It’s no secret that I enjoy photographing icons, but not in the same way that they’ve been photographed thousands of times before. I love the challenge of arriving at a popular location and working to create something fresh and new that likely hasn’t been seen before. Such has been the case with Landscape Arch in Arches National Park. I’ve actually been able to create two unique images here - this one, and another that I’ll share at a later date. But about this image…
Landscape Arch is located in the Devil’s Garden area of Arches National Park, which is at the very end of the main park road. An easy one mile hike delivers you to the arch, which comes to life each day as sunrise paints the impossibly thin span of sandstone in warm, golden light. I had made the hike multiple times over the years and had always come away with the same boring compositions I’d seen posted all over the internet. I knew I needed to spend time scouting the location, getting up higher and down lower, looking at every possible angle.
One afternoon I hiked out to Landscape Arch and spent a couple of hours exploring as much of the area as legally possible. A couple decades ago a large chunk from the underside of the arch came crashing down, and the NPS wisely put up fences and signs to restrict access to areas under the arch. Some photographers don’t heed these warnings, but I’m not one to flaunt the law so I only scouted areas that were legally accessible. Despite my best efforts, I hadn’t found anything that excited me. I started hiking back to the trailhead and passed this little juniper tree that was literally, right. off. the. trail.
I stopped dead in my tracks. I’m a sucker for gnarly, weathered old trees and here was just such a specimen. Was it possible to frame the arch through the tree limbs?! I immediately squatted down and was thrilled to discover that not only was it possible, it was one of those “hot damn” moments! I knew where I’d be standing at sunrise the following day.
The next morning I hiked in before sunrise and was pleasantly surprised to find that I had the entire area to myself. I set up my tripod, locked the camera in place, fine tuned the composition and then sat quietly until the arch began to glow at sunrise.
I had a 24” x 36” canvas print of this image hanging in my gallery for all four years we were open and it was consistently a best seller. It also attracted the attention of photographers who wanted to know what camera I used and how I was able to maintain sharpness throughout the entire image. Simple: I used the appropriate aperture and the hyperfocal focus point.
Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Canon 16-35 Lens @ 17mm
f/16 @ 1/6 second
RAW, processed in Adobe Lightroom and Nik Software
This photograph may be licensed for commercial or editorial use and is also available as a beautiful fine art print in a variety of sizes. Please visit my contact page to inquire about pricing or to discuss print options.