Sandstone Towers, Evening Clouds

Sandstone Towers, Evening Clouds. Arches National Park, Utah. April 5, 2012. © Copyright 2012 G Dan Mitchell - all rights reserved.

 

Dissipating evening clouds above sandstone formations, Arches National Park, Utah.

 

On our first early April evening in Arches National Park, we ended up at what the NPS map calls the "Windows Section." This is an area of long sandstone ridges and many arches, including North and South Windows, Turret Arch and more. We really didn't quite know where we were going, but we could tell that the day was waning and that we needed to find a spot to shoot the evening light - and this are was close and seemed to hold some potential. We drove the end of the road, quickly unloaded, and headed off to see what we could find.

 

I started by going back down the road a ways to photograph more open terrain to the west along with a row of sandstone features running to the north. I quickly figured out - duh! - that is was very windy! This isn't a major problem as long as the light is good, but I knew that it was going to be a challenge as the diminishing light eventually called for longer exposures. I then wandered up toward Turret Arch and the South Window, looking for likely compositions. I made a few initial exposures before the sun dropped below the horizon, the light soon began to fade to that wonderful period just after sunset when everything can take on a sort of rich glow when the conditions are just right. Some dissipating clouds were adding to the glow and making the light and the sky more interesting... but that wind wasn't diminishing a bit! Even with a solid tripod and head, when using a somewhat large lens and long exposures there will be issues with camera stability. This limited my range of motion a bit, as finding spots that provided some shelter from the strongest gusts became a consideration along with the usual compositional issues. With that in mind, I ended up mostly foregoing the major features here and instead turned my attention to the sky and to a cluster of sandstone formations to the east of the main arches... and that is what you see in this photograph.

 

G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer whose subjects include the Pacific coast, redwood forests, central California oak/grasslands, the Sierra Nevada, California deserts, urban landscapes, night photography, and more.

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Text, photographs, and other media are © Copyright G Dan Mitchell (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from G Dan Mitchell.

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Taken on April 5, 2012