Monday, 4 June 2012

Arches National Park, UT

We got in quite late and the sign at the front gate said “Campground full”. We enquired and were told that there might be a few spots left but we better go straight there. The campground is right at the end of the park, some 17 miles in. Luck was on our side and there was one spot left. Arches for me is all about the photography at the right time of day and the park brochure actually lists what is good in the morning and what is good in the late afternoon. So after marking my map with AM’s and PM’s we headed off to the Devil’s Garden. Lindsay didn’t want to come, in fact he went back to sleep, so I went by myself. It was a fair walk in to Landscape Arch which has the longest span in the park and is quite thin, it will probably break soon. I started to walk to the next one Double O arch, but the trail seemed to disappear up some rocks, so I turned around. I came across a sign that I hadn’t noticed before that said – primitive trail – difficult! Back along the trail are Tunnel and Pine Tree arches. A hot air balloon passed over me at Pine Tree and the moon could be seen through the Tunnel arch, so I was able to get a couple of good shots. We went back to our campsite for breakfast before heading out again to scout some locations for the afternoon’s shoot.

Landscape Arch

The afternoon’s agenda was Skyline Arch and Delicate Arch. Delicate Arch is the most well known arch from this area. The walk there is quite tough, long hot and uphill, 4.8 kms. Unfortunately there were no clouds in the sky and as expected a lot of people were there. Most people want to have pictures of themselves standing under the arch, but of course there are a lot of us that don’t want anyone in our pictures. Lindsay asked people to move so that we could get some good shots. The sunset wasn’t spectacular and as the good light comes onto the arch, a shadow comes up from the bottom which makes it difficult to get a good shot. I suspect a different time of year would be a different story. We had eaten dinner at lunchtime, so luckily we didn’t need to cook when we got back to camp.
Delicate Arch
We got up before sunrise again and concentrated on Turret Arch and Double Arch in the Windows area. Stephen, whom we’d met the day before while scouting for subjects, showed us a viewpoint that meant I had to scramble up some steep rocks to photograph Turret through the South Window Arch. Luckily I have Lindsay to take my camera for me as I’m definitely not a tom boy! Double Arch already had a section of light on it and we decided that we would come back tomorrow when it was all in shade. The campground was getting very hot during the day and seeing as we had “done” the top half of the park, we decided to stay down in Moab. We called into a couple of photography galleries to see how the locals view the area. You can appreciate that knowing a place, the seasons etc can have a huge impact on taking a good picture. You just can’t be in the area at the right time, all of the time. October is a good time for Arches. September is a good time for Grand Teton…. April is also a good time for the deserts, but you can’t see them all at the same time!

The afternoon’s shoot was focused on Balanced Rock and Turret Arch from a different perspective. We met up with Stephen again at Turret Arch and he really made me think more about composition that I had before.

Balanced Rock 

The final morning for Arches was even earlier than the morning before and we had to add on extra time to come into the park. We arrived at the Courthouse Towers first, then to the Three Gossips, then moved onto Double Arch again.This whole area is shown in the opening scene of Indiana Jones – The Last Crusade. They go past the Courthouse Towers, The Three Gossips, Balanced Rock and Double Arch and then show Indie coming out of one of the caves next to Double Arch.

Courthouse Towers
Three Gossips
Double Arch

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