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Icons are icons for a reason. My initial feeling is always to avoid icons, because they've already been photographed a kazillion times before - what's the point. However, at the same time I'm always curious to see the icon myself, and when I'm there I always end up trying to do my own version. Same here.

Everywhere you read about Mesa Arch, people say that it's a sunrise location and they're very specific even about the exact time that you should shoot it - only during a few minutes after sunrise when the arch turns bright red. This was very helpful information, so I decided to go there at night. :-)

The most obvious advantage was that there was no one there - not very typical for this location. I had the whole place to myself and was able to use a small flashlight to paint the arch without bothering anyone else.

I had timed my visit with full moon so that I basically had the same light situation as in the early morning, but much more subtle. I hid the moon behind the arch and used the moonlight to illuminate the background. During the 60 second exposure I painted the arch and the foreground rocks. I added a warm up gel to get a nice color contrast between the warm tones of the rock and the blue of the sky. This is a single exposure.

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