Friday, June 15, 2012

Photographing Delicate Arch in Arches National Park

If you have ever been to Delicate Arch located in Arches National Park, Utah, you were probably not alone.  I have hiked up to see and photograph the arch many times.  I have been there for the sunrise, sunset and in the middle of the day and have witnessed the Arch during all four seasons.  Only once have I been there when no one else was around.  The Arch is a very famous and popular attraction and one of Utah's Icons, it even adorns Utah license plates.  Being such a popular attraction, it is very difficult to take photos of the Arch without people getting in the shot.  On one evening at the Arch, we counted more than 200 visitors.

Pretty much everyone that goes there wants to get a photo taken of them standing inside the Arch.  This tends to make it somewhat difficult for the purest landscape photographer to take a photo of the Arch.  Though you can get some interesting shots of the Arch with people in the image. 

Delicate Arch has amazed me with how many different views that you can capture in an image.  Most photographs that I have seen of Delicate Arch are of the evening light and sunset and of what I refer to as the popular view.  What I think of as my best image of Delicate Arch was taken in the evening and is of the popular view. 

I believe that the time of year has a lot to do with the quality of the image of the Arch.  The summer is hot and my photos tend to have less contrast and appear to be washed.   My favorite time of the year to take pictures in Arches and Canyonlands is during the winter months, especially if there is snow in the photo.  The snow contrasts well with the red rock.  If you take pictures of Delicate Arch on a clear winter evening you can frame the sunlit - snow covered - La Sal Mountains in the background and through the Arch.  Around the time of the Winter Solstice you can capture the sun setting inside of the Arch (see my previous blog post - A Little Known Delicate Arch Photo Opportunity).  Early on a winter morning you can capture a beautiful sunrise over the La Sal Mountains.

After the sunrise you can capture beautiful photos of the morning light on the Arch.

Mind you it was 13 degrees outside when I captured the last two images.  But, it was the one time that I had the Arch all to myself for three hours, an amazing experience. 

Delicate Arch is always a fabulous location to visit and photograph any time of the day or year.  It can sometimes take patience to capture an image of the Arch without another visitor in the photo.  I have been there when photographers have requested a minute or two of the Arch standing alone all by itself and it actually worked, they got their minute for photos. 

I don't remember how many times that I have visited the Arch or how many photos I have taken of the Icon.  What I do know is that I am not done visiting the Arch or capturing the Arch and possibly visitors in an Image. 

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