I almost didn’t go. I mean, I’ve seen a lot of arches (and so have you by now!).
Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park, Utah, has to the be the most overly photographed place in the USA. Of course, there is a reason for that, it looks amazing at sunrise when the bottom of the arch glows red just as the sun breaks the horizon. I’ve seen it a gazillion times before, just never in person. But I couldn’t haul my butt out of bed early enough to get up there so the world can have a gazillion and one images of Mesa Arch at sunrise.
I was at the trailhead at around 6pm and I almost didn’t go at all, but in the end I decided to go on the short hike with just one lens (I must have been tired if I didn’t even take my super lightweight tripod), and hope that maybe I would get something more unique since it was sunset.
Mesa Arch really is a neat thing to see. Most of the arches tower 50 feet or more overhead but this one is only a few feet off the ground and you can look through the arch to the canyon below. It is quite stunning.
Both of these are hand-held HDR images. Usually you would use a tripod if you intend to make multiple exposures but it is possible to do it handheld and line up the features in post-processing, either manually or using software. I let Photomatix line up the features and it does a great job all on its own. I just use the highest frame per second rate the camera allows, use auto-bracketing, and try not to move too much while I take the three shots.
I know I will be spending more time in Utah ove the coming winter, so I will try my best to get out there for sunrise next time It will probably be easier in the winter when the sun doesn’t rise so early.
I guess after seeing it in person I have decided that yes, the world does need another image of Mesa Arch at sunrise because I don’t have one in my collection yet.