Mesa Glow


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Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park, Utah, has the neatest sunrise effect that I have ever seen.

The arch is somewhat small as arches go, just about ninety feet. That might sound like a large arch, but really, it isn’t. Just behind the arch is a mere two thousand feet drop, which adds to the location’s charm. What makes it truly amazing, however, is what happens at sunrise.

As the sun begins to rise from behind the La Sal mountains off to the east, the underside of the arch begins to glow a bright orange. It is almost as if someone had installed neon lighting in the arch, and the color is often intense. The glow lasts long after the sun breaks the horizon, treating you to an extended treat.

It is just something about the angle of the arch and the surrounding rocks that cause this, for very few other arches are known to do this, at least, to this extent. Getting to the location at sunrise can be quite a challenge, especially in the winter months. This photograph was made when the temperature was well below zero, and part of the difficulty was having to wait for the sun in the pre-dawn hour. Still, the glow of Mesa Arch more than makes up for the trouble!

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