Excursions around Moab, Utah

Mesa Arch, Sunrise, Canyonlands National Park, Utah

The image above, Mesa Arch Sunstar Panorama, is an image I had wanted to create for quite some time. On the last morning of our family camping trip in Moab I left camp at 5:00 am with my fingers crossed. After almost an hours drive from Moab into Canyonlands National Park I arrived at the trailhead. I made the easy hike, about 1/2 mile, via the light of my headlamp to Mesa Arch. I arrived with plenty of time to select the angle I wanted and to refine my composition and focus. (look for a future post on the importance of good planning!) This is exactly the image I had envisioned. The large format equipment allowed me to hold strong detail in the distant canyon bottom, along with the glowing arch in the foreground. The glow occurs after the sun rises. Those warm rays of magic hour reflect off of the sandstone cliff face below and illuminate the arches underside. I waited for the sun to reach the arches rim before exposing this image, as I wanted the sunstar effect to enhance the scene (the star effect is caused by light rays refracting around the edge of the cliff). This is the most iconic of the images I created on this particular trip. Please look at my other images in the Southwest portfolio on www.jonpaulgallery.com .

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This entry was posted in Canyonlands, Landscape, National Parks, Utah and tagged , , , , .


  1. Jon Cornforth May 27, 2010 at 11:16 am #

    Great to see you starting up your own blog.

  2. Susanne B May 27, 2010 at 5:05 pm #

    What a beautiful shot! I love that you can see the mesa’s through the arch. It make me want to go to that exact location.

  3. Trimule May 27, 2010 at 5:14 pm #

    I think this (Mesa Arch)is one of your best yet. I saw it as soon as I came into the gallery. It really stood out in the panoramic format. Great stuff – keep it coming. I think you should go to the Li River in Guilin, China next. Spectacular scenery for you to capture.

  4. Alexander Rose September 3, 2010 at 12:20 pm #

    Heyho there, always enjoy reading your blog posts. Keep up the great Work!

  5. John September 11, 2010 at 2:36 am #

    hey, nice blog…really like it and added to bookmarks. keep up with good work