If you have ever driven up Cedar Canyon on Highway 14, you have passed what looks like it should be part of Cedar Breaks National Monument, but is in fact, not part of the monument. Some refer to it as “First Breaks” or “False Breaks,” When the sun sets, this small section of iron oxide eroded shale, limestone, and sandstone becomes brilliantly saturated with color. It offers a unique sunset perspective. Cedar Breaks itself is a natural amphitheater that is inaccessible from this point of view.
My eyes have been drawn to this formation at sunset many times. Every time I wish I had a camera in my hand and was standing in the right spot. I’ve yet to photograph this to my liking. The sky wasn’t very dynamic or exciting on this particular day, but I did spend some quality time here with my dad, waiting for just the right moment. After over an hour of setup, test shots, composition checks, we were rewarded with a few minutes of direct sunset light hitting just right and saturating the colors as we hoped.
I took several compositions, but my favorite is a 12 frame panorama. I shot the pano vertically from left to right at 200mm. When you zoom in, there are so many interesting details. Trees grow precariously on some of the steepest sections. Trees in various stages of life. The skeleton of an ancient bristlecone pine tree.