Sunrise at Mesa Arch

Duke Johnson

About 5 years ago, I captured this image in the morning after a good snow storm. January Sunrise at Mesa ArchI was alone because no one else was stupid enough to drive all night through the storm to get there. You’ll notice the sun to the far right of the shot (early January).

By summer, the sun moves all the way to the left side of the opening as it works its way farther to the north, giving us longer days and more direct rays. Either way, it still illuminates the opening with its first red rays, making for an amazing experience (if you can detach yourself from your camera gear long enough to look).

In Utah, we see about 9 hours of sunlight in the winter and about 15 hours in the summer. The prolonged periods of darkness in the winter coupled with a much lower sun angle (the noon-time sun is much closer to the horizon) combine to give us brisk winters. In the summer, the reverse is true.

My love of sunrise at Mesa Arch made me want to try to capture the Milky Way near it. I wasn’t sure if the Milky Way would be over the arch at all, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to check.  That’s one of the subjects of my next entry.

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