Morning at Mesa Arch

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Time, or the lack thereof, can be a huge challenge to any nature or wildlife photographer. Some of the best times to shoot landscapes and catch wildlife out and about is early in the morning or just before dark. When shooting at these times you may only have minutes or even just seconds to capture the image you’re after and you are literally racing against time. This sunrise at Mesa Arch was captured early on a Friday morning. It’s a short, easy hike to the arch, but to get to the trail head from where I was camped meant waking up at 3:45. Couple this with having stayed up late to get some desert night shots and a full day of river rafting planned for later, it sure was hard to wake up! Once at the trail head, I took a quick hike via headlamp to setup tripod and camera. Because this arch is found within one of Utah’s most visited National Parks, this means the tourists and fellow photographers were not far behind, and dealing with them can be a struggle in itself. Within an hour of arriving I counted over 40 other people coming and going who had come to see the arch. Amidst people constantly climbing on the arch, walking in front of the camera and entering my frame to snap their own pictures, it was quite difficult to get a decent shot in the lighting I was hoping for.

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