The Organ

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Although Arches National Park is most known for being the home of over 2,000 arches (e.g., the massive Delicate Arch, Double Arch, the thin Landscape Arch, and the Windows), the park also contains a wide variety of other dynamic rock formations, some of which include Park Avenue, The Courthouse Towers, Three Gossips, and the Balanced Rock.

My most recent visit to the park was during COVID when the number of cars admitted into the park was being tightly controlled. I arrived at the park before 5 AM that morning with the hope of getting some great sunrise photos. After a pre-dawn hike down through Park Avenue, I stopped at a pullout to have my morning coffee. The weather was dark and gloomy and I wasn’t entirely sure the day was going to yield what I had been hoping for. Not one to admit defeat, I used the day to generate a lot of what I define as “good daylight photos” which actually turned out quite nice given the contrast of the red rock against the dark gray skies.

As the day drew to a close, I decided to wait to see what the sunset might yield. To my surprise, the cloud cover along the horizon began to lift allowing a horizontal stream of light below the cloud cover as the sun poked holes through the cloud cover. After moving to a different vantage point to get the composition I wanted, it was just a matter of time before the entire rock formation was totally illuminated.

Location: The Organ (foreground) and The Tower of Babel (background); Arches National Park.