Goosenecks State Park (Utah)

When I was organizing my third trip to the Southwest, I was extremely thorough. I planned nearly all the sunrises, sunsets and everything in between. But, the Goosenecks State Park in Utah was an unplanned and unexpected golden nugget that I only stumbled upon by accident.

I was on my way from spending a few hours capturing the sunrise at Valley of the Gods to the focal point of the day – Monument Valley. When I saw a road sign for Goosenecks State Park, I was not able to Google it since I did not have internet in the area. Luckily, I decided to explore it anyway.

That was a decision I do not regret.

The view of the San Juan River from an elevation of 300m is surreal because of its enormous scale. It was a clear day and I could see the mesas and buttes of Monument Valley on the horizon.

Goosenecks State Park (Utah) 1
Utah. Goosenecks State Parkail
Loc: 37.173707, -109.927772


Although the day was beautiful, shooting was a challenge. The edge of the canyon obstructed the view of the river and there was no way to climb down for a better perspective. The featured photo is the best shot I managed to take, but the river is still partially blocked.


It was a straight forward Lightroom Rapid Editing workflow. I used a single RAW file.

First I cropped the image a bit tighter and changed the aspect ratio from 3×2 to 4×3 aspect ratio.

Next, I used Lightroom Rapid Editing, applying Point Lobos from Landscape Collection style preset first and when I was happy with the final look used the adjustments presets from TOOLKIT collection to fine tune the image.

Lightroom Editing Formula: Point Lobos (17, 21, 32, 34)​

At the very end, I jumped to Photoshop and used Topaz plugins DeNoise and Detail to boost the local contrast and to reduce digital noise.

Before & After Transformation

by Viktor Elizarov
I am a travel photographer and educator from Montreal, Canada, and a founder of PhotoTraces. I travel around the world and share my experiences here. Feel free to check my Travel Portfolio and download Free Lightroom Presets.

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