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.

Moon, Clouds and Drifting Smoke, Chaffee County

Moon, Clouds and Drifting Smoke, Chaffee County

Moon, Clouds and Drifting Smoke, Chaffee County

Fires were vicious this summer in southern Colorado, and when that happens, many photographers go to the fire. I waited until a full moon rose and clouds passed by our cabin late one night, and in the deep dark light of the midnight sun, the smoke from the Three Forks fire made eerie waves as it moved in southwesterly wind.

The PlainSky, Nebraskans Show: The Complete Works No. 18

Fog and Full Moon: PlainSky, Nebraskans No. 18, 18" x 12" giclée on Canson Velin Rag

Fog and Full Moon: PlainSky, Nebraskans No. 18, 18″ x 12″ giclée on Canson Velin Rag

Occasionally, the natural world really is most incredible. A 30-second exposure with a low full moon as fog begins to rise from the Nebraska Sandhills. January, 2013.

PlainSky, Nebraskans (New Image): Fog and Full Moon, Blaine County

Fog and Full Moon

Fog and Full Moon

Sometimes making lemonade with lemons turns into chicken cordon bleu with a bottle of Dom Perignon and chocolate mousse for dessert. Coming home from a disappointing shoot in the Sandhills, the full moon rose, the fog emerged, and a cloudless sky above lent a blanket of stars as punctuation.