I was tired, grumpy, and impatient as we walked the short walk to Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park back in December. Why? Very selfish, prideful reasons really. I didn’t want to be at Mesa Arch because as I told Rick, “there is one shot, and everyone has taken it”. I was referring to the sunrise glow at Mesa Arch which, while beautiful, has been shot to death.
I could have named off a who’s who of landscape photographers who have photos of Mesa Arch in their portfolios, and a majority of them look very similar. So that’s why I was grump, tired and impatient. Rick had wanted to shoot Mesa Arch again, he’d been there before at sunrise, and I wanted to continue down the road to the Green River Overlook and get more of a grand vista photo, similar to ones that we had taken a previous morning at Dead Horse Point State Park.
Then I saw Mesa Arch, and my pretenses and pride started to melt away. There were three other photographers already there, and by the looks of it one of them had camped out there that night. I walked over to the canyon rim beside Mesa Arch and started taking photos, trying to convince myself that shooting the icons is something real professionals don’t do. I was trying to convince myself of that while the sunrise was absolutely lighting up the sky and creating a beautiful palette of colors. I looked over at Mesa Arch and saw the red glow of the arch and that was the tipping point! I went over and got set up at the arch and started firing away photos, capturing the beautiful reds and oranges in the rock and in the sky. It was a truly beautiful morning and one that I won’t soon forget.
I’ve addressed my opinion on shooting the icons of landscape photography before and you can read that blog here, but that morning in Canyonlands National Park was just a gorgeous reminder of the beauty of Creation, and an even better reminder of why I got into landscape photography in the first place. The photograph that beauty and share it with everyone else. No pretenses, and trying not to take myself too seriously. Thank you for reading, I hope you have a great weekend! Get out there and shoot something!
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