Tag Archives: Arches National Park

Some Photographic Highlights of Arches and Canyonlands NP

Earlier this year I spent the better part of week photographing the area around Moab, Utah .  I had visited once before back in 2013, but I only had a couple days to cover nearby National Parks (Arches and Canyonlands).    That visit was spent running around like a maniac photographing the highlights, especially Delicate Arch, False Mesa and Mesa Arch.  Although I was ecstatic with the images I came home with (see the next three shots), I was painfully aware that I had failed to fully explore the area’s photographic potential.  I intended to better address that opportunity this time.

Delicate Arch at Sunset

My favorite image from my 2013 visit: Delicate Arch in Arches National Park at sunset. An icon…and with good reason!  To read a previous blog with photo tips about Delicate Arch, click here!

False Kiva afternoon

I’m glad I got to photograph False Kiva during my trip in 2013 because I may never get the chance again. It was closed to the public in the fall of 2018 because of vandalism and it is anyone’s guess when/if it will reopen.

Some Photographic Highlights of Arches and Canyonlands NP

Mesa Arch is as incredible as you’ve heard. But it is a zoo at sunrise. Don’t expect a quiet, solitary experience…but the view is worth every crowded, tripod-packed, wall-to-wall photographer minute.

Day One

I started my first morning at Moab by making the short drive to Arches National Park.  My goal was a sunrise shot that has been done so many times it is almost considered trite:  Turret Arch framed by the arch in the North Window.

 Some Photographic Highlights of Arches and Canyonlands NP

Turret Arch viewed thru the North Window at sunrise.

I found the view to be amazing…which wasn’t surprising…that’s why everyone wants the shot.  But what was surprising was that it isn’t an easy shot to get.  I got there well before dawn to scout around and slowly realized that to get to the spot where you can see Turret Arch thru the North Window, you had to crawl over a huge boulder that had a good 30 foot drop on three sides.  I tried it three times before I could make it.  To be honest, my heart was pounding and the adrenaline was flowing…. the fall to either side looked like a bottomless abyss as I tried to find handholds on the smooth sandstone boulder.  As I blindly lowered myself down to the other side I had one of those moments when you wonder: “Is this really a good idea?”   Yes, I do love the image I captured but just the same, I won’t return unless I bring some rope and a buddy (at least that way someone could tell them where the body is located).

After my pulse calmed and the adrenaline shakes subsided, I headed further into the Park.  One spot that I had completely missed on my previous trip was a small panel of Native American petroglyphs near the Wolfe Ranch on the Delicate Arch trail.  

Some Photographic Highlights of Arches and Canyonlands NP

The Wolfe Ranch panel is actually carved into the patinaed stone.  The lighter colored, non weathered rock provides contrast

Some Photographic Highlights of Arches and Canyonlands NP

The Courtyard panel is actually painted, which is pretty rare…and unfortunately susceptible to weathering and vandals.

Over the past few years, I’ve started specifically seeking out petroglyphs to photograph. I find them fascinating and surprisingly beautiful in a stark, non-embellished way. 

Some Photographic Highlights of Arches and Canyonlands NP

This 40-year-old photo shows the art before the vandalism

Another panel I hiked to later in the week was the Courtyard Wash Panel (between Arches and Moab).  Sadly, it was defaced by some morons back in the 1980s.  The vandalism resulted in a loss of much of the color and definition but the figures are still quite striking.

 

 

 

As the hours passed the light became more harsh so I shifted from photographing to scouting.  But even with direct light, the dramatic clouds and sandstone monoliths still caught my eye. 

Some Photographic Highlights of Arches and Canyonlands NP

Courthouse Rock is impressive at any time of the day. Processing in black and white really suited this dramatic setting.

