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Utah Photography Trip (Arches, Needles, Island in the Sky)


I just returned home from a photography trip… my first in quite a few years. My family went to Colorado for a family vacation. While there I took a solo side trip to Utah for a few days. I spent some time at Arches National Park and at two areas in Canyonlands (Island in the Sky and Needles).

I took pictures with film, so I don’t have anything to post just yet. :)

I used my new F6 during the trip. I found the camera extremely easy to use and quite intuitive. I was able to set up and use various features without too much time spent on the manual. I do intend to read the manual over the coming months so I can use the camera features that are available, but for this trip I felt quite comfortable with everything I wanted to do. For example, setting up bracketing is extremely easy. What I missed was how to get the bracketing to shoot all of the exposures with a single press of the shutter (which I assume is possible) so I had to expose each shot manually. One of the things I really like is the ability to record and then download the photo information from the camera to a memory card so I don’t have to take notes on exposure times and so on.

I spent one evening at the Windows area of Arches. The next morning I went to Mesa Arch for sunrise, and was a bit underwhelmed. At this time of year the sun rises too far north to get the real “pop” that I have seen earlier in the year, so I didn’t take many pictures. From there I drove south to the Needles district and spent the afternoon walking around and getting lost and found again. :lol: I figure I walked about 6 miles that afternoon.

On the way back to my camp site I did some experimentation with Newspaper Rock. If the pictures come out, I’ll post some, otherwise this is the last time you’ll hear of the subject. ;-)

The next morning I had planned to view Landscape Arch but I was just worn out from the hiking the prior day. I had plenty of food and water, but not enough electrolytes or whatever it is they put into Gatoraid. I spent the entire night fighting cramps in my legs and arms and was just not ready to get up in the morning for sunrise. Instead I slept in, then went to the store and purchased some Gatoraid and did some shopping for my family in downtown Moab.

Mesa Arch Sunrise

I don’t think I have ever been to Mesa Arch for sunrise and been the only person there. This year was no exception. By the time the sun was coming up there were at least six or seven people there. If you’re interested in seeing Mesa Arch I think the best time of year is probably January to March. At that time of year the sun rises with more of a straight shot into the valley below the arch and I think it’s much more interesting. For example, here’s a shot that I took on an earlier trip in March:

The sun is coming up to the right of the La Sal mountains. On this trip (in June) the sun was coming up far to the left of the mountains and therefore the valley below the arch had too many shadows. The best shot that I have of the Delicate Arch was also taken in March.

Film at Eleven

As mentioned earlier I primarily shot with my F6 on this trip. I used Fuji Velvia slide film for the trip and will be sending it off to get developed in the next day or two. Once the slides are returned I will try to post anything that turned out interesting.


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