Making Something Out of Nothing

Moab Day III. headed into Arches National Park to shoot some of the amazing arches and rock formations sprinkled throughout this amazing place. Up at about 5:00am to be there and in position for that magic light the sun brings with it those first few moments it lifts over the horizon.

My first location was Turret Arch.  Got its name because, well it looks like a castle with a turret (duh!), sitting in the middle of the desert. Tried to find an interesting foreground object to place before it… a weed, a bush, tree, etc. No luck. Struck out cold. I worked this subject hard as the first rays of the day began to break over the horizon, but to no avail.

Was an extremely frustrating situation. (After post: deleted almost all of the Turret Arch images, they were so bad it was painful to go through Lightroom and look at ’em).

Behind me sat The North Window. An amazingly large arch directly in front of Turret Arch.  The “standard” image of this shot is to shoot through The North Window and capture the arch in Turret Arch (Google it, you’ll see what I mean…).  The problem with taking this shot is only about 5 photographers with tripods can fit on the ledge on the “other side” of The North Window- and it was fully occupied (btw, if you ever wanna piss off some photographers, go there at sunrise and walk into the North Window, you wreck the shot and they start cursing and throwing lens paraphernalia at you 🙂

So… started to get worried that I was going to miss a shot at this location. Then I remembered the lesson from the prior day at Mesa Arch… my 16mm fisheye is GREAT for shooting these arches… they accentuate the roundness of the arch and allow you to fill the frame with the view. The distortion of the lens actually works tremendously in your favor… creatively as well, it allows for a much different ‘perspective’ from an ordinary ‘wide angle lens.’

Stepped up to The North Window’s entrance, switched to the 16mm and composed the arch to fill the frame and also grab that magic starburst the sun creates at f/22.

I love this shot. Dramatic, colorful and filled with texture. I just love the sun’s glow on the arches underbelly. It captures the sheer awesomeness of the location. What’s more amazing was my frustration level only moments ago about being in this incredible place and failing to capture the grandeur and majesty my eyes were soaking in.

Moral of the story… think about the tools at your disposal when shooting. Sometimes its a lens switch, sometimes its about simply turning around (like I did at Turret Rock and saw the big arch of The North Window), and sometimes its sheer luck and timing (a terrific sunrise through the arch, no clouds to obscure its rise…).

Can;t wait to print this puppy BIG 🙂



3 Responses to “Making Something Out of Nothing”

  1. Great shot, beautifully composed and you captured the perfect moment.

  2. great work! I was actually wondering how to come up with a different shot of that arch — the last thing i need is a shot of that arch that looks just like all the shots on Google image search. You totally nailed it!

  3. Beautiful shot and great advice too. Glad it turned out to be a successful outing.

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