We spent a week in Moab, Utah in 2020 and carved out a day to explore Canyonlands National Park.Canyonlands National Park includes many canyons and mesas carved out by the Colorado and Green Rivers and their tributaries. There are over 300,000 acres covering four separate districts in the park.
Mesa Arch is located in the Island in the Sky District. We scouted this location during the day with the intention of returning to Mesa Arch for the sunrise the next morning. Mesa Arch glows even in the mid-afternoon with full sun! This is an amazing arch! It’s about a 20 minute walk from the parking lot to the arch. So, we planned on getting there early the next morning about an hour before sunrise, as we heard it was a popular photography location.
We arrived as scheduled and were fortunate to nab the last spot in the parking lot. Obviously we did not plan appropriately! So, we scampered up the trail to the arch and stood there with about 80 of our new best friends. We started off in the 4th row of photographers and were able, through attrition to get to the front for the sunrise and for the sun hitting the top of the arch for a sunburst photo. Those are classic shots that we were pretty sure everyone has seen. So, I started looking for a more unique composition and ended up sitting very close to the bottom right side of the arch while still being able to get the distant monuments in the shot.
With the distant monuments backlit by the sun, the hazy sunrise provides an ethereal effect that contrasts with the bright reflection of the sunlight bouncing off of the arch itself.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor