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After Christmas in 2011, I had the opportunity to visit Moab in the Winter.  I found it to  be much nicer (for me) from a photography standpoint since there were less visitors in the area (not completely empty, but nowhere near the crowds you’ll find in the Summer months!!).

My plan was to shoot Delicate Arch at Sunset & evening Twilight, then hike back up early in the morning for some night-sky photography, then hustle back down to the truck and head to North Windows Arch for Sunrise.

I made it to Moab, checked into my motel, then headed into Arches National Park.  Got to the Delicate Arch parking lot, geared up and started trekking (at a pretty good clip).  35 minutes later, I was at Delicate Arch and prepared to shoot.  Sunset was nothing spectacular so I held off ’til twilight for the good light & compositions I was trying to re-do (the shots I had composed in the past were not up to par for me).  Once again, I captured some decent shots, but still not quite what I was looking for overall.

Once Twilight done, I packed up, put the chest pack & backpack on and headed down the snowy/icy trail to the slick-rock and on back to the truck.  My trip back down was nowhere near as fast, as my knees were telling me that I hadn’t been so kind to them on the way up the hill.  I did try to get back to the truck at a decent clip, because my plan was to get to the hotel and get some sleep since I was originally planning to be back out on the trail by 3:30am.

As I drove back to the hotel, it was quite evident that my knees were unhappy, but I still set the alarm accordingly.  3am rolled around, after a lackluster sleep and I knew that I wasn’t up for trekking up to Delicate Arch, but was still up to some night-sky photography in the park!

I headed into the park and shot some night-sky pictures at La Sal Mountainss Viewpoint, then headed over to Turret Arch & the Windows for some more night sky photography.  I had decent settings, but the desired shots of the Milky Way were not to be; too much light pollution.

Since my original plan was totally off the radar, I decided that I would go shoot Delicate Arch from the Delicate Arch Viewpoint for morning twilight & sunrise, which is a different viewpoint or angle than most folks are used to seeing!  I shot the composition below using a 2x Tele-Converter III and my 70-200/2.8 II IS:

Delicate Arch View (25s @ f/16,400mm,ISO200):
Delicate Arch View

Over the last few years, I have had the great pleasure to meet a number of really nice people who are photographers!

Long overdue, I finally made it back to Moab to catch up with my friends Bret (@bretedgephoto), Melissa (@AdventureTykes) & Jackson Edge.  We met for dinner at Fiesta Mexicana and as Jackson (better known at J-Man) walks up to me, the first thing he says is “when are we going camping again?”  Truly melts your heart to know that you have made an impact on a child’s life!  He is definitely my little buddy. 🙂

Over the course of dinner, we talked about upcoming projects for 2014 and photography trips in the mill; There is undoubtably at least one, if not more, camping trips coming up in 2014 (or I’ll probably be in the doghouse with J-Man!).

2014 is almost upon us and from my perspective, more time spent with friends is very important!  Take the time to stay in touch and visit as often as you can.