Saturday, September 10, 2011

Practicing Delicate Diplomatic Relations at Delicate Arch

Feast your eyes people! This is a rare photograph I captured of Delicate Arch, the iconic symbol of Utah, in Arches National Park. Okay a simple search here on Flickr or Google and you’ll find more photos of this freestanding natural arch then all the inhabitants of China.

Why is this a rare photograph of Delicate Arch?

Because there are no tourists posing under it!

No, I didn’t “clone” anybody out in post-processing, I simply did it the old fashion way...I screamed at them to get out of my frame (I had some help too).

A 1.5 mile hike from the parking lot will deliver you to the signature arch of the park. The 45 minute hike is easy to do but carrying two camera bodies, five lenses, a point and shoot camera, tripod and water made for a challenge. But if you get here right at sunset you will be rewarded with one of nature's best light show.

You will also be in the good company of hundreds of budding photographers and oblivious tourists. Of course, many of those tourists want to get a photo op under the arch thus angering many of those budding photographers which included myself. In unison we politely asked them to get out of our frame momentarily but to no avail.

As I was standing shoulder to shoulder of what looked like a firing squad of photographers with our tripod mounted cameras, I grew frustrated by the moment. So I took the initiative and grabbed my tripod to get a closer shot and a couple of photographers followed me (I love playing follow the leader). I then politely asked the “Arch” models if they would please move temporarily and again they ignored my pleas.

Finally one of the other photographers next to me pointed out that they were European tourists who didn’t comprehend my English speaking pleas (in reality most Europeans speak and understand English perfectly so they probably just wanted to piss off another American).

So the German photographer to my left said something in German and the German tourists moved. The French photographer to my right said something in French and the French tourists moved. I then said something in my parents native language, Tagalog (the national language of the Philippines for those not in the know), and the rest moved (okay I made that last part up...I’m an American and I only speak one language).

In the end everybody left happy. Hiking back to the parking lot with Bud, the German photographer (yes, that was his name), he shared with me his travel stories of four months of traveling solo in America.

“This was the first time I was traveling to America and I was confident my English was good enough to communicate with the locals,” Bud paused for a moment to reflect “but what I wasn’t prepared for was all the Spanish speakers I’ve encountered.”

“Bud, this is America,” I replied “Spanish is our national language.”

Adios my Flickr amigos!

Equipment used:

Canon EOS 5D, Tamron SP AF 17-35mm f/2.8-4 Di LD IF, an overpriced Manfrotto tripod

Happy Travels!

Text and photo copyright by ©Sam Antonio Photography

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