High Hopes For Arches NP

So the cross country cycling road trip begins … at least for me, since the guys had already driven from Fairfax, VA to Park City, UT, including a stop for some mountain biking near Laramie, WY.  As was mentioned in the last blog post, the skies had cleared up upon our leaving Park City and remained that way during the 4 hour drive into Moab.

While Moab is a mountain biker’s dream location, for me, there was also Arches National Park just down the street from our lodging.  My new friend, Rachel (also a photographer) and I gladly allowed the guys to head up to the Slickrock Trail for some evening warmup riding.  We, on the other hand, headed up to Arches NP to catch the last bit of light and the accompanying sunset.  She had never been there and I had such amazing memories from the last time Tom & I met up with another good friend, Rodney, and got some wonderful shots, including some night photography as well.20150710-DSC_4874

The clouds were wonderful in creating a nice texture to the sky backdrop.  While there were some visitors milling around, we did our best to try to eliminate from our images.


A quick check on the setting sun and those wonderful clouds made us excited for the eventual sunset.


When the sun eventually set on the horizon, there was still a wonderful bask of warm gorgeous light on the red rock formations, so iconic of Arches NP.

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At one point I noticed that there was a rain storm brewing, but it was off in the distance.  We did wonder how the guys were fairing with the storm, but for us, we remained dry and determined.

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Then the colors started to emerge ….

20150710-DSC_4924…. and it was gorgeous!  Just about that same time, we could hear thunder and see lighting bolts coming down around us, though still off in the distance.  We also noticed that there were now 3 different rain downpours off in varying directions from us.

The sky turned very dark quickly and we began to try to capture the lightning strikes around us.  OK, maybe not too successfully, but we gave it a good effort.  Then we decided that there would be no light painting on the arches for us tonight and departed.  In case you’re wondering, yes, the guys got some of the rain as well.  Tomorrow’s a new day.


After dropping the guys off at the trailhead for the “Whole Enchillada” the next morning, we headed off back to Arches NP for some hiking and photography.


But as you can see, the skies were once again not cooperating.  About 30 minutes into shooting, we got poured on, as we ran through the rain, thunder, and lightning, trying to keep our gear safe and dry.  Before we did, we were able to grab a few shots.

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There’s something not compatible with lightning and barren exposures like the terrain at Arches NP.  While I had hoped to get some rest and venture out again in the middle of the night for night photography, the clouds made that an aborted effort.  I guess the rain had followed us and that I wasn’t meant to get much out of this side trip to Arches.  I wondered why … and hoped that I would find an answer somewhere along this road trip.  🙂

More to come from Moab, UT … stay tuned!

© 2015  Debbie Tubridy / TNWA Photography



The “Red Rocks Wonderland” of Arches NP

After spending a few days in the vicinity of Monument Valley, we made our way towards Moab, UT.  It would be our home for the next 3-4 days, as we explored the “Red Rocks Wonderland” of Arches National Park.

On our way into Moab, we first got a chance to stop and photograph Wilson’s Arch … you know … to get our photography started.  🙂  Well, that and give Tom a chance to run around the arch landscape and provide us with some perspective as to the size of Wilson Arch, which is approximately 91 feet in width and 46 feet in height.


Arches NP contains more than 2,000 natural stone arches, pinnacles, fins, and balanced rocks.  It’s also a landscape photographer’s dream … sunrise, early morning, early evening, and of course, late night … it really doesn’t matter, it’s always more than willing to please the viewer.  Upon arrival into the park boundaries, we immediately reached the iconic Balanced Rock landscape.


It was amazing to see how it transformed as the evening prompted the disappearing light. Along with the loss of light, we were also met with a drop in temperature as well.


Another area where we spent substantial time was at the Windows section … which provides views of the North Window and the South Window.


Nearby the Windows, one can climb the sandstone stairs to nearby Turret Arch.  I found it to be quite beautiful in the daytime, but also beautiful in the evening.



If you climbed up onto the North Window arch, and positioned yourself just right, you could frame Turret Arch through the North Window arch.  Pretty cool … thanks to Tom for testing out the waters of safety for us.  🙂



On tap for photography in Arches, was the inclusion of some night photography, preferably with the Milky Way looming in the distant night skies.


What we didn’t plan for was the rise of a substantial moon come around 1AM in the morning!  Once the moon made its appearance, the stars faded into the night’s sky.


What fun we had photographing at night … between setting up the angle of the shots, coordinating everyone’s remotes and exposure needs, and executing the “props”, it was a blast!  I was even impressed that we didn’t get hurt running here and there in the darkness … LOL.


Of course, there were opportunities for some wildlife shooting as well.  By this time, I was a bit “wildlife-deprived” and I believe that I was shooting just about everything that ran or flew by us.  Out came the long lens for some captures of this wonderful mountain bluebird … absolutely gorgeous.  There were also several ground squirrels running to and fro which were also fair game to my lens.



Park Avenue was another area that I found quite interesting.  It seemed like a corridor of sandstone formations with an alley between them.  In this shot I like the way the hikers are included, which to me allows for perspective of the area.


Double Arch is also quite the popular sight to photograph, though it was a bit of a challenge to shoot during the day.  It did make for some interesting composition for shooting the night’s sky, especially with the help of some props, thanks to Rodney!



I have to admit that my internal time clock was a bit messed up.  It seemed that we were either coming in at 3 in the morning … or leaving to go out at 3 in the morning.  Most afternoons were spent trying to catch up on some much needed sleep … or at least rest.


Moab is an outdoor adventurist’s playground … hiking galore and I believe that Tom was drooling being out there without his much adored mountain bike.  He made up for it though when he recently drove out to Oregon, by way of Moab, to make up for lost time and opportunity.  🙂


Yes, we had a great time in Arches NP … yet, there was still much more to do.  We barely scratched the surface of the area.  Note to self … return with a few extra weeks to spend.  I have a feeling though … it never seems like enough time.


Stay tuned for more from the Moab area … including the Potash Road drive.