I was on a road trip with my best friend and one of our stops was Moab and specifically Arches. I had, of course, seen the photos others had made. I had imagined the ones I could take. And I was excited.
We rolled in in late afternoon, checked in and drove straight into the park. It was sunset, and we wanted to see a few choice locations and scout for potential night photography.
At sunset, the red rocks glow; they almost vibrate with color. I was a passenger, and glad of it. My neck was whipping from side to side, and I was mentally noting every location I wanted to document by the light of the full moon later.
Did I mention it was January?
Having seen enough roadside attractions, we stopped at the base of the viewpoint for Delicate Arch. seeing it for the first time allowed for contemplation of scale. I knew that a person in juxtaposition to that stone semicircle was minuscule, and it looked small from the roadside. We decided to hike up in magic hour.
The snowy and icy approach was treacherous. But the opportunity to see Delicate Arch from above with daylight-bright moonlight behind it was magical. It was also quite cold, so we spent 1/2 hour up there making some long exposures – all the while mesmerized by the geological wonder in front of us.
Descending by flashlight and moonlight, we chatted excitedly about what we had seen, agreeing that more people should see it by moonlight. I filed that one away and immediately started thinking about bringing other lovers of night photography to Arches for a similar experience.
We did more roadside shooting that evening. The snow, moonlight and clear, bright skies erased any concerns I had for the cold weather. I was in the midst of being totally present in one of the most beautiful spaces I had ever seen.
We are only teaching at Arches National Park once. We hope you join us!