Delicate Arch

Delicate Arch is the most photographed of the 2,000 arches in Arches National Park, Utah. It seems to be a right of passage to hike the 1.5 mile trail that gains 500 feet in elevation to watch the sun’s last rays on the arch at the end of the day.

Ya, I didn’t do that though. I just didn’t have the energy that day, and there were so many people, so instead I went to the viewpoint just past Wolfe Ranch. From that point of view I photographed the arch with my telephoto lens and included the all the people who did hike the trail in the image.

Delicate Arch, Arches National Park, Utah
Please click the image to view a larger version.

I’m sure I’ll hike the trail next time I visit, but I couldn’t help but wonder if it really is better on the other side when you have to share the view with so many people.

I read an interesting fact about the arch on Wikipedia about a photographer who has a prominent gallery which I visited in Zion National Park. Apparently Michael Fatali started a fire under the arch while demonstrating night photography techniques to a group of students. The fire discoloured the arch and he was fined over $10,000 for cleanup. And this wasn’t the only incident! He set a couple of fires in Canyonlands National Park too. I enjoyed his gallery in Zion at the time but I’m sure glad I didn’t spend any money there now that I know this.

How can the National Park Service even allow him to have a gallery at Zion? There are plenty of other photographers in Utah, some of the most outstanding photographers I have seen actually, who deserve it more than this moron.

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  1. says

    I think you made the right call on the hike Anne. You did get a very interesting perspective, and with so many people you’re better off doing the hike when you can really enjoy the experience.

    I hadn’t heard about the fire incident, but it never ceases to amaze me just how ignorant people can be in the wilderness. Shame on that photographer – he should have known better.
    Russ Bishop recently posted..Soft Proofing in Lightroom 4My Profile

    • says

      Hi Russ, I was surprised too that I hadn’t heard of the incident. It’s just hard to believe that anyone who has spent any time in the national parks would consider starting a fire, let alone right under the most popular feature. Maybe it got lots of press at the time but I think there is a whole new group of photographers out there now that need to know that doing this kind of thing is unacceptable.

  2. says

    Great perspective on the image and on Michael Fatali. I used to admire his work and the fact that he schlepped an 8X10 around the southwest. He had a great gallery in Moab..right up to the time he burned the presto logs under Delicate Arch and sooted it up. Clearly a dumbass move and eliminated any respect I had for him.
    Bill Bean recently posted..What a year!My Profile

    • says

      Hi Bill, I hate to bad mouth another photographer, but it’s not my opinion, he’s clearly a dumbass :) I might forgive him for one stupid mistake, but he did it a number of times so his second and third chances are already used up in my book. Thanks for your visit and comments Bill.

    • says

      Ha! Wouldn’t that be the day! I’ll have to put that on my list of things I hope to achieve, I never even considered that one :) I was thinking Guy Tal or Bret Edge or someone like that. But thanks for the vote Mim!

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