When I came over the hill and looked down on Mesa Arch, there they were, and more than a few, set up with tripods and already clicking. I quickly mingled among them, shooting from where they shot, commenting on the red spectacle before us. But I was soon to learn the rules. There is no sign with printed rules, but the pros know them and enforce them. I was reprimanded and put in line.
Rule 1: No talking! Questions are forbidden and conversation is outlawed.
Rule 2: Never step in the field of someone’s picture.
Rule 3: Anyone with a small hand-held camera like mine is forbidden from taking a place in front. Amateurs like me must stay back and sneak a shot between the pros as we can.
So I moved behind them like a mouse, aiming where they aimed, holding my camera over their heads. When one of them left his tripod for a moment, I stepped in and snapped. But mostly I shot from places away from their turf.
Mesa Arch is perched on the edge of a mesa, so when looking through it, we see a sweeping vista out across the desert. Washer-Woman Arch stands in the left foreground; Monster Tower is the pinnacle to its right; and the butte behind them is Airport Tower.
Looking through Mesa Arch at sunrise is truly memorable. But if I were a professional photographer, I would try to find unusual and unknown subjects, things that people don’t expect and that are not photographed by twenty other pros every morning.