This week I checked off a bucket list item; I hiked to and photographed Delicate Arch in Arches National Park. The guide book rated it an easy 1.5 mile hike. I don’t know what kind of iron man wrote the guide book, but it was anything but easy for this out-of-shape photographer carrying 25 lbs of gear. Despite a more difficult hike than I expected, I made it to Delicate Arch in time for a spectacular sunset and got my bucket list shot. However, there was just one problem; dozens of tourists who nearly ruined the experience for me and the other serious nature photographers there that day.
I realize Arches National Park is one of the most popular parks in the system and that Delicate Arch is a well known icon of the natural world. As such it is a must see for many. I also understand that everyone has their own reason for making the trek up the mountain to personally experience that arch. What I don’t understand is why so many felt compelled to strike one ridiculous pose after another under and in front of the arch while nearly ruining the photographic opportunity for several nature photographers, me included. The near constant parade of people, young and old, who actually stood in line to be photographed in front of the arch made it nearly impossible for those who wanted an image of just the arch without some guy with outstretched arms like Rocky, without a young gymnast doing a back bend, or without a a German tourist jumping multiple times while hoping to be frozen in mid air by his partner’s iPhone. I could list more silly examples but I won’t.
Ok, some nature photographers can be intrusive and obnoxious too. Some would wonder just why does the world need another photograph of Delicate Arch. I guess the thing we all must remember is that National Parks belong to us all and as such, we must respect and accommodate each other’s right to experience these Parks within the bounds of park rules and common courtesy. I would merely suggest to those who would pose in front of places like Delicate Arch to do so but not linger so as to ruin the shot for others who are there for different purposes.
Rant over; here’s the shot, one of a very few without someone in the frame. Thanks for looking.