Butte and Petrified Dunes, Arches National Park. Arches National Park, Utah. October 10, 2012. © Copyright 2012 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.
Morning light on buttes and petrified dunes, Arches National Park
While I’m fascinated and amazed by the namesake arches in this park and by the monumental sandstone buttes, mesas, fins, canyons, towers, and more… I also find that the light and the atmosphere can produce some of the most interesting subjects in Arches National Park. Because this particular butte and the terrain beyond are seen from a spot that is also excellent for photographing certain other nearby subjects, especially in the early morning, this was not the first time that I photographed this scene – though the atmosphere and light were so different on the two main occasions that you might hardly see them as the same subjects at first.
After photographing some impressive nearby sandstone formations in early morning light, I watched as the sun rose high enough to slant its light across the tops of the low formations known as petrified dunes. This is one of several photographs I made there were largely “about” that light and those dune structures, though in both cases I used them as elements in a larger scene rather than the primary subject. Here the backlit morning haze was thick enough to almost render the furthest buttes in the upper right corner of the frame invisible. They are a good distance away, being on the far side of the canyon of the Colorado River, which is visible in front of the buttes. The large, close butte at the lower left posed a challenge as the “front” side was in shadow. (Though the challenge here was less than the last time when I shot here – on that occasion the backlight was so brilliant that I could keep almost no detail in the front of that butte.)
G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist whose subjects include the Pacific coast, redwood forests, central California oak/grasslands, the Sierra Nevada, California deserts, urban landscapes, night photography, and more.
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