Arches National Park – Utah


You’d really have to try to not get a good picture in this place. I suppose you could leave the lense cap on, put your thumb in every shot or give your camera swimming lessons in the hotel pool the night before. Any such momentary lapse of reason aside, you’re all but guaranteed at least a few good shots. Early morning or late afternoon when the sun is lower in the sky seems best. Sunset + Red Rocks = Holy-Wow!

We visited for two days but still didn’t feel like we spent enough time there. It was early July so it was ~99 degrees and low humidity, not too terribly intimidating for a pair of Arizona lizards. Adding to that is heat radiating from the sandstone, but we were so happy to be there it didn’t phase us much. I could spend days here exploring the trails and dirt roads. The visitor center is well done and very informative. We toured it after the first day and it improved our knowledge and perspective of the place. They also have free filtered water taps to fill your canteens. Nice!

The camera used was an Olympus E-500 with a Zuiko 14-45mm lense. I set it to landscape mode and went to work. In this place I could have gained some by shooting raw, manual & HDR but time was short and I needed to balance photography with being present enough to properly absorb the place. As usual I post-processed in Darktable under Linux. Most images were good out of the camera but I did some minor nudges here & there to gain some on-screen pizazz.

Local Contrast
Shadows & Highlights*
Lens Correction
Crop & Rotate

* Many of these photos were shot mid-day where the sky was bright and the shadows under the arches were large. I was surprised how much I could recover using the Shadows & Highlights module. So much so, I think I’m going to do a series of short tutorials on Darktable modules.

Thanks for l00kin!

— Ken Ranous

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