For sunset, I wanted to capture a panorama from an incredible vista I had seen on the internet.  Unfortunately, none of the photos I had seen had provided much info on exactly where the heck it was.  A bit of time on Google Earth had narrowed it down but I still had to invest an hour or so wandering around in the desert until I found the spot.  And I’m glad I did!  As the sun began to set, a wicked rainstorm blew in from the north darkening the skies in the distance.  Fortunately, the sky behind me to the west was clear and the result left me in awe: 

Balanced Rock overlook sunset at Arches National Park with storm and rainbow

A sunset that was all I could have ever hoped for.

Low-angle, golden sunlight illuminated the red sandstone which contrasted against the dark and threatening sky. Then, just to top it off, the rain spawned a rainbow.  Truly a spectacle. 

Some Photographic Highlights of Arches and Canyonlands NP

A telephoto shot of Balanced Rock. You can see Turret Arch in the background just to the right of Balanced Rock.

So where is this spot? Actually, it is easy to get to once you know where it is.  Just drive north on the main road (Arches Scenic Drive) to the Balanced Rock parking lot.  Instead of turning right into the parking lot, turn left onto the dirt road directly across the street from the parking lot.  This is Willow Flats Drive (BLM 378).  Go about 1000 feet (this is past the bathrooms) and park on the side of the road just before the sign that informs you that this is a 4WD road (the road up to this point is fine for regular rental cars).  From here, hike about 400 feet north along the rim of the ridge.  The vista is to your right (east). 

That night I headed to Canyonlands to try to catch a moon-rise at Mesa Arch.  I’d heard that moonlight can light up the bottom of the arch (a look similar to the iconic sunrise shot).  Unfortunately, the skies were overcast and although I enjoyed the solitude and quiet of the desert at the night, I didn’t create any photographs that were particularly impressive.

Day Two

Back to the hotel in Moab, four hours of sleep and then off to Dead Horse Point State Park (near the entrance to Canyonlands NP).  I had photographed this overlook six years ago but the view was so impressive I had to try it again. This overlook is on the point of a tall ridge that allows you views to the east:

Some Photographic Highlights of Arches and Canyonlands NP

Sunbreak at Dead Horse Point. That odd looking “lake” just below the sun is a potash evaporation pond…man-made but beautiful just the same.

A five minute walk on the paved trail and you come to the western viewpoint:

Some Photographic Highlights of Arches and Canyonlands NP

I loved this twisted and warped little tree that was clinging to the rim overlooking the iconic Colorado River Gooseneck.

My last trip to Moab was during the summer and my son and I still laugh about the time we tried to hike one afternoon when the mercury hit 105.  After a miserable hour slogging thru the baking sand we decided to head back into town grab a couple of cold drinks and relax in an air-conditioned movie theater.  As it turned out the A/C in the theater was busted, but at least we weren’t in the sun!

Well, the spring weather on this trip was wonderful.  Temps never got higher than the low 70s and I took full advantage by hitting a bunch of hiking trails.  One particularly enjoyable trek was the  Park Avenue Trail.  It was like I had the whole place to myself.

Some Photographic Highlights of Arches and Canyonlands NP

Near the trail-head of Park Avenue Trail looking down into the valley.

Arches was odd that way:  when I would drive into the Park before dawn, I wouldn’t see a soul.  But by mid morning long lines of cars were backed up at the entrance waiting to get in and herds of tourists filled every parking lot and pull-off.   But even in the middle of the day, whenever I hiked away from my car for five minutes it was like I was the only person there.  I’d bet my Nikon that most visitors never get more than 100′ feet away from their vehicle…heck, some of them probably never even roll down a window.    Those poor folks really don’t know what they are missing.

That evening I made my way to the Green River Overlook at Canyonlands (about an hour from Moab).  This is an incredible, drive-up location with an elevated view of the Green River and the surrounding badlands that is particularly impressive at sunset. The late afternoon cross-lighting on the cliffs is really quite dramatic view and the colors are rich and earthy.  My favorite image of the evening was made with a long telephoto lens which allowed me to pick out details of the colorful and tortured cliffs cut by the river.

