Capturing sunrise at Balanced Rock

We arrived in Moab on Friday night of Presidents Day weekend and got everyone in bed at a pretty decent hour. But of course my photography bug hit and my alarm clock ended up going off Saturday morning at 5:30 so I could make an early morning trek into Arches National Park to capture sunrise. Since I was going in solo, I wan’t planning to hike any major trails. I was gonna hang out in the Courthouse Tower area so I could photograph west as the sun rose in the east. I didn’t really want to be photographing directly toward the rising sun – but I also had to be back to the hotel by 7:30 am so I could get everyone up and meet our friends for breakfast at 8 am.

After entering the park, I continued past Courthouse Towers and figured I would check out Balanced Rock while I waited for the sun to start illuminating something (because 5:30 am was pretty darn early). But what ended up happening at Balanced Rock kept me there longer than I wanted, but it was well worth it.

Balanced Rock Arches National Park sunset photo

Canon 60D | 22mm (10-22mm lens) | 59 seconds | f/8.0 | ISO 100 | RAW

As I contemplated my first visit to Arches National Park in almost 20 years, I think I recalled my first-ever “money shot” coming from an 8th grade trip to the park. As our bus was heading out of the park at sunset, I grabbed my little point-and-shoot, placed it against the bus window, covered up the flash so it wouldn’t illuminate the window, and snapped a few shots at sunset. I recalled the photo – there was the silhouette of the rocky horizon with layers of the sky ranging through the shades of orange and black. It made me want to go back through some of those early photos, which I think I will officially associate with my start in photography.

Anyway, we had a great time as a family and there were many opportunities to capture some amazing landscapes – both day and night. I invite you to check out my Flickr set on the photos from this trip. But I plan to share the stories behind each of the photos and experiences in subsequent blog posts.

~signed, Carltonaut

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