I went to Mesa Arch for sunrise and was not overly surprised to find 30 other photographers there at 5:30 am. Its spectacular setting and convenient location (only a 5-minute walk from the road) make it very popular. I arrived later than most of the photographers and had to settle for scraps in terms of real estate – the others had staked their claims with their tripods all jammed in a tight row in the favorable locations (it is a small site with only roughly 15 feet of space for the “money shot” of the sun rising through the arch.)
I managed to get some decent shots; most people were being rather polite until the moment right before the sun broke over the horizon. At that point, elbows started flying – figuratively at least. A non-photographer made the mistake of running the gauntlet in front of the row of photographers in order to see the sunrise through the arch. At least half a dozen people started getting irate with him complaining about him blocking their shots. “I’ve got two eyes and I’ve come over a thousand miles to see this so you can wait for 2 seconds.” Right on man. After that incident, I separated myself from the pack and took some shots from other angles. Photographers can be real assholes.
In fact, earlier, a guy with a point and shoot camera came up behind me and started setting up his tripod. I looked at his equipment and the first thought I had was that he didn’t belong there. A few seconds later, I realized how elitist that was and made some space so that he could get some shots. I heard so many of the photographers there complaining about not being able to get shots of many of the arches without people in them. I wonder how many people complained about all the photographers getting in their way?