Some Photographic Highlights of Arches and Canyonlands NP

Sunset at the Green River Overlook

Day Three

At 3:30 am I was up and heading back into Arches.   I made a quick stop to photograph Courthouse Tower which was brightly illuminated by the full moon:

Some Photographic Highlights of Arches and Canyonlands NP

If it wasn’t for the stars, you would think this shot of Courthouse Towers was taken in broad daylight.

My goal for the morning was one of the most memorable locations in the park, Double Arch.  A quick five minute hike from the parking area and I was setting up my three small led lights on tripods.  Over the next hour, I experimented with different locations for the lights and adjusted their light output settings to illuminate the areas of the arch not lit up by the moon.   This trip coincided with the Lyrid Meteor Shower .  It was pretty cool to see the ionized gas trail of the meteors as they burned up in the atmosphere 60 miles over my head. 

Standing alone under this massive arch with falling stars streaking across the heavens above you is a humbling experience.  It is moments like this that remind me again why I adore photography.  

Double Arch night photography with comet

Self Portrait at Double Arch. I was tickled pink to capture one of the Lyrid comets in this exposure.

Then I made the short walk over to Turret Arch to see if I could make use of the full moon.  This image was my best effort: 

Some Photographic Highlights of Arches and Canyonlands NP

Tower Arch frames the full moon

After sunrise, I crashed at the hotel for a bit then headed out again in early afternoon.  I had heard raves about the Devil’s Garden Loop Trail which meanders by a half-dozen arches along its 7 mile (round trip) length.  I wanted to do some night photography at some of the arches along this trail so I wanted to scout it out during daylight before returning during the dark.   

Possibly the most impressive sight on the hike was Double O Arch.  Double O features an expansive and inspiring view of the distant landscape through its larger arch, especially when the afternoon sun lights up the red rock.  I was there for over an hour photographing from different perspectives and chatting with a volunteer Park Ranger.  It is one of those classic landscapes of the American West that leaves an deep and lasting impression. 

Some Photographic Highlights of Arches and Canyonlands NP

Photoshop Alert: No, I really didn’t climb atop Double O Arch…I just Photo-shopped myself up there. NPS rules forbid climbing on the Arches to avoid damage to the soft sandstone (and the Park guests)

On the way out of the park that afternoon, I had to stop for a quick shot of Skyline Arch since it was literally right by the road. 

Some Photographic Highlights of Arches and Canyonlands NP

Skyline Arch

Although it was getting late, I squeezed in one more hike to check out Broken Arch.  Unfortunately, it was in shadows by the time I got there so my photos were pretty blah.  To make matters worse the hike took longer than I had anticipated which made me late for leaving for my sunset shot at Fisher Towers. By the time I got there, the towers were in the shadows.  I had missed the light. 

Yes, I am blatantly guilty of packing my shooting schedule full.    My trips would be more relaxing and laid-back if I didn’t plan out every last minute, but that just isn’t who I am.  Often my over-scheduling pays off…this time it didn’t.    On the other hand, all the hiking helped me lose five pounds before I returned home a week later!

Day Four

Up again at o’dark thirty and back to the Devil’s Garden Loop Trail.  When I pulled into the parking lot this time, it sure looked different.  Twelve hours earlier I had been forced to circle twice to find an open parking spot.  Now there were only two cold and lonely cars sleeping at the trail-head.   

One of the things I had been looking for the day before was an arch that faced north. 

Pine Tree Arch Star Trails Night Photography at Arches National Park

The moonlight provided plenty of illumination for Pine Tree Arch

I hoped to make a long exposure star-trail shot of the North Star through one of the arches.  At every arch I passed, I’d pull out my iPhone and use my PhotoPills app to “see” how it would appear at night.   The best candidate was Pine Tree Arch but even so it was a tight shot.  It would only work if I used a wide lens (14mm) and positioned myself in a tortured spot between two shrubs with the camera few inches off the sand. 

