Canyonlands National Park

The Island in the Sky section of Canyonlands National Park is right next to the Dead Horse Point State Park and forms the northern piece of the Canyonlands pie which is divided into three large sections by the Colorado and Green rivers. The famous Mesa Arch is located in this section as well as some fantastic overlooks over the entire park.

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?

Leave a Reply