Arches National Park: Double Arch Sunset

Arches national Park is a red-rock wonderland in Southern Utah. The park has over 2,000 natural stone arches, in addition to hundreds of soaring pinnacles, massive fins and giant balanced rocks.

Double Arch is in the very popular Windows section of the park.

All the literature that I have read suggests one cannot get a “sunset” image from this location.

But there it is. Double Arch at Sunset.

OK but …

Yes, the sun is not in the image.

Does it matter?

I estimate that 85% of the time the best image at sunrise and sunset are looking away from the sun.

In this case, I had spectacular light in the East opposite the Sun.

Feature Image Details

This is not an easy shot. It is a blend of 8 images of varying exposures some for the inside of the arch, and some for the clouds.

I also used a Canon 11-24 F4.0 L lens at 11mm, not exactly a routine piece of equipment.

But equipment is not the point of this article.

Thinking contrary to popular opinion is.

Two Tips

  1. At Sunrise Think West
  2. At Sunset Think East

If possible, I go for both, but choose the one that makes the most sense.

Well over half the time, and perhaps up to 85% of the time, it makes no sense at all to shoot towards the sun.

Yet, I constantly observe people shooting in the wrong direction.

Arches National Park Images

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Arches National Park: Delicate Arch Milky Way

Arches national Park is a red-rock wonderland in Southern Utah. The park has over 2,000 natural stone arches, in addition to hundreds of soaring pinnacles, massive fins and giant balanced rocks.

The hike to Delicate Arch is a 3.1 round trip hike with a 480 foot climb. It’s rated moderate.

The hike is very popular and you will almost never have the place to yourself.

If your mission is to have a great hike you cannot go wrong in any kind of reasonable weather. But if your goal is to get a great sunset image things are much more difficult. You need good light with good clouds. You need to be at the top about an hour before sunset.

If your goal is to get a Milky Way Springtime panorama and a sunset image, guess what?

You need to be at the top an hour before sunset, hoping for sunset clouds, then wait patiently wait for hours hoping for cloudless skies when the Milky Way rises.

Alternatively, you can do multiple trips, which of course means multiple hikes.

Feature Image Details

I took a two sets of images, one set of the sky, and another set of the Milky Way and stitched then together in Lightroom.

This is a complex shot.

The foreground was lit by a setting moon and panel lights, mostly the former but the panel lights balanced out the moon shadows and added foreground detail.

The Milky Way was taken with a modified camera that added a full stop of exposure. The modification renders the camera mostly useless in the daytime without a filter that reverses the modification.

For the Milky Way, I also used an iOptrom Sky Guider which allowed me to take long exposures without streaking the stars.

Of course, if one is tracking the stars, then the land is blurry. That means two sets of images, one of the land (with no sky tracking) and one of the sky.

Factor in multiple sets of Milky Way and moonlit land images blended together to get a panorama and you begin to see the complexity.

Pano Tip

It’s far easier to cut out what you do not want than add what you didn’t capture.

Since you are combining images, you will end up with a huge number of pixels even when the final result is cropped.

I frequently take vertical images to make what looks like a horizontal image.

Arches National Park Images

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Arches National Park: Delicate Arch Sunset

Arches national Park is a red-rock wonderland in Southern Utah. The park has over 2,000 natural stone arches, in addition to hundreds of soaring pinnacles, massive fins and giant balanced rocks.

The hike to Delicate Arch is a 3.1 round trip hike with a 480 foot climb. It’s rated moderate.

The hike is very popular and you will almost never have the place to yourself.

If your mission is to have a great hike you cannot go wrong in any kind of reasonable weather. But if your goal is to get a great image things are much more difficult. You need good light with good clouds. You need to be at the top about an hour before sunset.

Hopefully there will not be too many people milling around or you have to edit them out in Photoshop.

Wait. There’s more. The arch is in shadow of mountains at sunset starting mid-April.

I took this panorama on April 13. You can see the shadows closing in to the right and in the foreground up to the base of the arch.

Feature Image Details

I took 8 images, overlapped heavily, and stiched then together in Lightroom.

I used a Canon 16-35MM F4 L Lens at 28 mm, F16, for 1/13 of a second.

One Vertical Frame

Normally I do not chop off the key element like this but it really doesn’t matter. I can crop the Panorama however I like.

The Featured image is significantly cropped. Here is the full panorama.

Pano Tip

It’s far easier to cut out what you do not want than add what you didn’t capture.

Since you are combining images, you will end up with a huge number of pixels even when the final result is cropped.

I frequently take vertical images to make what looks like a horizontal image.

Arches National Park Images

Equipment List

Those interested in my equipment and recommendations can find it here: Mish’s Equipment List.

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Mike “Mish” Shedlock

Arches National Park: Landscape Arch Glorious Sunrise

Arches national Park is a red-rock wonderland in Southern Utah. The park has over 2,000 natural stone arches, in addition to hundreds of soaring pinnacles, massive fins and giant balanced rocks.

Landscape Arch is in the “Devil’s Garden” section of the park.

Like the “Windows” section, “Devils Garden” is very popular and it can be difficult to find a parking spot at times.

Fortunately, the best time to photograph this arch is at sunrise and in contrast to the Windows, you can often have the view to yourself.

Feature Image Details

I scrambled up underneath the arch at sunrise. The composition is a single frame with a Canon 11-24 F4.0 L lens at 11 mm. This shot only woks at extreme wide angles with a full frame sensor. 16mm or even 14 mm is not wide enough.

The shot was taken at ISO 500 at F16, for 1/20 of a second.

Those familiar with the park will note that I was not on the trail. With reservations, I followed an informal trail to the top. Don’t bother without an extreme wide angle lens and excellent light.

Landscape Arch Panorama 

For the above composition, I blended six overlapping images together in Lightroom with a Canon 24-105MM F4 L Lens at 24mm.

The images are all ISO 200, at F13, for 1/20th second.

It’s a struggle to get such an image in one shot. You can do it with a wide angle lens in landscape mode but only by pointing up and dealing with distortions.

It’s better to take a vertical panorama to minimize the distortions while increasing the number of pixels used and thus increasing the overall resolution.

One Vertical Frame

I cropped off the right and the bottom but the overall result is a whopping 8322×4303 pixel image taking 114 MB in disk space.

Pano Tip

It’s far easier to cut out what you do not want than add what you didn’t capture.

Since you are combining images, you will end up with a huge number of pixels even when the final result is cropped.

I frequently take vertical images to make what looks like a horizontal image.

For another example of this technique, please see my previous post Arches National Park: Turret Arch Viewed Through North Window

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More Arches images coming up.

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Mike “Mish” Shedlock