The path toward Park Avenue
Ever since returning from my vacation in Arches NP, I’ve been swamped with day-job work as well as updating my Facebook photography page, uploading images to my photo website, working on a contract for a wedding and another one for a possible bellydance portfolio photo shoot, as well as writing a new article for the “Photography In the Parks” column on the National Parks Traveler website (which will show up in early March). So forgive me for such a long absence.
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When I visited Arches National Park in 2012, it was only for about 3 days. Not much time to actually take time to explore the park. So as soon as I returned to Texas, I began planning an early 2013 re-visit to Arches for a longer period of time.
Here are a few thoughts for you photographers:
- February is an awesome time to visit the park, if you can handle the cold temperatures. There are absolutely NO crowds – not even tour buses. That means you can explore popular spots like Balanced Rock, the Windows section, and Delicate Arch without having to clone people out of your images. At times, I was the only person there (Balanced Rock and Delicate Arch) and it was an incredible feeling. Plus, it might snow in February like it did for me when I was there.
Becky and Balanced Rock
Delicate Arch All To Myself!
Snow Day in the Park! Five inches of snow, actually.
- As you are heading into the park, along the main paved road, everything on the left side of the road (the west side) is best photographed during the morning hours.
Salt Valley and the Devil’s Garden during Sunrise
- Everything on the right side of the road (the east side) is best photographed during the afternoon and evening hours.
Balanced Rock and the La Sal Mountains in the Afternoon
This is, of course, a general rule of thumb, not set in stone.
- Visit a particular place more than once, at different times of the day. You will be surprised at how different your images look simply because of the time of day
The La Sal Mountain Viewpoint in the morning
The La Sal Mountain Viewpoint in the afternoon
- When you encounter one of those days during which you simply can’t get the landscape images you want, try concentrating a little more close-in; use your telephoto lens rather than your wide-angle lens.
One Little Tree in Park Avenue in the Afternoon (while everything else is totally in the shade at this time of day)
- February is a bit of a sparse month for wildlife. There are 50 Desert Bighorn Sheep living in this park, but I didn’t see a single one. I did see 3 deer and a few ravens. I did not see any reptiles, tarantulas, or scorpions.
Hello There, My Deers
February is a great month also for discounts on rental vehicles and deals on Moab hotel rooms. It’s the slow time of year for them, so they LOVE having people visit in the winter (the Moab Brewery was practically empty the one time I went there for a yummy lunch of beer cheese soup and a Scorpion Pale Ale). Make sure, though, you make your plane reservations and any other reservations ahead of time (I made my plane reservation to Grand Junction CO and car rental reservation 5 months ahead of time, then, when I arrived in Grand Junction, I actually upgraded to an SUV because Hertz offered me a sweet discount).
If you can’t find a room for a hotel you like on one website, either go to another website, or wait a few weeks and then try again. I originally used Hotels.com to make a room reservation in Moab at a hotel other than the one I really wanted because Hotels.com couldn’t find a vacancy for that time period. About three weeks prior to my departure date, I went onto the website of my original hotel choice (Aarchway Inn) and found a room for a great deal (they actually put me in the very same room I’d stayed in before). Perseverance pays off!
Yes, February is a great time to visit Arches National Park….and nearby Dead Horse Point State Park and Canyonlands National Park, as well.