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Fitness and Photography for Fun - A blog on staying fit by hiking and doing photography by David Mendosa

Landscape Arch‏

April 19th, 2010 · No Comments

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When I got into Moab, Utah, on Friday I noticed a newspaper clipping posted in the office of the motel where I am staying. It says that Landscape Arch in Arches National Park is the world’s longest. Immediately I decided that I had to photograph it.

Landscape Arch has a span of 290 feet, three feet more than Kolob Arch in Zion National Park. Rainbow Bridge is the world’s longest natural bridge, but has only the sixth longest span. Sipapu Natural Bridge in Natural Bridges National Monument, which I photographed on Thursday, ranks seventh.

The entrance to Arches National Park is only two miles from Moab. Its proximity probably has a lot to do with how popular this desert town is with tourists. Visitors booked every hotel and motel room in town on Friday.

Since the park is so close to Moab, as soon as I settled into my room I drove there on Friday afternoon. But the ranger at the visitor center told me that the morning just after sunrise was the best time to photograph Landscape Arch.

So I waited. Meanwhile, I toured other areas of the park, looking especially for scenes best photographed in the late afternoon sun.

These sandstone fins, which early settlers named Park Place because they reminded them of city skyscrapers, was the first place where I stopped.

Park Place

Park Place

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Next, I visited Fiery Furnace. Why these fiery red rocks got that name is easy to understand when seen in the late afternoon sunlight.

Fiery Furnace and the La Sal Mountains

Fiery Furnace and the La Sal Mountains

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This morning I made sure to get up at 5 a.m. so that I would see Landscape Arch as soon as the sun came up. The drive to the Devils Garden trailhead took only about three-fourths of an hour from my motel room in Moab, but the one mile hike to the arch took equally long.

I was surprised to be the only person viewing the arch. But as I was setting up my camera and tripod, three other photographers came along.

Landscape Arch

Landscape Arch

Click on the picture above to enlarge

Viewing Tunnel Arch requires only a short side trip off the trail to Landscape Arch. Like Fiery Furnace, it deserves its name.

Tunnel Arch

Tunnel Arch

Finally, this morning I pulled out all the stops to capture this image of Delicate Arch. When I first visited Arches National Park a little over a year ago, I made the three mile hike to view it from the west in the late afternoon sun. I doubted if I could beat that shot, but when I noticed that morning light was best to see it from viewpoints from the east, I decided to give it a try.

I lugged all my photo gear up a steep but mercifully short trail. I took it all, because I didn’t know which lens I would have to use. Good thing, because I needed both my 300mm prime lens and my 1.4x teleconverter to get in close enough. Of course, with that lens combination I had to use my tripod and cable release too, but I used them on all my other shots at Arches anyway.

Delicate Arch is much smaller than Landscape Arch. But the solitary hiker right under the arch gives a good idea of its size. I couldn’t even see that hiker with my naked eyes.

Delicate Arch

Delicate Arch

Click on the picture above to enlarge

Arches National Park is an exercise in superlatives. While Landscape Arch is the world’s longest, Delicate Arch is the world’s most photographed.

I hope that these pictures give you some idea why Arches National Park is my favorite place in the whole state of Utah and why I think that it is one of the most beautiful places in the world.

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