I’ve lived in Moab for over six years and have been photographing the area for ten. There are a few locations I’ve photographed over and over and each time I’ve been skunked. One such location is Double Arch in the Windows area of Arches National Park. Double Arch is at the end of long, curving, tall sandstone fin and never receives sweet sunrise or sunset light. By the time it falls fully into morning light the sun is high in the sky and the light rather harsh. At sunset the light comes from directly behind and does shed a warm glow on the interior of the arch but the top arch is completely in shade and the sky behind the arch too bright. Hmm, this is quite the dilemma.
Is it possible to make a quality image in nice light at Double Arch? The answer is emphatically yes, although it does come with a caveat – if all the right elements don’t align at the same time you’re going to walk away empty handed. Here’s my recipe for a killer photograph of Double Arch:
Mix one summer morning, between two to three hours after sunrise with a sky filled with fluffy clouds and sunlight diffused through very thin clouds to the east AND reflecting onto the landscape below. Take away a tour bus filled with foreign park visitors eager to have their photo taken below the Indiana Jones Arch. Find an interesting, uncluttered composition. Make one perfect exposure that captures the full range of tones from highlight to shadows. Bake the whole scrumptious thing for 10-15 minutes in Adobe Lightroom, Nik Software Viveza 2 and Color Efex Pro 3. Finish with a sprinkling of Nik Sharpener Pro 3 before presenting to the world for consumption.
If I may be serious for a moment, there is a bit of a lesson to be learned here. Ten years. Ten years it took me to finally make a photograph of Double Arch that I feel is worthy of inclusion in my portfolio. I have no idea how many times I visited Double Arch during that time. Two dozen? Maybe more? I’m learning that there are great rewards offered to the persistent. No matter how spectacular a location is, it’s all too easy to give up when things don’t go our way after a few attempts. Keep after it and one glorious morning you may well receive a wonderful gift for having faith in Mother Nature.
This image is available as a fine art print, canvas gallery wrap or archival plaque in sizes up to 32″ x 48″. Please email me if you’d like to inquire about purchasing a print.