Sunrise at Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park

Mesa BurstMesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park / Photo by Brian Koprowski

When you plan a trip to a place like Canyonlands National Park in Utah, there’s always at least one shot that’s your “must get” photo of the trip. I’ll be there at the end of August for three sunrises and four sunsets and at least one of those will be dedicated to Mesa Arch.

You see these great landscapes — like the one above by Brian Koprowski — and, if you’re like me, you’re blown away by the majesty of it all. You wonder what it must have been like to be the photographer sitting there in the pre-dawn darkness all alone with this magnificent scene.

Except, the reality is, you’re often not alone. Especially, when it’s an iconic location like Mesa Arch. And especially when that location is only a half mile hike from the parking lot.

I wrote Koprowski, a photographer from the Chicago area, and asked him about this scene. He said he got up early and made his way from Moab to Canyonlands where he was far from the first person to arrive at the arch.

“Once there, Mesa Arch was crowded with other photographers already lined up to shoot,” Koprowski wrote. “I walked down and another photographer was gracious enough to let me slip in next to him.”

He captured this image with a Pentax K-5 and a Sigma 10-20mm lens fitted with a polarizer filter.

I’ll be in Canyonlands the weekend before Labor Day, so I’m expecting lots of company the morning we shoot Mesa Arch. While it would be nice to have the scene all to ourselves, if I can get a shot like Brian’s I don’t think I’ll mind that much.

 Image of Mesa Arch by flickr user Brian Koprowski is used under a Creative Commons license.

Joe Newman

I'm Joe Newman, multi-media story teller, non-profit do-gooder, international street photographer, serious poker player, intrepid traveler. Bourbon drinker.

4 Comments
  • Leigh

    August 9, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    Lovely shot from one of my favourite parts of the world. Years ago I spent a week mountain biking in the Maze – and it was one beautiful vista and day after another.

    • Joe Newman

      August 9, 2013 at 2:43 pm

      I’m really looking forward to the trip. About 8 years ago, I biked through Monument Valley and did a day trip to Arches. It’s incredible scenery out there.

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