 To make a star-trail long exposure shot of the north star, I have found that you need to take a series of four-minute exposures…at least 15 of them.  Fortunately my intervalometer will do that automatically. 

So I programmed it, started it up, then laid down in the chilly sand and spent the next hour thinking about rattlesnakes slithering up to me looking for body heat.   Well… I thought about some other stuff too but my mind seems to go off in uncomfortable directions of its own choosing when I’m alone in the desert during the dead of night. 

I combined the shots with a free app called StarStax after I got home which yielded this image: 

After wrapping up this photo, I really wanted to get a sunrise shot at Partition Arch which was a bit more than a mile further down the Devil’s Garden Trail…but I wasn’t sure I could hike it safely at night.  You have to walk on top of some tall and sketchy sandstone “fins’ to get there…which wasn’t an issue during daylight but I wasn’t sure I wanted to tackle it at night.  I decided to at least head down the trail and see how it looked.

Some Photographic Highlights of Arches and Canyonlands NP

Afternoon view of Landscape Arch

Along the way, I stopped at Landscape Arch.  It is certainly impressive.  It has a width of over 305 feet which makes it the largest arch in the world.  I had photographed it the day before but it faces east, so I was shooting directly into the sun.  This resulted in a neat sunburst but the harsh contrast and dark shadows didn’t really show the arch to its full advantage:

 

But at 5 am, with the arch slightly illuminated by the approaching dawn and the moon positioned so it was bursting along the base of the arch, the view was much improved. 

Some Photographic Highlights of Arches and Canyonlands NP

Pre-dawn ‘moonburst’ at Landscape Arch

By now it was about 5:40 am and dawn was an hour away  Between the full moon and the lightening skies to the east, the visibility was pretty good along the trail.  So I decided to try for the sunrise shot at Partition Arch.  As it turned out my fears were unfounded and I had no problem getting there safely at least 30 minutes before dawn. 

Partition Arch isn’t nearly as well known as Mesa Arch, which is kind of odd since they have a lot in common.  The bottom of both sandstone arches glow a glorious red as they reflect the light from the rising sun while hosting incredible elevated views of the landscape and distant horizon through their arches. Plus they are roughly the same size and are about the same distance from Moab. 

However, a sunrise visit to these two beautiful locals is a totally different experience.  If I had been at Mesa Arch at that moment, I would have been lined up elbow to elbow with a couple dozen other photographers jockeying for position.  But at Partition, I was all alone. 

The best reason that explains why Mesa Arch is an internationally recognized icon and Partition is relatively unknown might be simply that you can photograph Mesa Arch after a ten minute walk on an easy trail.  On the other hand, Partition requires a 90 minutes hike in the dark along a much more challenging path.

I was enjoying the view and solitude when ten minutes before sunrise I was surprised by another photographer stumbling down the trail.  As he set up we got to talking and he excitedly told me that he had made the hike to Partition twice before hoping to catch a sunburst as the sun breached the horizon thru the arch, but the weather hadn’t cooperated…so he was back hoping the third time was a charm. 

It was!

Sunrise at Partition Arch in Arches National Park near Moab Utah

Personally, I like this view of Partition Arch every bit as much as the better known Mesa Arch

 

Some Photographic Highlights of Arches and Canyonlands NP

Partition Arch has a large ‘piercing’ next to the Arch that you can use as a window for the rising sun

As the sun appeared, the sandstone started to glow as if it was living thing.  I had preselected a few different perspectives and with only two of us there I was able to easily waltz my tripod between all of them before the magic morning light faded.   All too soon I was saying goodbye to my new friend and headed back down the trail to the parking lot.  It was a killer way to complete my visit to the Moab area but I was already thinking about a hot cup of coffee and my next destination:  the Bisti Badlands.  But more about that trip later.

