Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer | White Pocket Landscape Photography: Weather on the Plateau

White Pocket Landscape Photography: Weather on the Plateau

June 04, 2013  •  7 Comments


Ominous storm clouds at White Pocket,  Paria Canyon - Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness area. Weather on the Plateau, South Coyote Buttes, Paria Canyon - Vermilion Cliffs, Arizona-Utah Border “Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Capture My Arizona Photo of the Day, NIKON D200,f/18 @ 14 mm1/30ISO 100

"White Pocket is part of the 112,500 acre Paria Canyon – Vermillion Cliffs wilderness located about 30 miles west of Page, Arizona. This remote acreage was officially designated a national wilderness area in 1984 under the Arizona Wilderness Act. Unlike North Coyote Buttes (the “Wave”) and other protected areas,  no passes are required for access and hiking at White Pocket. Still, the area is remote and the deep “sugar sand” covered road is  impassable certain times of the year, even for high clearance four-wheel-drive vehicles. With all of that in mind, we were delighted to have the place to ourselves on our first visit to White Pockets a few years ago. 

"Brain Rock" and a small reflecting pool, following rain showers at White Pocket, Vermilion Cliffs. Dream World, White Pocket, Paria Plateau in Northern Arizona

Since that time, the location has been published in Arizona Highways magazine and it is no longer a best-kept secret. In fact, during our most recent visit to the area, it seem like a pre-announced photography outing with about 15 fully outfitted landscape photographers on site. All were friendly and accommodating, some even offering photography tips and sharing high-end lenses. Most gratifying, everyone was respectful of the land, grateful for the rare opportunity to opportunity to visit this unique place.

NIKON D200,f/22 @ 17 mm1/20ISO 100

Sky reflection in transient pool at White Pocket, Paria Canyon - Vermilion Cliffs, Arizona - Utah border.  Eye to the Sky Reflection, White Pocket, Paria Plateau in Northern Arizona

Everyone else left the area when dark storm clouds and rain emerged in the late morning.  We remained at White Pocket a couple more hours, which proved to be the most worthwhile experience.

 D200,f/22 @ 12 mm1/6ISO 100

White pockets is comprised of hard white and pastel colored rock, some having a glazed porcelain like surface. Some of the formations resemble “brain rock,” while other sections have a smooth flowing appearance. On the day of the storm, the “pockets” were full of fresh clear water, displaying mirror image reflections of the dramatic stormy sky. After the rain, the white rock was transformed to a warm taupe color, creating a whole new visual experience, which remained through the time of our departure.

In the aftermath of heavy rains, reflections of colorful rock formations at White Pocket,  Vermilion Cliffs, Arizona.  Reflections, White Pocket, Paria Plateau in Northern Arizona

Despite the rain and extensive flooding of the road, we made it safely out of White Pocket and back to Lee's Ferry, Arizona, with no problems. The trip home conjured up memories of our first journey to the area, when we broke a shock absorber on the jeep, and a more recent trip involving a flat tire and broken tire jack.

NIKON D200,f/20 @ 18 mm1/25ISO 100

Rock outcroppings laced with mineral deposits at White Pocket,  Paria Canyon - Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness Area, Arizona and Utah Border.  White Pocket, Paria Plateau in Northern Arizona

That time, we were truly outside of the electronic communication loop, with no cell phone service or clear “On Star” access. Fortunately, we were “rescued” by a true professional photographer and a real gentleman, John Weller. Refusing to accept any money for his time and effort, John said, "I'm glad to have my little Subaru help out a Hummer!" We are still grateful for the assistance and remain inspired by John’s recent book, Great Sand Dunes National Park: Between Light and Shadow."

NIKON D300,f/22 @ 20 mm1/100ISO 200

Excerpt from Windswept Landscape: Images from the Arizona-Utah Border, Tom Gendron, Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer and Steve Stilwell. 


Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer




Evan Herron(non-registered)
I have to say, you have beautiful photographs of White Pocket! I am visiting White Pocket in late December and was going to do a sunrise session. However, since it may be very cold I was thinking about doing a late morning session. Though, I'm not sure how much I will like the late morning sun as compared to an early morning sunrise. Can you give me some advise on this? Thanks!
Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer
Robert - Thanks very much for your thoughtful comment. These photos were take in an early October visit to White Pocket. I have also encountered similar weather and small reflecting pools in November. We were just at White Pocket this last weekend again. On the first day, dark skies, lots of wind and spitting rain, but no water pools. The next morning was very clear and blazing hot, with a few scattered clouds in the early morning. I think you will just love this area. Thanks again. Marcus
Robert Mance(non-registered)
Absolutely beautiful photography! This place is definitely on my bucket list! I was wondering ... the dates I'm looking at in your blog is June. Is that when the photos were taken? This is exactly the kind of 'weather' I'm looking for.

Thanks so much!
Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer
Jorge Z - Thanks so much for your feedback. I felt very fortunate to visit this location with some weather and the reflecting pools. Marcus
Jorge Z(non-registered)
Wow! Great photography, I'm a big fun of reflections and you have done a superb job.
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