1.5 Million Visitors Can’t Be Wrong

FUJIFILM X-Pro3 (19.4mm, f/6.4, 1/500 sec, ISO160)

The South West of the USA is spectacular and the Arches NP is probably the most spectacular place of them all.

I’ve been here before and I will be back. As simple as that. We have visited the Grand Canyon during our first road trip. It was great but we never returned. The Grand Canyon is a spectacular sight but the Arches NP is the better experience. There are tons of short and long hikes and even of you don’t hike at all you can easily drive along and take beautiful images from the side of the road.

FUJIFILM X-Pro3 (24.2mm, f/8, 1/300 sec, ISO160)
FUJIFILM X-Pro3 (16mm, f/9, 1/250 sec, ISO160)
FUJIFILM X-Pro3 (55mm, f/9, 1/250 sec, ISO160)
FUJIFILM X-Pro3 (34.2mm, f/9, 1/280 sec, ISO160)
FUJIFILM X-Pro3 (22.7mm, f/9, 1/280 sec, ISO160)

That’s why this park has become extremely popular within the last couple of years. So popular that access needs to be restricted. The Arches NP is simply not big enough to handle all the visitors. So my images may a little misleading. You never will be alone here unless I guess you go on one of the longer hikes outside of the peak seasons.

But we visited the park in September so I tried my best to keep the other tourists out of the frame on most shots. Not on all though. In some I made them my main subject.

FUJIFILM X-Pro3 (25.7mm, f/9, 1/340 sec, ISO160)
FUJIFILM X-Pro3 (55mm, f/8, 1/350 sec, ISO160)
FUJIFILM X-Pro3 (16mm, f/9, 1/250 sec, ISO320)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (24mm, f/8, 1/320 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (10mm, f/8, 1/450 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (63.4mm, f/7.1, 1/500 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (102.2mm, f/8, 1/400 sec, ISO200)

Like on the images above. I simply love this park. And if you visit before sunset the light is great too. Moab is not a cheap place to stay but there are many hotels and I strongly recommend to stay at least for two nights in order to really experience the park in the best light: Early morning or late afternoon or both. It makes a huge difference. It is not as hot, there are less visitors and again most of all the light is superior.

FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (140mm, f/8, 1/550 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (140mm, f/8, 1/480 sec, ISO200)
Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max (5.1mm, f/1.6, 1/1000 sec, ISO64)
FUJIFILM X-Pro3 (31.1mm, f/9, 1/320 sec, ISO160)
FUJIFILM X-Pro3 (19.4mm, f/6.4, 1/250 sec, ISO160)

I can’t even say which viewpoint I like most. You can point your camera anywhere and get a great image. You can even shoot straight through your windscreen like in the image above and get an amazing photo.

Yesterday we were rather disappointed with our dinner which was just horrible, in the morning we were shocked to learn that we could not enter the park because we hadn’t booked or slot in advance but that was all forgotten now. Moab is not a tourist trap, Moab is the gateway to maybe the most amazing landscape in the USA. It’s unreal!

FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (52mm, f/8, 1/125 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro3 (26.6mm, f/8, 1/250 sec, ISO400)

Regarding lenses I kept it simple. Most shots I took with the XF 16-55/2.8 WR and only a couple with the XF 10-24/4 OIS R and the XF 50-140/2.8 OIR WR. If the landscape is that  spectacular a good standard zoom is all you need. Even an iPhone gets you good images here but of course it is much more fun to use a real camera.

But real cameras have become a rare sight. Almost all visitors shoot with their smartphones now.

FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (50mm, f/8, 1/180 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (52mm, f/8, 1/300 sec, ISO200)

The sun sets and we are on the way out of the park and back to our hotel. I don’t care about the quality of our dinner tonight. We don’t come here for the food. We come here for this: for an amazing landscape that we can’t find anywhere where we live.

We’ll be back!

FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (77.3mm, f/8, 1/350 sec, ISO200)