Moab is one of my favorite areas to photograph in the Southwest.  It is a funky, quaint little town that is a great base for photographic excursions to Arches NP, Canyonlands NP and multiple other nearby locations.  Even after two trips, there are still a half dozen or more nearby locations that I haven’t had the chance to visit…yet. 

Cheers!
Jeff

 

 

 

 

Some Photographic Highlights of Arches and Canyonlands NP

 

 

Posted in Southwest U.S.A. Also tagged , |

Delicate Arch Photo Guide and Tips…an Icon that lives up to the Hype

If you are a landscape photographer, then you have seen images of Delicate Arch…probably hundreds of them.  After all, this incredibly graceful 65 foot tall sculpture of entrada sandstone is a photographic icon.  Majestic, colossal, dramatic, colorful…I mean, what more could any photographer ask for?  So earlier this year when I was planning a photo shoot at Delicate Arch, I was pretty surprised when I googled “Delicate Arch Photo Tips” and got only a handful of hits.   If you are like me, Delicate Arch is not a spot that you will get to visit often…so you don’t have time to learn things the ‘hard way’…you want to be prepared so that when you get there you are able to maximize your time.  This article is intended to help you do just that.

Delicate Arch Photo Guide and Tips...an Icon that lives up to the Hype
Summer Monsoons can result in wonderful sunset compositions…(Click on photo to see full resolution version)

The Basics:

Be Safe.

A lot of the folks that trek to Delicate Arch the first time clearly don’t have any idea what to expect.  This isn’t the typical National Park ‘scenic overview trail’ where you drive up, walk ten minutes on a paved trail, take a look and walk back.

  1. Listen to that voice in the back of your head.
    • This location isn’t inherently dangerous, but there are cliffs and drop-offs.  If you stick to the main trails, pay attention to where your feet are going (rather than looking out into the distance for your next shot) and listen to that little voice that asks you “Is this really a good idea?”…then you will be fine.  Just use common sense.
    • With that said, it is a truism that when any photographer worth their salt visits an iconic location, they want to get a unique shot.  Not the standard postcard view that has already been printed a million times (okay, we want to get the postcard shot too…but we really want to capture something NEW).
      •  So…if that sounds like you, please keep in mind that at least two photographers have died at Delicate Arch.  Both of them slipped and fell.   One of them was climbing on the sheer cliff behind the Arch and the other guy was in the ‘bowl’ in front of it.  My guess it they both didn’t listen to that little voice and went a bit too far trying to get that unique shot.
  2. This really is a HIKE.  Yes, it is only 1.5 miles to the arch, but remember that you are at an altitude of 4,800’…if you are a flatlander like me, you will find the thinner air will sap some of your energy.  There is also a 500′ elevation gain.  The hike should take you about an hour depending on your pace.
    • There will likely be tons of folks on the trail…you certainly won’t be alone, so there shouldn’t be any chance of getting lost.
    • Dave and Ginger Rathbun have a detailed article about the hike that includes lots of photos, use this link to see more
    • Wear good hiking boots…you will appreciate the traction when you are trying to keep your balance on the slickrock that makes up much of the trail.
    • Summer temperatures in excess of 100F are common.  No shade.  There are no sources of water, except what you bring with you, so bring LOTS of water…at least a liter or two.  A couple bottles of Aquafina stuffed in your pockets isn’t going to cut it
    • A big hat with a wide brim, sunscreen and sunglasses will help
    • Bring rain-gear for you and your camera (unless the temperature is below freezing).   The last time I photographed the Arch the forecast had “ZERO” percent of rain…and yes, it rained anyway.   Raingear is lightweight and good insurance to have.  Also, there is no shelter out at the arch and slickrock is called slickrock for good reason.
    • If you are going for a sunset shot, bring a good headlamp. In fact, bring a spare or two.  If you leave right at sunset, you should have enough light to get back to the car lot.  But if you get enraptured with the sunset and say a bit longer than you planned (it’s happened to all of us) you really wouldn’t want to find yourself on that trail in the pitch black.
    • The arch is in an exposed area and the temperature drops pretty quickly after the sun sets.  In the summer, that is a wonderful thing.  However, if you are visiting at another time of the year you might get chilly or downright frozen after dusk…bring something warm in your backpack for that hike back.

