DSC_1239. Such a creative name I’m not sure how I came up with it. Well, I didn’t. The camera did and I haven’t been able to come up with a name that I like better for it. That is one of the hardest parts for me, naming my photos. There are times when a name just jumps out at me, and there are other times when the harder I think about it, the more stupid the names become. So if you come up with a good name for this one, I’m open to suggestions.
Back in the winter of 2013/2014 I moved to Pittsburgh to live with my buddy Jeff. Technically it was Stuebenville, OH. For that exact reason I say Pittsburgh. I worked at REI and met this blonde haired beauty named Owen. Within the first few times of meeting and working with him, it was pretty clear that he didn’t really belong in a retail job in Pittsburgh. After he learned I was a kayak tour guide in WA during the summer, a very brief but important conversation followed. “Hey Tande, is there any….” “Yea man, I can put in a good word” “Thanks”.
After that, he got the job in WA and as far as I can tell thoroughly enjoyed it. Towards the start of Spring, we started talking about the trip out there. I traditionally road trip it. The last few times I have been on deadlines, so I can’t really enjoy everything in between, rather just the 2,300ish miles of I-90 between Seattle and Madison. Owen and I decided to do it a little differently, and take just about all of April on the road. First stop was CO, then a few weeks in Arches, Bryce, and Zion National Parks before heading up to Park City, to Portland, to Seattle, to Tacoma, and then the island. There are other pictures that will provide other stories from some of those places, so I will focus only on this picture and this story.
For those who don’t recognize it right away, that is in fact Delicate Arch in Arches National Park. Arches was a super cool place that we spent a few days in. They have the main arches, including Landscape Arch, North Window, South Window, Eye of the Whale Arch, Balancing Rock, Navajo Arch, Double O, Dark Angel, and many more. In fact Arches has over 2,000 arches that are all naturally formed over hundreds of years. I could go into more detail, but I will leave the rock reading to those who want to look it up. Bottom line, super cool things to check out.
Delicate Arch might be the most notorious of the Park. The vast majority of people can easily identify it, and based upon the number of people at the arch, clearly the most popular choice. After a day of hiking around the desert, it was time to head to Delicate Arch for sunset. “The Golden Hour” is right before sunset, when the light is soft, but still illuminates everything clearly. There are no harsh shadows, it illuminates in a beautiful golden glow, and things plain just look better. For that reason, I take a lot of pictures as sunset, because I need all the help I can get to make things look better. Owen and I pulled up to the parking lot, and set off at a pretty good clip, trying to make it up there for sunset. Owen quickly pulled ahead, scrambling up the trail like a freaking mountain goat. For anybody who has backpacked or hiked with me, I’m not a very fast hiker. So Owen took off, and I was left panting trying to keep up.
As I’m cruising up, there was a little trail that, after a quick decision, was a shortcut. So I jumped off the beaten path, following cairns (and of course staying on slick rock as to not damage the fragile crust) and moving along. I was getting closer and closer and the light was still holding so I was excited that I was going to make it in time! Crested a little hill and BOOM there was a massive canyon between the arch and me. Massive. Canyon. Not a shortcut. At all. I hightailed it back to the main trail, which was quite far away. Now it didn’t seem likely that I was going to make it up with any amount of light left, so I turned it into a bit of a trail running expedition. With a pack and camera, and tripod, and lots of things I don’t normally carry when I go trail running. Towards the top it turns into a pretty narrow ledge with a rather steep drop off, and people are trying to climb down before it gets dark. I had to resist the temptation to knock a few of the slower people off the edge….. I didn’t just so everybody knows. I crested the last hill and saw the arch with about 46 seconds of the golden hour left. I dropped my pack and raced to a good spot with my camera. Of course there are always people in the way, close to arch, walking in front of the camera just as you hit the shutter release, all working against me. I honestly think I managed about 6 photos that are worth it.
This one I particularly enjoy, the La Sal mountains seen through the arch, the greens on the lower right and the reds of the rocks both in the arch and surrounding it. The lighting was great, lighting everything up, still delivering great colors and providing a few shadows to add some depth.
While the content is great, part of the reason I go to these places and get out in nature is that I love to be. Delicate Arch wasn’t one of my favorite places to be. There were a lot of people, and while some of them were truly there for the Arch, there were others you could tell were being dragged along, not truly appreciating what was there. I still think it was great for them to be there, but taking a few minutes to enjoy it would be fantastic. Other places I go, it is just me, just me and a couple other people, and we are all there because we truly want to be there. A more tourist attraction like Arches where you can drive the majority of the way to the arch, isn’t quite my cup of tea. It was a great place to be, and I thoroughly enjoyed my trip, I would highly recommend checking it out in the Spring, before it gets incredibly hot. Any questions, never hesitate to ask!