I think the sunrise shoot at Mesa Arch was the highlight of the NXNW trip for me. The view here was spectacular!
Like Delicate Arch (which I have yet to post a picture of), this place is very popular but unlike Delicate Arch, there isn’t much space for photographers to set up at Mesa Arch. The area directly in front of the arch is only about 25 or 30 feet wide and by the time we got there at 5:30am or thereabouts, it was already pretty well filled with tripods. I had hoped to get this shot, or something very similar, using my fisheye lens to catch the sun peeking over the horizon under the arch but, because of the slot I managed to find to set up my tripod, it wasn’t possible – there were too many other tripod legs encroaching on the frame. As a result, I waited until everyone else left (about 2 minutes after the sun appeared) and got the composition I had wanted, albeit without the sun visible. I suppose I could have waited and got a sun flare version when it rose above the top of the arch but other locations were calling by that time.
For the technically inclined, this is the first HDR I’ve posted which I generated using a new workflow. The Photomatix ”Merge to 32-Bit HDR” plugin for Lightroom allows me to generate a 32-bit TIFF from my brackets without going through the Photomatix GUI at all. Thanks to improvements in Lightroom 4, I can then edit this TIFF directly in the Develop module and use all the normal camera raw settings only with vastly expanded range. The result is a wonderfully realistic looking image that, in my opinion, beats Photomatix Exposure Fusion hands down.
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