The Illuminating Lens

The Windows Section – Arches National Park, Moab, Utah – Part 3 – 2023

Once again, at O Dark Thirty, we dragged ourselves out of bed to get to our destination before sunrise.  This morning’s location was The Windows Section in Arches National Park.

This part of Arches National Park has a large concentration of arches so there is a lot to see in a relatively small area.

As we arrived at The Windows Section trailhead parking area, the sky was still pretty dark so we donned our trusty headlamps, gathered our camera gear, and headed up the trail.  The trail has a slight rise and there are a lot of steps!

I immediately noticed that the full moon was still in the sky so I looked for a way to include it in an image.

Using my tripod I made a long exposure of one of the paths through the arches. Then using daylight settings (remember the moon’s light is reflected sunlight) I made another exposure with the moon properly exposed.  Back at home in Photoshop, I created the image below compositing the moon into the brighter image of the rock formations.  I just wish I had taken a third image of the rock on the right side that was also in focus!  Live and Learn!

Full Moon composited into long exposure of rocks. Nikon Z7 with FTZ and Nikon F Mount 70-200mm lens.


As I turned around and looked for my next shot I saw that the light was starting to come up in the east.

Pre-Dawn Colors! Nikon Z7 with FTZ and Nikon F Mount 70-200mm lens


As I looked around I saw some mountains and snow…these will always pull me away from what is right in front of me!

Dawn over the distant mountains. Nikon Z7 with FTZ and Nikon F Mount 70-200mm lens.


I had also brought along my infrared converted Nikon Z6 with the Nikon Z 14-24mm lens so as the formations were getting a bit more illuminated I decided it was time for some infrared.

Turret Arch in the early light. Nikon Z6 (converted to infrared – Supercolor – 590nm) and Nikon Z 14-24mm lens.


After our geology lesson the day before (see Part 2) I was intrigued by all the rock formations around the Turret Arch so I made several images including a panorama to get all of it as it was very wide!

Turret Arch with Setting Moon – Nikon Z7 with Nikon 24-70mm lens.


Panorama of Turret Arch. Nikon Z7 with Nikon Z 24-70mm lens. 9 images ( 3 sets of 3 exposures shot vertically and combined and sown together in Lightroom).


As the ambient light was getting brighter I walked toward the other 2 arches that were close by.

As I walked toward the South Arch I again was pulled to another interesting rock and snow combination!

Snow! Nikon Z7 and Nikon Z 24-70mm lens.


As I walked toward the South Arch which is quite large, I noticed patches of ice in the areas that most likely had not seem much sun!

Rocks and Ice! Nikon Z7 and Nikon Z 24-70mm lens.


The South Arch is at an angle that the light was not coming through it this time of day so I did a documentary shot.

South Arch – Nikon Z7 with Nikon Z 24-70 lens.


I walked around the South Arch along the ridge toward the North Arch.  I walked up close to the opening and could see that the sun was rising and would be shining through the arch so I backed off and waited!

At first, the sun lit up the rocks through the North Arch.

North Arch in the sunlight, Nikon Z7 with Nikon Z 24-70mm lens.


Then as the sun rose higher I backed off and moved over to the left to get this shot!

Sunflare and stairs. North Arch. Nikon Z7 with Nikon Z 24-70mm lens.


Our time at this location was running short so I started to walk back in the direction of the parking area. I realized that there was enough light to try the infrared again without the tripod so I went wide-angle for these images!

Turret Arch from the side, IR Converted Nikon Z6 with Nikon Z 14-24mm lens. Supercolor converted to Black and White.


I saw that the sunlight coming through the  North Arch was brushing along the tops of the bushes that were along the slope below the arch.  Again infrared would be perfect for this.

Sunlight through the arch brushes the plants. IR converted Nikon Z6 with Nikon Z 14-24mm lens. Converted to Black and White.


As I reached the parking area I made one last image of some of the rock formations in The Window Section.

Wide-Angle View of some of the rock formations highlighted by the rising sun! IR converted Nikon Z6 with Nikon Z 14-24mm lens.


We headed back to the hotel for some breakfast and some downloading time.

I highly recommend a visit to The Windows Section of Arches National Park in the early morning to get the sun coming through the arch.  Just be aware that there are a lot of steps on the trail.  FYI: There are additional arches that are in the northern direction from the parking area that we did not have time to explore!

For larger versions of these and more images please click on any of the landscape images or visit my gallery: The Windows Section 

My next blog will be about our late afternoon and sunset location, Skyline Arch.

That is all for now!



Lynn Wiezycki

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