The last time I visited Arches National Park was just about 10 years ago. I was 10 years younger and… many pounds lighter. I made the hike to Delicate Arch last time and remember it being a fun one. Not so much yesterday. If there ever was a reason to really start shedding to extra loving pounds, it was the condition of my body as I hoofed up the trail. Fortunately, my Sony mirrorless gear load was significantly lighter than if I had my older dSLR gear, so I had that going for me. :)

We got to the bowl of Delicate Arch about an hour before sunset and, because it is a holiday weekend in the US, the entire place was literally swarming with other people. It’s understandable, really. Everyone, including our group, were visiting for the same reasons and we all have the same right to enjoy this spectacular monument. Fortunately, the crowd was able to agree with itself to keep the overall arch clear of ‘people-obstructions’ for the entirety of the sunset, which all of the photographer were undoubtedly grateful for.

Even better is what happens once the sun goes down. Within a few minutes after the sunset, a mass exodus of people began shuffling back down for dinner or drinks or whatever. The bottom line was that the population of the bowl went from several hundred to about 20 people. It was wonderful. It was also the perfect time for me to continue putting the not-yet-released Sony FE 16-35mm F4 ultra-wide angle to use with my Sony A7r. I meant to use my A7s, as it’s a freaking monster in low light conditions, but I forgot to switch bodies. Regardless, I’m pleased to say that this lens continues to be a total champ, performing wonderfully in the field. Once again, a big thanks to Randy Van Duinen for being such an awesome trooper and workshop leader. In addition to his full gear load, he also brought up all of the lighting gear needed to light up Delicate Arch. Not only did we have perfect conditions for a very comfortable night shoot, the moon also stayed below the horizon long enough for us to get some beautiful start shots of our Milky Way galaxy. I composited five separate layers in Photoshop CC, combining the different sections that we light painted, and then applied a quick VSCO preset in Lightroom for stylization.