Mesa Arch: What do you mean you haven’t photographed it!

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Every time I go out to photograph any place, my first and foremost goal is to try and create something different, something not seen before, and something well just original. I’m sure most photographers have this in mind when they go out. For a long time I would purposely avoid popular photography spots because of this, but recently I have discovered that just because every photographer before you has taken a picture there doesn’t mean you can’t. I still believe that searching out places rarely photographed or never photographed for that matter is important and I will never let that go, but as you grow as a photographer you start to develop an audience and when that happens, you quickly understand how important it is to give your audience what they want. The Grand Canyon, NYC’s skyline, Half Dome at Yosemite, and so many more iconic places that people photograph over and over, are photographed so much not because everyone is trying to copy the guy before them, but simply because they are beautiful, breathtaking places that deserve to be photographed in every light from every angle possible.

Recently, I photographed one of these places, Mesa Arch in Canyonlands, Utah. This arch is famous because at sunrise you can get the sun coming up over a mountain framed by the Arch with an amazing view of the valley below. It is also very easy to get to which makes hiking out in the dark for sunrise much easier. But on most mornings, especially the summer, when you show up you will be greeted by a large amount of photographers. This makes getting the shot you wanted or lets say a different shot even harder as groups this large will more than likely be in your photo. So when I decided that I would go and shoot Mesa Arch, I decided to go at sunset instead. However, when we showed up it was very easy to see why so many go as sunrise. Because of where Mesa Arch sits and the mountains between the sun and the arch you actually lose light on the arch close to an hour before sunset. Luckily for me we showed up a little early and I was still able to capture the arch with some nice light. The bonus for me was capturing a photo of the arch with nobody else around. In all the pictures of Mesa Arch that I have seen, I have never seen one of the entire area, so I was able to get a shot I don’t believe many people have. But because the light was dwindling and the sunset wasn’t going to be very good on this side of the mesa, I quickly grabbed a few other shots and we were off to another spot for sunset. You can read about that here.

With the short amount time I had because of the fading light, I bounced around getting the “metoo” shots of the arch, but I also tried shots from a different angles and different spots as I tried to take advantage of the emptiness of the place. Unfortunately, I wasn’t happy with how most of those shots came out so I was left with just a few from this popular place.

Thanks for coming by, if you like my story please subscribe to receive these in your email. If you like the pictures you can view the gallery of my winter Moab trip here!


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