How to find it

  1. Delicate Arch is located in Arches National Park (use this link to see their website) just north of Moab Utah.
    • If you are coming from Moab, take Main Street north out of town (main street becomes UT-191).   After you cross the bridge over the Colorado river, drive 1.8 miles and turn right into the entrance for Arches National Park (Nice big sign).
    • If you’re coming from I-70, take Exit 182 (Crescent Junction) and drive south on US 191S about 27 miles.   Turn left into the entrance for Arches National Park.
  2. After passing the fee station ($10 per vehicle per week) continue past the visitor center and then up the hill.  At 11.7 miles, take the road on your right which will have a sign for Delicate Arch and Wolfe Ranch.  After 1.2 miles you will reach the Delicate Arch/Wolfe Ranch parking area (here is a link on Google maps to this spot).  Park here and look for the trailhead on the edge of the parking lot.  The parking lot often fills up near sunset, if so, there is a bit more parking on the right side of the road just past the main parking lot.
    • It should take you about 30 minutes from downtown Moab to get to the Delicate Arch Parking lot.
  3. For those of you that like to do it yourself:  Here are the GPScoordinates
    • Trailhead of Delicate Arch Trail: 38.73563N / -109.52049W (38° 44’ 8.268” / -109° 31’ 13.7634”)
    • Delicate Arch is located at: 38.743501N / -109.499327W (38° 44’ 36.6036” / -109° 29’ 57.5766”)

      Delicate Arch Photo Guide and Tips...an Icon that lives up to the Hype

      A shot from the ‘classic’ perspective.

 When to go

  1. Season
    • Summer
      • Hot and the crowds can be frustrating
      • On the other hand, the summer monsoon season often results in some incredible cloud formations and aerial pyrotechnics.
    • Winter
      • The most impressive shots I’ve seen of the Arch have been winter shots with a layer of snow. The contrast of blue sky, red sandstone and white snow can be incredible. Check out this shot by Gleb Tarassenko.
    • Fall & Spring
      • Fewer tourists, not as hot, but often not as many clouds as summertime.
  2. Time of Day
    • Sunrise and sunset are wonderful times to be at the Arch, but of the two, sunsets would be my first choice.  The setting sun reflecting off of the Arch’s sandstone makes it nearly glow and its colors become fully saturated.
    • Mid-Day
      • During the summer, mid-day isn’t fit for mad dogs or Englishmen.  Insanely hot and unless you have a storm with photogenic clouds, it’s just not worth your while…go hit something else in the park instead!
    • Night
      • I had planned to photograph the Milky Way rising thru the Arch my last trip there.  Unfortunately the summer monsoons resulted in cloud cover every night so I added that shot to my future ‘bucket list.”
      • Other photographers have done outstanding work of the Arch at night.  Take a look at this link to see night images by Brad Goldpaint.  His work is breathtaking and it gives you a goal to shoot for next time you visit here.
      • The walk back in the dark could be treacherous, so I wouldn’t try it unless you’ve made the hike a couple times, you don’t try to do it alone and you have good headlamps.

