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Red, White, and Blue--Arches National Park

Posted by
Gary Hart (California, United States) on 23 December 2009 in Landscape & Rural and Portfolio.

Sometimes photos come when you least expect them. On a return walk from a sunrise shoot at Arches' Landscape Arch, it would have been easy to be in head down, "light's over, let's get back to the car" mode. But I thought the deep blue sky and vivid red sandstone made a striking combination, particularly when paired with the waning gibbous moon and dancing clouds overhead, so as I walked I kept my eyes peeled for a suitable composition.

When a gap in the sandstone appeared, I saw an opportunity. I started with a couple of frames placing moon in the "rule-of-thirds" (tic-tac-toe intersections) zones, but thought they felt a little contrived. So I positioned myself with the moon centered and framed by the sandstone walls. With my camera on my tripod I polarized, exposed, composed, and focused, then simply waited (remote-release in hand) for the clouds to do something interesting. I didn't have to wait too long before they nicely framed the moon for me, just long enough to click a couple of shots.

While not breathtaking, I find this image particularly rewarding. Sometimes we get so caught up searching for dramatic scenes, especially in dramatic locations like Arches; but I find the uniqueness of subtle, creative compositions like this no less satisfying.

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Thanks for visiting. Even if I don't respond, your comments are always read and appreciated.

Tamara from Aarschot, Belgium

Lovely perspective in this photo ! I like it :)

23 Dec 2009 9:30am

✿ Anina ✿ from Auckland, New Zealand

Great shot! I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and may the year that follows be the best it can be!

23 Dec 2009 11:23am

Vitor Martins from Lisboa, Portugal

Beautiful imgae and fantastic composition. I like the lead line created by the "V" of the mountains that leads us to the fantastic moon.

23 Dec 2009 12:39pm

Ana Lúcia from Leiria, Portugal


23 Dec 2009 1:07pm

john4jack from Corvallis, Oregon, United States

Gorgeous, Gary. Fabulous detail, texture and color. Arches NP is one of my favorite place on the planet. Often when I went there on a weekday before sunrise, I didn't see another soul.

23 Dec 2009 6:45pm

@john4jack: Thanks, Jack. I was there with Don's group, so it was pretty hard to be completely alone (12 participants plus Don and me). On this morning I had lagged behind most of the group to help a workshop participant with some focus problems, so I did get a little more solitude.

Theys from Charleroi, Belgium


23 Dec 2009 10:09pm

Stefan from Thiersee, Austria


23 Dec 2009 10:51pm

Self-Indulgence from Chicagoland, United States

You're right, sometimes you do catch in on the walk back. Really great image you thankfully didn't pass up.

23 Dec 2009 11:38pm

Lambspun from Madison, Maine, United States

I am a drama director and one thing I tell my students is while onstage if you are waiting for your line you should be "doing something" but not so much that it takes away from the person speaking. In your case the clouds seem perfect because more what have taken away from the beauty of the arches.

24 Dec 2009 1:31am

DarkElf from Perth, Australia

wonderful contrasting colours and superb composition! my eyes just went right up to the sky and moon, along the edge of the cliff on the right - very effective and inviting!

24 Dec 2009 1:42am

Saeed Rasoulof from Tehran, Iran

very nice shot from nice place :)

24 Dec 2009 9:13am

Tamara from Aarschot, Belgium

Merry Christmas to you and your family Gary !

24 Dec 2009 9:28am

@Tamara: Thanks, Tamara--Merry Christmas to you too!

Magda from Vancouver, Canada

Wow! Fabulous!

31 Dec 2009 7:09am

Marie from FRESNES, France

simple et très beau.

4 Jan 2010 9:55pm

Mayukh from Bangalore, India

this image gives an idea of how "moon and half-dome" would perhaps have looked in color. awesome shot :)

2 May 2010 9:07pm