arches national park

Moab, UT is famous for mountain biking. It’s also famous for being sort of a base camp for people who are visiting Arches and Canyonland National Parks, which are among the most photographed parks in the United States.

IMGP2636You can tell just from the parking area at the Arches visitor center that the scenery is going to be quite awesome.

IMGP2640There are some famous rock formations that are visible from the road. This one is called ‘Balanced Rock.’ It reminds me of the Roadrunner and Wily Coyote for some reason.

IMGP2650Most of the rock formations, however, require some hiking to get to. So after spending the entire morning biking up slickrock, we spent part of the afternoon hiking up slickrock.

IMGP2655Looking out towards where we came from, the scenery is pretty epic.

IMGP2664The last portion of the trail is on sort of a narrow ledge. The view in this direction is pretty impressive too.

IMGP2679Our destination was the Delicate Arch, which is most likely the most famous rock formation in the park. People came from all over the world to take a picture under the arch.

photoI setup my ultra-wide lens on my camera and setup my tripod here to wait for the sunset. While I was waiting here, I guess because I had a prime spot, people started handing me their cameras and asked me to take pictures for them underneath the arch. There were people from all over the world, several Chinese couples, a few Koreans, Japanese, a Frenchman, and a group of German guys.

(Cellphone cameras have been getting better every year, and I think the camera on my Nexus4 is pretty decent, but the images are still crap compared to the ones that any decent SLR or mirrorless camera puts out…)

IMGP2713My sunset shot. There were just enough clouds on the horizon to add some color to the sunset.

IMGP2731There were no clouds over the arch, so I was able to get a clear shot of the stars over the arch. I originally wanted to get a shot of the arch with the Milky Way in view, but the Milky Way was off in another direction. I had seen that shot in postcards and online, so I was wondering how people got those people had gotten that shot. It didn’t dawn on me until I was on my way home that I just needed to wait for the stars to rotate into place. Ah well– C’est la vie…

IMGP2736We had to hike back through that narrow cliff area in the darkness. Thank God for headlamps.

IMGP2739The slickrock area was harder to navigate at night, because there are wide open expanses. You have to really look for the cairn stones that mark the trail, which is sometimes hard with such limited light.

IMGP2741During our hike back, we stopped several times to gaze up at the stars. When we got back near the car we decided to take a shot of the Milky Way over Ray’s Subaru. Ray light painted the foreground with a headlamp while my camera took a 30 second exposure. This ended up being my favorite picture from the trip.

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