April 25, 2013

Mesa Arch, Canyonlands

Photograph by Chris Carvalho, Your Shot

This Month in Photo of the Day: Nature and Weather Photos

Mesa Arch in Utah's Canyonlands National Park is one of the finest places for a photographer to start the day. This 4x5 negative was exposed with an old lens, a 121mm Schneider Super Angulon. It was a favorite of Ansel Adams. While an excellent optic for its time, it only had single-layer coating and was subject to more flare than modern lenses. In this instance, it created a starburst pattern with rainbow streaks that add greatly to the character of the image.

(This photo and caption were submitted to My Shot.)

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41 comments
Christine Gant
Christine Gant

Please could you do a Pinterest button to make it so much easier to get your amazing photographs around the world...thank you, merci...

Shannon T
Shannon T

Stunning. I imagine one would feel very small standing there looking through that arch at the canyon beyond. Thank you Chris.

Ramsay Nike
Ramsay Nike

AWSOME photo. My favorite part is how the sun is shining through the bridge.

corbin beast
corbin beast

SWEET. I like how the sun light is bouncing off of the rocks and shining in the arch.

seth basketball
seth basketball

It is cool how you got the sun in the picture. The arch is very cool.

Aidan Nunook
Aidan Nunook

The sun light bouncing off of the rocks make the whole arch and canyon appear to glow, and the amazing spires are an treat to see.

Ayisha Christmas
Ayisha Christmas

This picture is really pretty. The sun's rays look like they are trying to reach the ground. I like how you can't see the sun, but you can see the rays clearly.

Micaela Mustache
Micaela Mustache

This photo is awesome. I like how you can see the sun shining  on the rocks.

B. slender man
B. slender man

this photo is amazing because you got the sun set in it. And you got the back around to. And the other formations behind it 

Mallory K
Mallory K

I like how you got the sun's rays. Also I love how you got some of the arch.

delbert knightman
delbert knightman

This canyon is really cool i have been to this place and it is really big.

Tabitha Sage
Tabitha Sage

I like how you can see the rays of the sun. This is such a beautiful picture.

Gracee Softball
Gracee Softball

This is really cool i like how the sun is shining through. I also like how you can see other  rocks in the distance.

CoShane Rich
CoShane Rich

This is a cool photo i like that the back ground is bleary and the close to you is clear.also i like that the sun is making Rainbow. 

Cason Purell
Cason Purell

I wonder how the tree grew there? I wonder how far it is?

Kobe Johnson
Kobe Johnson

This is a cool sight to see. That is in Utah that's where i live.

Shai Shai
Shai Shai

The sunshine shining through the arch looks AWESOME! This looks like Monument Valley.

Justin Herobrine
Justin Herobrine

I like how you can see the rays from the sun. The rock behind the arch is called six shooter rock.

matthew s.
matthew s.

NICE PHOTO! How many of you have been there.

Dan Dady
Dan Dady

I really did like the image at first sight but the more I view it, the more I see that there are some problems with it. Is the subject the arch, the Sun, or the lens flare?

Googling "Mesa Arch" and viewing the images page shows that this may be one of the most spectacularly  photographed natural arches around. (This image shows up there as well) I'm not sure what you were trying to accomplish with this shot, other than highlighting the lens flare. 

While there is not much of the image underexposed there are large portions overexposed. I suppose this is why Ansel Adams rarely included the Sun directly in his shots. (I can't think of any offhand) The subject has a dynamic range that exceeds the media, or as Adams would say; It's outside of the  Zone. 

If this was scanned with a high enough bit depth some dodging could possibly be done, but it would be very, very difficult because of the lens flare. There could also be other options, if there were some bracketing shots. Adams did this as well but instead of digital layer masking in Photoshop he actually used physical layer masks during the printing process. 

I still love film chemistry media, I would love to get my hands on a good 8x10. Lots of great images, that are much better than this particular one, on your website as well. Thanks for sharing.


peter dubois
peter dubois

extraordinary and breath takingly beautifull

Once again
Once again

I got warm just by looking at this.

Chris Carvalho
Chris Carvalho

You can check out more of my images at http://www.lensjoy.com.  As Xava noted, preparation was important.  I arrived very early, about an hour before sunrise.  With a 4x5 camera, one must focus the image upside down on a glass screen before exposure.  Focusing for this shot is fairly straightforward but it's done in very low light, and rechecked as the sun came up.  I took a couple of photos when the sun just broke the horizon, but the best light on the bottom of the arch is just before the sun goes above it.  I watched on the ground glass screen and when the sun was just about there, I slid the film holder in and took the shot.  Light metering was with a handheld spot meter.  I took readings from the distant sky, bottom of the arch, and foreground sandstone to arrive at the best exposure.  

Omar Garcia
Omar Garcia

My God, this is truly a beautiful picture. I've been following the photo of the day for a while now and this is really is one the most breathtaking pictures I've seen. 

The frame that the rocks provide on the horizon is amazing, the sun rising and creating the rainbow patterns just tops it all off. Thank you @Chris Carvalho


Xava Paredes
Xava Paredes

The preparation for this pic is important when one man or  woman want  a beautiful image...

Susan P.
Susan P.

Wow ... just wow. The glare adds a beautiful touch to an already stunning landscape.

Cedar Waxwing
Cedar Waxwing

I was there on a rainy day and it was still so awesome. Brings back great memories. Really nice photo Chris

DM NF
DM NF

This is a magnificent vista that's ever I saw!

Myra Linara
Myra Linara

Truly a vision that's going to stay in my mind for a long, long time.

Chris Carvalho
Chris Carvalho

@Cason Purell The little tree (top center left) is growing in the sandstone.  I think it's a juniper.  These are all over in rock formations in the park and it is amazing how they survive.  The arch itself is only about ten feet away from the camera; I used a wide-angle lens to fit it into the frame but not show too much of the sky above it, which was mostly clear and not that interesting.  

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