Sunrise At Mesa Arch II, Canyonlands National Park, Utah, USA, North America
Mesa Arch, located in Canyonlands National Park in Southern Utah, USA, is a natural wonder that encompasses all that is beautiful about this area of the county. Utah has always been a place for me to return to time and again, not just because I have wonderful friends to visit, but because of the sheer contrast to Washington state. This area is dry, orange and full of big sky. Western Washington is often wet, green and covered in trees to block most vistas.
Shooting Mesa Arch means getting up before the sun and possibly bumping elbows with fellow photographers. On the day my friend Michael and I visited the arch, there were two workshops being run and about 30 photographers. Speaking German, Michael wadded into the groups and made friends with a tour group from Germany. I stayed loose and wandered around, waiting for this elusive moment to occur. Have I mentioned I don't like big groups (or being pinned to one spot)?
What you see in the photo is a cool trick of light. When the sun rises, it strikes the cliff face below the arch, which is about 700' off the valley floor below. Because the arch is actually out over the cliff face, a fairly rare occurrence, it gets lit up from the light bouncing off orange sandstone below, painting its already orange underbelly to a mind blowing color. This photo doesn't do it justice. It is a sight to behold and you should go there! (see GPS coordinates)
While most photographers had lined all their tripods in an interlocking fashion to allow in as many as possible (the space is fairly small), I took pictures from the extreme side of the arch until the sun was just right. Then I walked over behind the middle of the phalanx, popped into a spot that wasn't being used for the moment, got my shot and was out of position in about 15 seconds. All that preparation and waiting....sometimes that's what photography is about. Then it was time for breakfast.
Camera: Canon 7D
Lens: Canon EF 10-22mm
Focal Length: 13mm
Shutter Speed: 1/10
Altitude: 6,118.8 ft
GPS Coordinates: 38°23'18" N 109°51'50" W