Saturday, October 30, 2010

Arches NP in Black & White

Our trip to Moab and Arches National Park was, as expected, outstanding.  We ended up hiking 17 miles of trails over the two days, and were rewarded with stunning views and lots of photos that I was quite pleased with.

Feeling poorly for most of the day today [for reasons unrelated to our trip or the hiking], I did not end up spending the day painting as planned.  But, I did edit my photos, and while doing so, decided to revisit the black and white format for some.  Those that have been following this blog for a while probably recall that b&w images have made their appearance from time to time.   They can be seen in these posts.  

Probably all contemporary photographers who work in b&w photography draw influence and inspiration from master photographer Ansel Adams, and I'm no exception.  This past April, I was fortunate to see many of his photographs at the Tucson Museum of Art as part of a special exhibition.

I'll definitely be posting more of the photos from this trip, in color, but I thought I'd start by distilling the rock and landforms of Arches to their bare essence of shapes and values in some black & white (or monochrome; there is one with a slight sepia tint to it).   I love color, of course, but every now and again, it's good to remove oneself from that potential crutch.  And, sometimes, the images are just more powerful in black and white.

Tower of Babel
This remarkable free-standing towering wall of sandstone layers is located a few miles within the park boundary.  

North Window Arch
Eroded sandstone forms are framed by this large arch in the Windows section of the park.

Sandstone Icon
Delicate Arch, one of the most famous natural arches in the world, frames a section of the Windows area of the park in this view to the southwest.

Delicate's Shadows
Mid-afternoon fall light casts strong shadows from this beautiful free-standing arch, which frames a portion of the snow-covered La Sal Mountains to the southeast.

Towards the Light
The afternoon sun casts its rays from the corner of Landscape Arch before dropping below the sandstone horizon.  This arch is the longest natural arch in the world, spanning a whopping 306 feet from base to base.


  1. Thanks, Helen! This was the first time I've been to Arches, but it definitely won't be the last. I could spend a couple of weeks in this park, hiking, painting and taking photos.

  2. These are beautiful! I think Tower of Babel is my favorite. B&W was a good choice for these images. Hope you're feeling better!

  3. Hi Liz - thanks! Tower of Babel is probably my favorite as well, actually. It looks okay in color, but I like it better in B&W. I'm feeling normal today - thanks - as I figured I would; it's one of those cyclic issues...

    Morgen - thanks, man! Glad you like them. I need to send you the one I mentioned in my earlier email ;).

  4. So awesome. The first and last images are seriously killer.
    I was there once and want to go back someday.
    OK, now I'm feeling guilty because I've been not painting for a few days and here you are being productive in your studio... :)

  5. Thanks, Jala - sometimes a good shot just falls into place. The last one of Landscape Arch was a luck shot with the position of the sun as we hiked back past it.

    Don't even feel guilty for not painting for a few days; I wouldn't feel like painting either if I'd been in your shoes.


Your thoughtful comments add value to this blog - thank you so much for taking the time to leave them!

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