A Different Take on Utah’s Mighty Five

December 16, 2016

In its second edition of Instagram Photographers to Follow in the United States, Time Lightbox selected KÜHL ambassador Prajit Ravindran as Utah’s top Instagrammer to follow. In just five years, Ravindran has traveled more than 58,000 miles around Utah to share its beauty.

In this photo essay, he shares his quest to capture unique perspectives of Utah’s Mighty Five.

Utah is home to the Mighty Five National Parks: Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef and Zion. These gorgeous parks draw in hundreds of millions of visitors each year.

For the last 3 years I have made it my mission to capture unique perspectives of the Mighty Five. It’s been an exciting journey, and I’m proud to share some of my favorites and the process behind them.

Arches National Park

I visited the lesser known Eye of the Whale arch. The arch is amazing, but the road to reach it is pretty rough and requires a 4×4 vehicle. The dirt road starts opposite Balanced Rock and is well marked.

I used light painting and long exposure photography to capture some interesting perspectives of the arch. My friend stood towards one end of the arch opening with an LED panel placed behind him to cast a shadow.

Eye of the Whale Arch, Arches National Park

To captures the area around Eye of the Whale, I ran around this tree with a light in my hand for the entire duration of the exposure.

Tree of Life, Arches National Park

During the same visit, I visited Sand Dune Arch. I lit the arch with two LED panels and captured this shot with my friend standing in it.

Sand Dune Arch, Arches National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon is known for its red rocks and hoodoos, but if you look closely you will notice totally different shades.

Bryce Canyon National Park

If you brave the sub zero temperatures during winter you can find moments of magic like this.

Snowy day in Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon is also known for its amazing night skies, and the park can be a good place to escape the heat of summer. I captured the following images during the peak of summer as we sought respite from the 100+ degree weather in Canyonlands National Park the day before. The nighttime temperature at Bryce was a very comfortable 60°F.

I captured this 39-image self portrait panorama by lighting the tree with an LED lamp for a few seconds.

Night skies over Bryce Canyon National Park

This self portrait panorama is composed of six images.

Stargazing in Bryce Canyon National Park

For the feature image (top of post), I used a 300 mm lens to find landscapes within a landscape. An entire day of rain had threatened to wash out the trip. but hours before sunset the clouds parted for amazing views.

I’ve been to remaining three parks on a number of occasions but have yet to capture that unique perspective I’m seeking. The quest will continue; stay tuned for the sequel!


Prajit Ravindran started his photography journey eight years ago. He dabbled in different genres of photography before focusing on landscape photography and traveling to 22 states to capture the natural beauty of the United States. He moved to Utah five years ago and fell in love with the state and its rich, diverse landscape. Prajit is now based in Salt Lake City. He loves to include a human element in his photographs to add a sense of scale and to inject energy into the image. In 2016, Time Lightbox selected Prajit as Utah’s top Instagrammer. Follow at @irockutah.