Balanced Rock at Night

Arches National Park, at night and in January, can be a lonely place. While my kids swam at the hotel in Moab, I headed out to Balanced Rock to take some night photos with the X-Pro1, which has excellent high ISO capability. The moon was out, offering some light to the landscape but it wasn’t full and overpowering, allowing plenty of stars to be visible.


The temperature was about nine degrees fahrenheit and the sky was completely clear, so it was cold. I headed to Balanced Rock and framed my shot. I have a headlamp with a red LED on it so I am able to see what I’m doing on the camera without destroying my night vision. One of the tricky things was getting focus correct since I couldn’t see anything through the camera’s viewfinder. I had to frame the shot using a bit of trial and error while focusing using the manual focus meter within the X-Pro1. Some people complain about it but I have found it to be accurate enough for my needs.

My first shot was taken at ISO 6400, 30 seconds, at f/2.0. The result looked like a blown out, overexposed shot at noon. I had to drastically dial back the settings to get the look I wanted, but was able to eventually figure it out.

The best thing about the session next to the tripod: I didn’t see another soul for over two hours. All I heard were some coyotes.

Balanced rock at night in Arches National Park, Utah