Mesa Arch Sunrise

Over the past several years, Mesa Arch has become well known to photographers and tourists. Its reputation of being one of the best places in the area to catch the sunrise has spread and (on most mornings) dozens of people gather here with their cameras ready.

If you get the proper conditions, the sun will light up the stone underneath the arch as it rises over the distant mountains, saturating the red rock and creating a glow beneath the arch. My first attempt, the day before, was a dud…the rising sun was blocked by clouds so there was no light or color. The second day was much better.

I knew the area would get crowded close to sunrise, so I arrived early and set up in the dark before anyone else arrived. I had researched where the sun would rise, which made it easier to compose the scene and allowed me to set up off to the side, low to the ground, where I would have a good view underneath the arch. It is not the standard composition most people capture, but I liked the angles and the idea of getting something a little different.

You cannot tell from this image, but there were probably 20-30 people to my left, all clicking away, doing there best to capture a good photo. It was a beautiful sunrise, but was fairly short-lived. Soon after I took this, the sun went behind the clouds and the light & color faded, but I was happy to have captured the moment.