A large, salty lake in the desert might seem the most monotonous of subjects, but in fact the opposite is true. The Great Salt Lake in the western USA has a way with light that produces myriad colors and shapes — it becomes a palette from which to paint endless scenes, both real and abstract. In winter, the effect is exaggerated, as if the observer has stepped off of Earth and onto another planet.
The Great Salt Lake, Utah, is in an ideal geographic position to play host to spectacular sunsets all year around. It backs up to the tall Wasatch Mountains, where clouds driven by prevailing winds stack up. But in the direction of the setting sun is the vast salt pan known as the Salt Flats with its clear skies and long vistas, giving the red rays a direct shot at the mountain clouds. The result is the brilliant orange and red clouds and alpenglow for which western US sunsets are famous.
This setting is Antelope Island on the eastern side of the Great Salt Lake, specifically White Rock Bay. I especially like winter sunsets, because the snow picks up the red light so well and contrasts it with dark rocks. Here recent storms have left pools of water on the sand, nicely reflecting the glowing orange clouds. A perfect evening in an unusual place.