In praise of place: the dry lands (Part 5)
Sometimes it pays to play the tourist.
While enjoying our first summer vacation in Utah (after over a decade hanging out in Ouray), Anne and I spent one late August afternoon walking around downtown Moab, checking out the bookstore and paying far too much for tarted-up club sandwiches in a main street eatery.
Mostly to escape the broiling sun for a spell, we ducked into the Chamber of Commerce. While Anne was visiting the restroom, I had a chat with the nice lady behind the counter and mentioned we were heading out to Arches National Park that evening for some sunset shots.
She offered up a list of likely locales that would be exceptional for sunset photography, one of which struck a chord with me strictly on the basis of its name: The Fiery Furnace.
Strangely, the greatest volume of tourist traffic in the park (and it’s a great volume indeed!) occurs around midday, when the lighting conditions are at their worst and the heat is downright debilitating. The only way to see some of the more popular landmarks is to view them over the tops of winnebagos (or generic equivalent).
But towards sundown, the crowds tend to disperse. Anne and I actually found ourselves entirely alone at the overlook for the Fiery Furnace, where I set up my tripod and snapped a series of shots as the lighting gradually changed on the rocky fins and promontories.
Around about dusk, a friendly couple from Germany joined us; Anne occupied them with political repartee while I switched lenses and modified exposures to suit my whim.
It was a memorable evening, and a rewarding photographic expedition.