Having dreamed for years of visiting and photographing Mesa Arch, in 2016 this dream became a reality. Staying 3 days in Moab to explore and photograph the beautiful locations within a short travelling distance, Mesa Arch at sunrise was top of the list being under an hours drive. Had I not done a lot of research beforehand, I’m confident that I would have been unsuccessful in getting any images of this location. Here’s a quick guide to increase your chances of successfully photographing this site:
Plan your trip
Getting to Mesa Arch is pretty straight forward. The road into Canyonlands National Park (Grand View Point Road) is straight and leads directly to the pull in and car park for Mesa Arch which is signposted. This car park can fill up quickly in the mornings with photographers, which leads to my second point.
Get there EARLY
I can’t stress this point strongly enough. Mesa Arch is quite small and there’s space for about 10-15 photographers side by side until there’s literally no more space. It’s not uncommon for photographers to have tripod legs overlapped and be crammed together, but it’s very limited once the row is full. The chances are you’ll have to work with and communicate with the other photographers to ensure no equipment, tripod legs, lenses or bags are in the frame for the others nearby. Most photographers try to be accommodating and let you squeeze in if there’s space but you still need to there EARLY. It may seem extreme, but it’s strongly recommended that you get there AT LEAST 2 hours before sunrise; this is not a location you can turn up to 20 minutes before the sun rise.
It wasn’t until after others had left that I had the chance to move around