, 2014

      I am assuming a link? Go for it. Thanks for looking.

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