Arches National Park is a US National Park in eastern Utah, just outside of Moab. The park is over 120 square miles and contains the highest density of natural arches in the world. It’s well known for things like Balancing Rock, Delicate Arch and an amazing variety Geological formations. At one time, there were over 2,000 natural arches within the park; however since 1977 more than 43 of the Arches have collapsed.
I’ve seen many images from Arches National Park over the years, but none in Infrared, so I had to go. I thought it might make a good location for a Workshop next year. Moab, UT is the place to stay when you want to visit Arches. Moab is small, little quaint town with a wide variety of people. The town has a tourist based economy, but still retains its small town feel. I had the luck to rent a place on the edge of Moab that was once an old Trading Post. Staying in a place like this really made the experience memorable.
I went in the middle of March which is considered the off season, but it was the right choice. The weather was a bit chilly in the mornings, but warmed up nicely during the day into the mid 60s to low 70s. During the summer in Moab the average temperatures exceed 95 degrees on a daily basis. The Park also becomes extremely crowded during that time. As it was, there were still times while I was there that it did get a little busy, and make photography a bit challenging.
I thought from seeing images of the Park I knew what I was in for, . . . I was wrong. Arches National Park is overwhelming. Everywhere you look there are massive natural structures. Staggering monoliths shooting up into in air, with their weathered exteriors periodically dropping “little pieces” bigger than my house.
I like to shoot landscapes and mostly use my favorite wide angle lens. However here everywhere you look the view is so expansive and you can see so far into the distance that I ended using my 70-200 way more than I ever thought I would.
When shooting Infrared, I set my Custom White Balance mostly on rock. That gave me the ability to capture the correct exposure. In post production I used my Raw Editor to set a new White Balanace, usually on a cloud. If I didn’t have a cloud, often trying different areas of rock worked well too. When processing the images I learned something early on. Always have a lens cleaning cloth in your hand. In this type of environment there are a lot of airborne particulates that really want to land on the front of your lens. Even with constant diligence on my part while shooting, I still spent a good deal of time using the spot healing brush.
After a full day of shooting, I returned with a sunburned forehead and a two full cards of images. Gotta remember sunscreen. I’d like to say my assessment after the first day was something insightful and eloquent, but all I kept saying was “This is so cool!” Everywhere you go there’s another great shot to be made.
One my second day, I started seeing shapes in rocks. Do you see the face?
How about now?
Perhaps it’s my over active imagination, but I kept seeing all sorts of things in the rocks.
This next one may be a stretch, but I saw the skull of a Dragon.
Well? . . . . Do you see it? Don’t leave me hanging here. Okay, well I see it anyway.
If you’d like to see the rest of the images I’ve made from this trip, you can go here
So, after getting a few days to shoot in Arches National Park, I’ve decided that it WILL make a great place for a Life Pixel Workshop next year. I do think we will go in March so we don’t have to deal with a crowded area and all that heat. If you’d like to join for this excursion, click here to see more information.