jamesjohnston_3471 PRO

Moon Over Rainbow Mountain

"Moon Over Rainbow Mountain" - Rainbow Mountains Conservation Area is the western border of the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Park and like th...
Read more

"Moon Over Rainbow Mountain" - Rainbow Mountains Conservation Area is the western border of the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Park and like the park is a BLM managed zone with lots of hiking trails and beautiful scenery. The park is just a short drive west out of Las Vegas, NV. This image was taken at sunrise on 4-13-2017 from the overlook on highway 159. (Sony a7R II, 60mm, f-16 1-3 sec., iso 64).
Read less





Contest Finalist in The Moonlight Photo Contest
Peer Choice Award
Contest Finalist in Blue Skies Photo Contest
Peer Award
Absolute Masterpiece
lucasnunes_4578 PORNrasanaga ruthtomlinson ChrissiRose Steve_Thomas lindaalford RLP073 +16
Superb Composition
Harlenea royalgardenphotography teetee1852 smshaffer DMilestogo dumbdrum Linda49 +8
Top Choice
photoman1974 Patsworld Danori Dinaschreuder_1981 marcbenson laurieleigh_0232 paaluglefisklund +6
Magnificent Capture
stephenbraunginn RickL DavidMBuckwalter riddles4509 MichelleLaveryPhotography danilobattisti simonparry +2
Superior Skill
jdmarks64 Mike-n-Mindy marymwarnerthomas ChristyRStanford
Outstanding Creativity
illeana Down2Earthtravelinspirer RobynC
All Star
quincyfloyd randalpair


margareteverettkeener tasiler LPIII jodiejordan

Top ClassTM

Our World At Night Photo ContestTop 10 class
900 Mountains Photo ContestTop 30 class
900 Mountains Photo ContestTop 30 class week 2
900 Mountains Photo ContestTop 30 class week 1
The Moonlight Photo ContestTop 10 class
The Moonlight Photo ContestTop 20 class week 1
ViewBug Photography AwardsTop 10 class
ViewBug Photography AwardsTop 10 class week 1
Blue Skies Photo ContestTop 10 class
Blue Skies Photo ContestTop 10 class week 2
Covers Photo Contest Vol 38Top 10 class
Covers Photo Contest Vol 38Top 20 class week 1


5 Comments | Report
deannefortnam PRO+
deannefortnam September 20, 2017
Greatpeace September 27, 2017
Stunningly beautiful.
marcbaechtold May 14, 2018
great composition with nice colors and good contrast, keep shooting!
photosbyjen July 05, 2018
Breathtaking shot
RickL PRO+
RickL July 02, 2019
Exceptional composition

Behind The Lens

This photograph was taken in the Rainbow Mountains Conservation area near Las Vegas, Nevada. This area along with the Red Rock Canyon park are just a half hour drive outside of Las Vegas and truly a gem to visit when in the gambling capital of the United States. Besides the beautiful scenery, the park has many hiking trails and a variety of wildlife to be seen and photographed.
I went to the park for the third time just before sunrise on our last full day in Las Vegas. Their wasn't a cloud in the sky and the moon was still above the mountains. I waited until the first glow of the sunrise warmed the red mountains. The sky retained it's deep blue and the desert floor remained in cool shadows, all of which further highlighted the mountains. That beautiful moon was like the cherry on the proverbial sundae.
Getting that warm sunrise glow was important to the image. Having an understanding of what a location looks like in different light will be the difference between a great photo and an average photo.
This image was made on my Sony Alpha a7R II and the 24-70 Sony-Zeiss glass. A tripod is a must for a low light image like this. I use Really Right Stuff tripods, ballhead and L-bracket mounts.
The color, texture and strength of these mountains had inspired me to take a number of day and sunset images in this location but I knew the sunrise would light up the hills and bring out even more beauty. I was right.
Post-processing for this shot was fairly straightforward. A little boost of vibrance and some "Pro contrast" in NIK to bring out the popping details was really all that was required. I always start in Lightroom and do the finishing touches in Photoshop and NIK.
In my camera bag
I shoot landscape and wildlife, mostly birds so I carry the standard trio of lenses for the Sony a7R II (16-30, 24-70, 70-300mm), a Nikon D810 with Tamron 150-600mm telephoto and Sigma 150mm macro lenses. I try to be prepared for anything so this mix seems to cover all the bases for me.
With desert photography the interest is in the light and shadow creating drama on textures. There is very little in the way of trees and plant life typically so knowledge of light and how it effects the area is really important. Mid-day light is rarely a good thing as side shadows bring out all those nooks and crannies that create drama. morning and evening cast dramatic shadows and bring out the vibrant colors.

See more amazing photos, follow jamesjohnston_3471

Join and share your creativity.
Already have a ViewBug account? Log In

*By signing up, you agree to our Terms of Use and to receive ViewBug emails & updates and acknowledge that read our Privacy Policy.