Ranger Kathryn's Arches

September 29, 2010

Tough crowd of sunset photographers

My mind was still processing the rescue of the previous three hours, so I journeyed to my next assigned location and ambled slowly along the path to Delicate Arch. Sunset was a couple hours away. Visitors were going and coming, happy, hauling cameras and tripods, joking among themselves, pleased to be hiking to the most iconic of Arches’ arches. Inside I was cringing, knowing what a bossy and vocal crowd the sunset photographers are at The Arch.

Why does nobody shoot a side view of Delicate? Look at this fat leg of gorgeousness.

Arch etiquette is, for the most part, unwritten. There is one sign at the visitor center that suggests how to avoid being an ‘Arch Hog’ — i.e., occupy any arch space briefly, only for the time it takes to snap a photo, and exit quickly so others can photograph the formation. This common courtesy prevents hostilities from building in frustrated photographers.

However, the “Me under Delicate Arch” photo is everyone’s goal, and these desires often conflict with the masses’ wishes. I’ve learned to stay away from Delicate at sundown because it is a circus of boorish shutterbugs. With about 120 folks up there, tonight was no different. Even though sunset was still fifteen minutes away, any time an individual began walking toward the base of the arch, thirty or forty people would start booing or whistling. The person got the message and retreated.

I realized once again why I love wilderness, which humbles you but never shames you or bosses you around. Hiking down into the bowl beneath the arch, I decided to get shots from angles I’d not tried before. I even got a “back side of the arch” shot (large one above) before the mob became too angry, although my ranger uniform may have provided a modicum of immunity.

I’ll find my lovely end-of-day shots elsewhere from now on. Hope you enjoy these.


  1. I forgot to add: If you’re not into color, you may not remember that blue and orange are complementary colors. The rich rusts of sunset glow on the arch, against the azure sky, provide photos with the most ‘snap’ to them. Minutes make a difference in the orange color.

    Comment by kath56ryn — September 29, 2010 @ 8:45 am | Reply

  2. I think your “lasts”, are more likely “lasts for now”…. methinks you’ll be back as soon as feasible! Safe journey back, looking forward to having you more accessible on internet. Next chapter!

    Comment by Becky — September 29, 2010 @ 11:09 am | Reply

  3. so as not to miss a moment of your adventures, please text often during your journey eastward….

    Comment by john — September 30, 2010 @ 6:15 am | Reply

  4. Or email…or…call…or…:) safe jouney till the next one!

    Comment by chris — September 30, 2010 @ 9:23 pm | Reply

  5. Great photos!! What camera do you use? Thanks for sharing your blog! Ann

    Comment by Ann Rabie — February 20, 2011 @ 6:48 pm | Reply

    • Canon Powershot SX110 — a simple, easy-to-use point-and-shoot. These I took at the highest resolution setting, but I don’t know enough about photography to know whether that is a factor in how they have turned out! Thanks for subscribing to my blog, Ann!

      Comment by kath56ryn — February 20, 2011 @ 7:53 pm | Reply

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