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Trips : Utah : Arches National Park : Windows Area

This area is one of the most popular areas of the park. One reason is that it packs a bunch of interesting formations into one small area, including the Spectacles, Turret Arch, Double Arch, Parade of Elephants... and the list goes on from there. It's easily accessible, with most of the formations only a few minutes away from the parking area.

Just around the corner from this wonderful area of the park is one of the most famous formations: the Balanced Rock. So this area really does get a lot of traffic.

"Sunset at the Spectacles"
Arches National Park, Utah
Big Picture

The area got its name from two stone arches. The larger one is called the North Window, with the slightly smaller one being called the South Window. When viewed together, however, they become the Spectacles. You can see in the the first picture how there seems to be a pair of glasses in the rock... you can even see a person's nose if you look.

The North Window is on the left in this picture. As mentioned, it is the larger of the two window arches. You used to be able to walk through this arch and obtain an incredible viewpoint of the Turret Arch viewed through the North Window. However, due to the amount of foot traffic in the area, the park service has marked this area as off limits. If you go, please respect the signs.

If you are careful, and stay on stone or rocks, then you can avoid damaging the fragile desert ecosystem. During my first trip to Arches National Park in 1997 you were still able to go through the arch and take what is probably one of the most famous pictures from the park: Turret Arch viewed through the North Window.

"Sunrise at North Window"
Arches National Park, Utah
Big Picture

This particular picture brings back a lot of memories for me. This trip in 1997 was my first real photography vacation. Why do I call it that? Two reasons. One is that I shot more than one roll of film. Per day. Seriously! When you see the dramatic Moments of Light that can occur during the magic time of early morning or late evening, you just want to do whatever you can to ensure that you capture at least one of those moments on film. I think that I did a decent job on this one.

That picture was taken after the sun was up, but before the early morning glow had faded. (Want to read more about the science behind the glow? Read my explanation of Morning Glow online, if you are interested.) I have a number of special Moments of Light that occurred at this same location.

This next shot is one of my favorites. The sun wasn't even up yet! The pastel hues of the early pre-dawn sky and the ruddy red of the stone contrasted with the sprinkling of white snow... well, this is one magnificent shot, if I do say so myself. And I guess that I did.

"Early Light on Turret Arch"
Arches National Park, Utah

"Before the Dawn"
Arches National Park, Utah

Moving back in time to an even earlier moment of light gave me this image. The silhouette of the North Window forms a frame for the shadow of the Turret Arch. The Turret Arch is barely backlight by the bare hint of sunrise to come. This picture was taken facing west, so the sun will actually rise behind me as I take this picture.

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