Back in late May of this year, I ventured out to Utah to meet up with some photography friends for a week of shooting in the Desert Southwest. Red Rock Country provides so many photographic opportunities, it will always be high on my list of places to revisit. I arrived a couple of days early and spent some time in the Moab area. On this particular evening, May 22, I decided to hike up to Delicate Arch in Arches National Park. Me and a few hundred other people.
Delicate Arch is a very popular shooting destination for photographers and tourists alike, especially at sunset. It is a relatively short and easy hike, which makes it accessible to many. I arrived about an hour or so before sunset and staked out a location. As sometimes happens, the sunset that evening wasn't particular interesting and far from spectacular. I snapped a few obligatory shots and then set out exploring. My thought was to stay after dark and try to shoot for the stars.
I made my way down into the bowl below the arch just before dark. It's a good thing, too, for it gets pretty difficult to see up there, even with a headlamp. The idea was to set up the tripod with a good view of the sky, but to also include the arch in the shot. I also had to work fast because I knew the moon would be rising soon and would ruin any chance of creating a decent star trail image.
Although most sane people had already hiked back to their cars long before dark, there were still a few others besides myself out there. A small group of photographers were still on the upper rim of the bowl light painting the arch, so I had to work around their spotlights. As it turns out, some of the light that they provided helped contribute to my image.
The image below was a stack of 70 images. Each image was shot using the widest angle lens I had with me, 14 mm. Exposure time was 30 seconds, aperture of f/2.8, and an ISO of 800. I just barely beat the moon rising, as you can see from the bright light just to the right of the arch. It washed out some of the trails, but I still like the resulting shot.