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Monday, March 14, 2011

Photo Safari To Arches National Park

I was asked to help lead a student photo safari through Arches National Park, and was glad for the chance to participate. Arches is one of the most photogenic of Utah's national parks. We had a wonderful time and I was able to get a few nice images myself, including the three that illustrate this blog entry.

The weather was perfect for our weekend trip. Temperatures were pleasantly warm - we hiked in shirt sleeves, not even needing a jacket. Evening temperatures were cool but not cold. We camped in Moonflower Canyon, along the Colorado River west of Moab, and we were very comfortable.

Right now is an ideal time to visit Arches, and the surrounding area.

So, where do you focus your cameras when on a photo safari in Arches? We chose Delicate Arch for sunset photos. We arrived about an hour before sunset and snapped photos as the sun settled low on the horizon. Sunset is the best time for photos in Arches because the quality of light gives photos a rich, warm tone.

We all chose strategic positions to be ready for the magic moment when the sun touches the horizon and the sky explodes with color. We continued shooting as twilight set in, and then hiked back as the sky darkened. We carried flashlights but did not need them, since we reached the parking lot before it was complete dark.

For sunrise photos we chose Double Arch. You can drive right up close to that arch, in the Windows Section. That was nice because it allowed us to sleep a little later, not having to face a long high in the early twilight. First could hours of daylight also offer great light conditions, with rich colors.

We also hiked into the Devils Garden, looking for photo opportunities, and we weren't disappointed. There are photogenic subjects in every direction.

I was pleased to see that the park has improved the trail in the area of Landscape Arch. In years past, it was tough to get a dramatic photo of landscape because park visitors are not allowed to hike up under the arch. Now, they have extended the fenced trail to include a grant photo vantage point, angled to allow a wide section of blue sky to show under the arch. That makes photos much more impressive.

As always, the time flew by and we wished we could have spent an entire week in the park. But we enjoyed the time we had and left hungry to return.

- Dave Webb


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