The Print: Moonrise, Mesa Arch

Moonrise, Mesa Arch

Moonrise, Mesa Arch

Some prints just want to be difficult. This is one.

I made this image after four years of planning: a full moon at perigee and rising as close to the end of the blue hour as possible; an arch in Canyonlands National Park or Arches National Park which provided a miles-long and layered view toward the Lasal Mountains in the distance. Oh, and clear weather and a January night. No big deal, right? Except it happens only once every eight or nine years with all the elements in order.

And yet, everything came together on January 16, 2014. The moon. The stars. The snow. And the arch.

But such an image is very, very difficult to master, and I spent months–MONTHS–fighting with its substantial dynamic range and challenging colors. Why the problem? The arch is red, and to show its natural color, needs a white balance temperature of 7000 Kelvin at night. The stars? 4000 Kelvin. And that was just the start.

But nearly a year later and after a lost grand prize in a show (for a failed version of the print), I reached my breaking point. “Trash it, reshoot it, or figure it out,” said I.

So I trashed it and started over. And figured it out.

And so here is Moonrise, Mesa Arch, an edition of 50. I hope you find it inspiring, for I certainly did while shooting it.


  1. Brett,
    Reading your blog entry I didn’t realize this was the “failed print” of which you told me. I’ve “worshipped” this photo forever and shown my friends this one many a time. If any are still not spoken for, I would love to purchase one, but I’d have to ask you to keep it in your custody until I settle down on a next place to live.

    Going to send you an email!


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