What to Expect/What to Shoot when you get there

  1. First of all, don’t expect to be alone..unless you are there during a blizzard or at night.  More than likely there will be plenty of tourists there and EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM WILL GO AND STAND DIRECTLY BELOW THE ARCH TO HAVE THEIR PHOTO TAKEN.  But in the interest of full disclosure, I did the same..and then I took photos of my son under the arch as well.   Just expect it and be prepared to use some “Content Aware Fill” in Photoshop to clone them outta there.  After the sunset, most of the tourists will bolt for the parking lot, so you can often get some nice people-free shots then.  Keep in mind though, that a human silhouette can really help to give the arch a sense of scale.
  2. Be prepared to feel like a foreigner because Americans are often a minority of the folks you will meet there!  Seriously, it can be like being at a mini UN.  I challenge you to ask everyone there where they are from…you will likely be shocked about the number of nationalities that are represented.
  3. There is a photo op that you shouldn’t miss about 50 yards before the end of the trail.  This is Frame Arch…named because you can use this arch to ‘frame’ a shot of Delicate Arch.  It is located up and to your right as you approach Delicate Arch.  Just don’t do what I did… I was so excited when I finally got to Delicate Arch that I totally forgot about Frame Arch.  Here is a link  to an impressive photo by Tom Horton showing you the shot I missed.
  4. The classic shot of the Arch is from the edge of the ‘bowl.’  This is where you first see the arch as the trail comes out from behind a wall of sandstone.  This perspective will allow you to frame the distant La Sal Mountains thru the Arch.  Use this link to see this spot on Google maps (look for the placemark labeled “Perspective A”).  The last time I was there, a storm bank positioned itself behind the Arch…it made for a dramatic shot, but the mountains were hidden: 
    • This link will take you to a nice shot by Dan Hartford of this same view showing the La Sals thru the Arch.
  5. If you move further to the left (east) along the rim of the ‘punchbowl’ in front of the arch (careful of your footing), the perspective changes.  I was lucky that a break in the clouds opened up right at sunset and illuminated the distant mountains to the right of the Arch in this image.  The maroon color was just incredible.
  6. If you move even further to the left (where the tourists line up in a cue to have their photos taken under the arch), the perspective changes again.  This link will show this location on Google maps (look for the placemark labeled “Perspective B”).  I was blessed with an incredible sunset here back in July, and from this spot with a very wide angle lens, I was able to capture the full extent of the scene.  See below.

    Delicate Arch Photo Guide and Tips...an Icon that lives up to the Hype

    16mm glass was able to catch the full sunset panorama…including the incredible ‘punchbowl’ in front of the Arch.

  7. Panoramas beg to be taken here.  Go ahead and take a number of overlapping shots which will allow you to create a high resolution, wide panorama in Photoshop when you get home.
  8. HDR really helps for sunrises/sunsets.  Otherwise, the dynamic range will likely be more than your sensor can handle .  All of my shots on this blog were HDRs.
  9. Tripod…of course.
  10. Bring your widest lens.  This is an incredibly expansive vista and wide glass will help you capture all of it.
  11. Have a zoom with you as well, it will allow you to shoot the La Sal mountains thru the arch as well as arch close-ups.  Here is a detail shot of Windows Arch  by my Swiss friend Carlos Wunderlin.  Most photographers (including myself) would never think of framing only part of an Arch because we are enraptured by the grand panorama and want to get it all in the shot.
  12. A polarizer will likely come in handy.  Of course, if you are photographing in the Southwest, you always have one of those with you…right?!
  13. When you get to the arch, use your PhotoPills app  ($9.99)on your cellphone to see exactly where the sun will set (This app only costs $8.99 and you will be surprised how often you will use it).
  14. If you going to shoot at night, then PhotoPills will again be invaluable in allowing you to ‘see’ where the Milky Way will be.  The cool thing about this app is that you can key in future dates so you can ‘see’  what the sky will look like at a particular date, time and place in the future.

So there you have it.  Certainly not an exhaustive study of everything you can do at Delicate Arch, but enough to ensure that you are well prepared for your first trip!  I’d love to hear your own insights and suggestions about this wonderful place…just pop me a comment and I’ll update this article with additional info.

Have fun and keep shooting!
Jeff

 

PS:  I’ve written another blog about some of the other fantastic photo ops at Arches National Park (and nearby Canyonlands NP).  Check it out by clicking here.

 

Delicate Arch Photo Guide and Tips

 

Posted in Landscape Photography, Southwest U.S.A. Also tagged , |