Gorgeous Timelapse Film Shows the Rugged Beauty Around Moab, Utah

Ron Risman captured beautiful timelapse scenes around Moab, Utah, — including the less visited, yet just as picturesque locations — to demonstrate the diversity of the area found outside of the wildly popular Arches and Canyonlands National Parks.

Acres of Photographic Opportunities

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

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

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

Moab, Utah
Pre-scouting and pre-planning a shot for when the sun goes down and the stars come out to play
Moab, Utah
A beautiful sunset while in the land of the Goblins at Goblin Valley

Moab, Utah

Photographers in particular will appreciate the millions of acres of red-rock sandstone arches, spires, fins, canyons, and hoodoos. The second tallest mountain range in Utah, the LaSal Mountains, can also be found in Moab, with its peaks reaching over 13,000 feet in elevations.

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

Capturing the Land and the Sky

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

“The International Dark Sky Association has designated these locations as dark-sky parks, and you’ll soon discover why,” Risman explains. “The lack of any significant light pollution and the dry high-desert climate ensures a wonderful view of the night sky on most nights.”

Moab, Utah
Setting up early to capture the Milkyway rising between the red rock walls

Risman captured footage for his film in May, and used a variety of equipment. His two main cameras were Canon EOS R5 and Sony a7R III, paired with Canon 24-105mm f/4, Rokinon 24mm f/1.4, and Samyang 14mm f/2.8 lens, in addition to a mix of different rails and carriage for smooth movement.

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

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

More of Risman’s work can be found on his website, Instagram, and YouTube Channel.

Image credits: Photos by Ron Risman.