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Mesa Arch --  Chris Carvalho/Lensjoy.com

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Mesa Arch is a popular photographic destination in Utah's Canyonlands National Park and is often shot at sunrise.  It's a long drive from most lodging, so be prepared for an early morning departure and the chance that other photographers may already be there seeking a choice camera angle.  For that reason, weekdays are best times and also the off-season months.  On the morning I took this photo, the area was uncrowded and I was the first to set up my camera.  This image is a marriage of old and new, as it's digitally scanned and printed but was photographed using an old lens, a Schneider 121mm Super Angulon that's the same model that Ansel Adams used for many of his photographs.  It's not the best lens these days, but is still quite sharp.  The main drawback is a tendency to produce flare due to it only having single-layer coating.  In this shot the flare is apparent but also what makes the image so pleasing.  Besides the beautiful starburst that was achieved without a filter, the flare has rainbow colors that show up mostly in the lower left side of the image in the foreground and around the distant Washerwoman Arch (see full detail view.)   With a 4x5 camera, it's difficult to achieve this effect intentionally as one can't see through the lens at the time of exposure.  It was a great stroke of luck.  If you have a modern digital camera and lenses you can watch the spectacle on the display, but may not have the kind of flare that makes for a lovely image such as this one without resorting to a starburst filter.  

This image was selected as National Geographic's "Photo of the Day" for April 25, 2013.  

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Info:  Chromira digital print of Portra 160VC 4x5 negative, Fuji Crystal Archive CD paper
 

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