Arches, Stars and Jupiter Captured in a Photo


Arches National Park is amazing by day… but I strongly recommend people take it all in by night as well. While taking a family vacation in Moab earlier this month, I was kinda disappointed that a sky full of white blinding clouds were keeping me from capturing the contrast of the red rocks and the blue sky. But one night, the clouds moved out leaving a 100 percent clear sky… allowing the stars to shine and the full moon to illuminate the landscape.

So around 9:30 I headed out into the park with my gear and an almost full battery to capture my best shot. After capturing a closeup of the moon, I turned my camera to the red rocks and dark sky. However, when I saw the results of my first long exposure, my thoughts were mixed. The red rock wall that was in the shadows of the lighting from the moon were pretty black, but when I saw a small portion of the wall that was lit up I whipped my camera to a new angle and started some exposures.

I’ll have to share these initial photos in another post, because after playing near the Courthouse Towers, I worked my way to Balanced Rock (again, some photos I will have to share in a subsequent post) and eventually on to Double Arch, which was my desired destination. As I parked and started down the trail, a group of three people with tripods and cameras made their way to their car, thus leaving the entire trail to me and my Canon 60D and lenses.

Without the need for a flashlight, I made my way down the short trail, stopping on occasion to take some exposures of Elephants Parade and the night sky (yet another post). I eventually made it up to Double Arch, set up the camera and started a long exposure. I captured three or four long exposures of Double Arch, each offering a slightly different foreground elements or view of the stars through the arches.

One element of the night sky that was baffling me was a really bright light that I couldn’t find on my star chart. I AM NOT SAYING IT WAS AN ALIEN SPACE SHIP!! I eventually decided it was a planet… with my initial thoughts settling on Venus. I later found out it was Jupiter, and I loved being able to say I had a photo with Jupiter making it’s way across the night sky. So, after sharing everything leading up to the photo, here it is…

Photo Double Arch Jupiter full moon stars

Canon 60D | 10mm | 603 seconds | f/8.0 | ISO 100 | RAW | Lightroom Edits

I invite you to check out my Flickr set of photos from around the Moab, Utah area, but I plan to provide additional write-ups about some of the photos and share what I was going for and the surprises I was able to find in my little LCD screen after an exposure.

I’ll also plan to some one of my pet peeves and what should be common courtesy when it comes to multiple photographers photographing the same landscape or feature.

Stay tuned for more.

~signed, Carltonaut

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