A picture postcard from out west


Continuing my theme from traveling in the southwestern United States, this is Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park… another postcard icon that you will find on the bucket list of many photographers. There’s a reason why this is considered an icon…. it is absolutely breathtaking to stand here and gaze through the arch to the landscape below. It isn’t hard to understand why people want to experience this place for themselves and make a photograph of it, myself included.

Back when I visited Canyonlands, I was on a panoramic kick. I often didn’t feel as though I could capture the magnificence of such an awe-inspiring scene within the constraints of the camera’s rectangular viewfinder, so I would shoot a series of overlapping frames, with the intention of stitching them together when I got back to the computer. This process can mean a lot of work, and the two panos in this post kind of got passed over at the time. I used to do this all by hand, though technology has come a long way, even in a couple of years, so I dusted them off and let the computer have a go at putting them together… not a bad result, and certainly a lot less hassle then stitching them by hand.

Hopefully the images in this post give a sense of how the spectacular morning light evolved from the blues and shadows of the pre-dawn, all the way through until the famous conditions developed where the early sun gets reflected on the underside of the arch, lighting it up like it was on fire. When I visited this area it was the summertime, and the sun was rising off to the left of the scene so I wasn’t able to capture any kind of starburst effect using the underside of the arch. Still pretty though…

20 thoughts on “A picture postcard from out west

    • David Patterson

      I always love being in places like this long before it actually gets light. Some of the best color and atmosphere is to be experienced really early.

    • David Patterson

      Thanks Karl. Yeah… sunrise is definitely the prime time for this spot, though at any time of day it is quite something to see!

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