Winter Sunset at Corona Arch

I’ve lived in Moab for almost 17 years and have heard multiple times, from multiple people, that Corona Arch is never bathed in that truly fantastic sunrise or sunset light. One evening I looked out the window and saw dark clouds all around, with a band of blue sky on the western horizon. I rallied my family and we hiked to the arch. The band of blue sky got smaller and smaller as the clouds built and I began to lose hope. Minutes before sunset, intensely warm light burst through the clouds and illuminated the landscape for less than five minutes. I was able to make a few images with three unique compositions before the light was gone. This was one of them, and it happens to be my favorite. I guess the naysayers were wrong; Corona Arch does in fact bathe in sunset light…at least in the winter.

Over the next few months I’ll be visiting many of these locations not inside one of the parks as I’m writing my next eFotoGuide, this one covering spectacularly photogenic spots around Moab that offer a little something unique to those hardy souls willing to put forth some effort.

Type of Critique Requested

  • Aesthetic: Feedback on the overall visual appeal of the image, including its color, lighting, cropping, and composition.
  • Emotional: Feedback on the emotional impact and artistic value of the image.
  • Technical: Feedback on the technical aspects of the image, such as exposure, color, focus and reproduction of colors and details, post-processing, and print quality.

Specific Feedback and Self-Critique

I already discussed my motivation for making the image. Not looking for specific feedback, just interested in general thoughts.

Technical Details

Sony A7IV
Sony 24-105mm lens @ 25mm
ISO 100
1/40s exposure
Single exposure processed in Lightroom Classic


Looks great Bret! I’ve driven by many times - what a great shot you got here. I think those dark clouds are crucial to making this work!

Hey thanks, Matt! Anyone who knows me, knows I’m a sucker for moody skies.

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Yeah I think those warm tones look amazing with the dark skies… it’s MAGIC

If your family is anything like mine, that may have been the hardest part of the shot. Glad you did. It looks great! It just goes to show the importance of experience.

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I think this is a good image. It has much going for it. The light is dramatic and as a result the rocks have that rich warm color. The negative aspect of the image is that it feels contrived. Having an arch with a tree perfectly placed and equidistant from all edges of the arch makes the image looked staged somehow. Arranged by the photographers eye. It’s not something everyone would notice or even agree with.

Wow, a perfect image, Bret. So glad you posted it. The light and the sky are very striking. Love the framing of the Juniper too. Also the line between sun and shadow in the foreground compliments the angles in the image. Beautiful image.


Beautiful landscape Brett! Gorgeous light of course and kudos for the framing - just don’t tell me all the tedious cloning work you did to get the tree limbs to not touch the arch… :rofl: JK! Of course the framing is wonderful!

No suggestions really. Beautiful light, beautiful image. Brings me right there.


Thank you so much @Lon_Overacker, @David_Bostock, @Igor_Doncov and @Matthew_Roberge!

Very nice image, Bret. I like how you got that wonderful western tree bending into the center of the arch. I’ve been to Moab many years ago in the winter and I still remember seeing those gorgeous red arches in the crystalized white snow. Will never forget it. A wonderful keeper with great color.

Thank you, Donna. Moab is a special place and when you add in some snow, it just seems to elevate the entire landscape.