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Photograph Bald Mountain in Utah

Kamas, Utah


Added by Greg Harlow

Learn all the best angles to photograph the popular Bald Mountain in the Uinta Mountain Range, Utah.

Bald Mountain is a 12,000' peak in the Uintas, and of the most popular hikes in the Uinta Mountains of Utah. If you're looking for more details on the hike, check out the adventure Hike Bald Mountain in the Uintas.

Not only is it incredible to photograph from the top, with panoramic views of dozens of lakes, but there are locations below, such as Mirror Lake, to highlight and photograph the Bald Mountain in reflection.

Let’s start from the top.  Bald Mountain is a 2.6 mile trail near Kamas, Utah.  There is a parking lot with bathrooms,  and the trail is very vertical and is full of switchbacks.  

Once you are about 2/3 of the way through the hike,  you exit the timberline,  and the trail disappears,  but the only way up…is up.  You will know where to go as it becomes open and visible.  Some scrambling is involved.

To the east, you will over look the entire Uinta Mountain range from it's highest peak,  all the way to the ski resorts in Salt Lake City.  One of the most expansive views I’ve ever experienced.

Sunsets are highly encouraged,  as the colors will reflect off the dozens (I counted 37) lakes below.  

The view is difficult to encompass in one lens,  so I suggest bringing a super wide angle lens. 

Lets quickly review what super wide angle lenses are. On crop framed sensors,  the widest available... before distortion occurs... is a 10mm. On a full frame camera,  14mm is the widest available.   A fisheye lens will be fantastic as well if looking for a specific style…but it distorts the landscape in order to squeeze it all into the lens.  

Still on top of Mount Baldy,  to the west is an equally expansive view,  and the mountains will glow red as the sun sets behind you.  Mirror lake also sits at the bottom,  which is such a beautiful sheet of glass (hence the name,)  and the reflection is nearly perfect because it is wind shielded by tall pines and location below high dramatic peaks.  From above, it is great to photograph with clouds.   

Obviously,  sunrise from above will have the inverse effect of shooting east and west.

Weather is very unstable in mountain ranges, so bring rain protection for your gear just in case.  Shooting storms from up top is also highly encouraged.

From below, Bald Mountain is gradual and not appealing to photographs when shooting from the west side of the mountain.   The east side however,  is steep and very gorgeous.  

There are several locations to search for the right angle, but I have found shooting from the shores of Mirror Lake provide a perfect angle,  and fantastic opportunities for reflection.  There will be wild flowers in the spring/summer as foreground objects,  and both sunset and sunrise are epic in their own rights.  

 I suggest hanging out on the south side of lake for better framing options.

Sunrise from below will light up the face of Bald Mountain,  and provide a clear mirror image when framed up from a low angle. Exposing this image properly will not be difficult.

Use a Graduated ND Filter at sunset, as the sun dips directly over the mountain to get a clean sunburst,  properly exposing the sky and foreground.   

What is a graduated neutral density filter (ND Grad)? Essentially it is a rectangular, optically correct piece glass (lens filter) with a gradient from dark to light. It is called “neutral” because the dark part of the filter should not make any color differences. 

I strongly suggest investing in one when shooting all landscape photography.

Down below you will want to use a basic wide angle lens in the ranges of 18mm, to 24mm to potentially 35mm.  Again, unless going for specific effects.

Full frame vs. Crop framed sensors make a huge difference in lens width options,  I suggest learning what sensor your camera has, if you don’t already know. :)

Explore this land of many lakes with awesome hiking trails all around, and wildlife abundant. Moose are extremely prevalent in the Uintas.  The warm seasons will definitely reward you with some promising photographs. 

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