Night at Delicate Arch


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Mar 12, 2010
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So we hiked up to delicate arch in Arches National Park the other night. I know, as far as landscapes are concerned, this is a fairly common shooting locale, but its common for a reason. I've been up there before, but never in the middle of the night, it was beautiful and just got better as the clouds dispersed some.

1 -the typical angle shot as you first approach the arch @50mm, it was still really cloudy behind it in this direction and stayed that way most of the time we were up there:

2 - angled shot from the side @ 16mm, this is when the clouds started to part a bit for us to see the Milky Way. I think I need to fix the light coloring on the bottom of the arch, I wasn't expecting this one to turn out like it did, the light is from someone down below it with one of those forehead flashlights looking up at the arch, the mix of flashlight (LED maybe?) and starlight, and ambient light on the horizon from the town make it tricky.
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Wow! You make me want to pack my bags and go. I love Arches, and these are great.

Thanks! its a beautiful area, I'd highly recommend it. there are typically lots of other people around during the day from the other times I've been there, but the night was incredible, if you go on a clear new-moon night you can get some exceptional views.
Very nice shots. Especially #2 with the Milky Way in the background. It looks like the arch is right at the beginning of infinity.

Arches is certainly a fantastic place, and one I'd love to see at night. I rode through there on a motorcycle trip with a friend, and we stopped so many times that we ran the battery down in one of the bikes. Too many stops, not enough run time in between ;) The place just begs one to stop though. Around every curve in the road is a scene that is better than the previous one. It just never stops.
Beautiful shots, such an amazing place.
Great pictures! For the second one, did you take a picture exposed for the stars and then one exposed for the lit up arch and stack them or is it just one exposure?
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Thanks guys!

Aguerra, nope its just one single's the image info: D800E, 16mm, f3.2, ISO3200, 65s exposure...I was actually exposing for the stars and expecting to get a silhouette of the arch, but the light painting on the arch was accidental by another person who happened to shine a flashlight up on the arch while my shutter was open. I got another shot with the silhouette/stars, but this one with the arch lit up turned out far better....the first shot the arch is lit by a flash probably 20 yards to camera left.
That's awesome. I wish there were places that dark here in Puerto Rico. Since it's such a small island, it's very hard to find a place that doesn't have light pollution, I am still searching though, and I was able to get some pictures with stars on my recent trip to Florida.
Awesome photos! I really liked the changes you made to #2. :D

aguerra1993 - yeah I bet being on the island is very restricting in that sense. I'm kindof lucky that I like within a few hours drive of some of the darkest areas in the country. Arches actually isn't even one of the darkest areas, you can still see the lights on the horizon from the nearby towns. but luckily the nearby towns are pretty small, there aren't any real 'cities' anywhere near it. Moab is pretty small, and Grand Junction, CO is probably the closest place that could be really called a 'city', but its over 100 miles away.
Don't know if this question qualifies as noob-ish, but how did you not get star trails with such a long exposure, and why doesn't the light shining up the arch kind of overexpose some of the picture?

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