One underrated thing about living in Colorado is the proximity to amazing natural areas. Obviously there are the countless places in the state but you are also just a road trip away from places like The Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and Grand Teton National Park (if you don't mind spending 12 hours in a car). A little bit closer though is Moab, Utah home to not one but two National Parks. Many people maybe familiar with one, Arches, mostly because it's most iconic feature happens to be on the license plate for Utah. The second, Canyonlands, might be a bit less visited as it is a bit out of the way but is just as spectacular.
So, one weekend when my wife was out of town, I decided to pack up the car and hit the road Friday evening after work. Six hours and an obligatory stop at Taco Bell (I secretly love Taco Bell) later I arrived at Canyonlands. It was late enough that I just parked the car and went to sleep. Sunrise wasn't too far off so sleeping in the car was the best option I could think of.
When I woke up I knew where I wanted to be so I drove to the trailhead for Mesa Arch. This spot is incredibly popular, for good reason, and during warmer months you might find 50 other photographers battling for a spot. I, however, was there in January and by the time the sun came up there were really only about 6 of us there. Unfortunately we were not treated to the iconic sunrise we all wanted. The clouds had settled in on the mesa and by the time the sun would have been peaking above the horizon we were totally socked in by fog. This however does not mean the photos were terrible. In fact, I think it makes them fairly unique.
Disappointed by the results from this sunrise, I decided to do something I rarely do and that is to go back to the same spot for sunrise the next day. Once again though I was thwarted by fog, but once again there was something that added a unique element that most shots from Mesa Arch don't have...snow.
One nice thing about being in one spot for such a long time is that you get to explore. After one of my early morning photo sessions I needed to use the restroom so I drove to a picnic area that happened to have the facilities I needed. When driving out of the picnic area I saw a small sign indicating a hike. I had nothing but time to kill so I decided to hop out and take a walk. The trail led the White Rim Canyon overlook, a place I had never visited and boy was I happy I decided to head out there.
I was so excited by this find that I decided to take my last sunrise and head to this spot. This time I was completely alone. The peace and solitude while watching the sun rise were enough by themselves. But, I like to think the photos are pretty nice too.
Now my trip was over and it was time to head back home, eat some tacos, and see my wife. All in all it was a pretty good trip but as I was driving home I had a nagging feeling that I could do it better. So when I got home and talked to Tali about my weekend we decided we would go back soon, and next time she would come with me.
But that is a story for another day,
Oh, did you think I forgot what I wrote in the title of this post? Here it is, my photo from my pilgrimage to Delicate Arch. Don't ask how I managed to get a shot without anyone in the frame, I guess I just got lucky.
Cameras - Nikon D3, D700
Lenses - Nikkor 24-70 f2.8, Nikkor 70-200 f2.8, ProOptic 14mm
Tripod - Slik