Up on a ridge in Arches National Park I had spotted a location to photograph a great panorama of sunset over the park. Of course, like any photographer there was a significant amount of waiting. So there I was, perched on this rock with my camera at this great expansive scene. Then I turned around.
After not returning back to my car from the previous night’s shooting until after 11pm I knew the morning was going to arrive too quickly. Packed my car and headed off for the 45 min drive to my next location, Arches National Park. For whatever reason I knew I should photograph Arches but internally I wasn’t overly excited. Of course this changed when I woke up in the parking lot about an hour before sunrise and saw the landscape before me. In a serendipitous offering the entire Milky Way was arching over the exact landscape I was walking toward. Brilliant! I got about 30ft from the car before my camera bag was already on the ground and camera being prepared for the first photograph of the day. While the sky still felt dark the slight glow of dawn was already apparent through the camera’s sensitive settings. With sunrise still over 45 min away I was amazed at what could be seen. Over on the far right was the distant glow from the town of Moab. I made a number of panoramas of the scene before me and then off to my intended destination for the morning. Now if every day could start like this… 🙂
Settling in to my Utah adventure I had still yet to have that light that photographer’s chase. And knowing that desert country can be fickle with clouds I knew I would have to be patient. On this particular day I started out by shooting sunrise here, at Arches, under mostly clear skies. A few high cirrus but nothing to write home about. As I met up with a local photog, we palled around for the day talking story and catching up (we had been in contact for a while). After a midday break to kill some time (read: check out local brewpub), it was time to scout for sunset. And looking up the sky had now filled with all sorts of high clouds. A good sign. But then again any clouds are better than nothing!
After driving around for over an hour, checking locations, thinking about light, hiking around, I made the decision for two spots. I thought facing back to the east was a good decision as hopefully the setting sun would illuminate the La Sal Mountains and high clouds. Then we’d try and hurry to another spot to capture Balanced Rock more intimately (that shot at another time).
As the sun dipped, and the last rays of light cast upon the rocky landscape, first exiting the arches and hoodoos, then up the mountainside in the background, then finally the clouds slowly gained color. And of course this is where the little boy comes out and yips of glee start coming out. I never get tired of seeing a great sunrise or sunset and to be able to capture this moment over such an amazing landscape was truly special.
P.S. To see a section of the detail in this photo see sample at bottom!