Temple of Light and Stone - Canyonlands National Park - Moab, Utah - 2014
The foreground light is from the sunrise at Mesa Arch creating a glowing well of light. My heart and soul went into the creation of this photo and I hope it touches you the way it did me.
After 2 days of driving from Arkansas and then photographing Arches National Park way into the night. We set off to find a camping spot as close to Canyonlands National Park as I could get, as luck would have it someone did not show up for the reservation at Horse Thief campground. Tent set up, a quick bite and few hours of needed sleep, I was up by 3am and set off to find Mesa Arch the highlight of the trip. Finally at the parking lot I headed off on the trail somehow missing it the first time but a quick circle back around and there it was. Once at the arch I discovered I was not alone, before me stood a dozen or so people already all lined up in front of the Arch. Not exactly what I expected, but after all this was an adventure. I found my spot along the Arch with the others and waited for sunrise. Along with sunrise came scores of people turning our small group into 60 plus, all hoping for their opportunity to get their own photo. There it was just like photos that had wowed me into coming, an amazing display of color and light and like that the group was gone just leaving a few stragglers behind, me being one of them.
One thing that I have discovered about photography is that sometimes the best photo is not the one you came for. Surprisingly after sunrise the glow on the arch does not go away leaving you with a great chance to still get photos but without all the people, and so this is how this photo came to be. What I discovered was the area was not just a quick snapshot of the Arch and leave, but an amazing expanse of beauty. As I enjoyed this view I noticed how the deep reds from the arch created a well effect of light and shadow in the corner, combined with the great expanses of views from the cliff face and blue skies, I new I had a chance to create something special.
I started my photography in film and am a firm believer that its always best if possible to try and get the photo right in the field and save photoshop for as little as possible. This is a single photo not HDR taken with a full frame digital camera, using a singh-ray ND filter to retain foreground color, leaving very little to do in editing but sharpen and color correct, then finishing in Nik software.
Here are my camera settings:
canon 5D Mark 111
Manfrotto tripod for stability
I finished the journey in 7 days and 15,000 photos later, and never will forget the beauty of these unique National Parks. I hope to return and photograph the rest of Canyonlands National Park as well.