ON1 Inspiration — Arches National Park

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In March, Hudson Henry and I took a trip to Moab to scout and shoot Arches National Park. Like any photo adventure we had good times, we had some turbulence, but we walked away with some stellar images. We both left speechless by the beauty of Arches National Park.

I found lots of inspiration in the Arches National Park landscape. Here I am, almost a month later with “Red Rocks, Blue Sky” permanently carved in my brain. It is a vast playground for Photographers with some of the most alien-like landscape I have ever seen. It really looks like a place that should not exist on Earth, maybe Mars, but not Earth.

Hudson and I had a great trip. We set out with a mission to photo document as much of the park as we could in a short period. To do that we had to make sacrifices, mainly sleep. We would rise at about 330 am, shoot for until 9 or so, eat breakfast and then nap until 1230 or so. Then we’d eat lunch, look at our images from the morning and plan our afternoon excursion. It made for long days, but to shoot like we did, there is really no way around it.

As you can see in the images in the video, there are more than a ton of photo opportunities in the park. However, it does come with its own set of complications when post processing. Our cameras can only capture one instance of White Balance at a time, but the contrast of the red rocks on the blue sky of Moab begs for individual attention in post.

In this ON1 Inspiration video, we will take a journey through our trip to Moab and post process an image together. Please download the follow along image and the PDF.


18 comments on “ON1 Inspiration — Arches National Park”

  1. On April 13, 2017 at 3:33 pm Adam Rubinstein wrote:

    Blake thank you for taking the time out to create an inspirational and instructional video. Your account was wonderful and it sounds as though Hudson and you had a (excuse the pun) stellar trip. I especially liked the image of (double arches?) creating the star effect with the moon. It has been many years since I was there and your images have rekindled my need to return for a purely photographic adventure.

    Your tutorial was expertly delivered and I appreciate that you selected a less than “perfect image” for demonstration. The use of split toning was masterful and really helped to unify the photograph. Much of my split toning experience came from my dark room days and was primarily applied to B&W. With color, I find myself even more curious about the application of split toning and apart from experimenting with every image can you explain your color selections and why? Thanks.

    1. On April 14, 2017 at 1:42 pm Blake Rudis replied:

      Thanks for the detailed analysis and watching. It is very appreciated. Double Arch was a fun night.

      As for the Split Tone. I select my colors based on Color Theory principles. I use a lot of complements and analogous color scemes. It really depends on the image. If it is a sunset, try using oranges and yellows. If it is a sunny day, try greens and blues. It is all trial and error, but also based on Color Theory principles and Color relationships.

  2. On April 14, 2017 at 12:31 pm Mark wrote:

    Hi Blake, I too enjoyed your video and the explaination of the spilt toning. I must admit I have only used it the odd time. Your video has encouraged me to use it more.

  3. On April 14, 2017 at 2:14 pm Jean-Claude Guillen wrote:

    Hi Blake !
    Tone, color and artistic effect, I’ll never forget! Besides the beautiful photos of Arches National Park, this video is again a great tutorial for raw photo processing with a very nice result. I do like the fact that each slider move, each parameter variation is purposely intended and explained. And the final unifying touch using split toning is awesome ! Thanks !

    1. On April 24, 2017 at 6:07 am Blake Rudis replied:

      Glad to see you’ll never forget! It works like a charm every time!

  4. On April 23, 2017 at 8:58 pm irajacob@gmail.com wrote:

    Thanks for another fantastic video. Is there a particular reason you would do color adjustments in the develop module instead of the effects module? And what about using a solid photo filter to bring a similar unity to a picture as split toning? Would you do that or always go with a split tone effect over a solid colored photo filter effect?

    1. On April 24, 2017 at 6:11 am Blake Rudis replied:

      You are welcome, it was my pleasure! As for the Color Adjustments, they can be done in either place really, but I like to try and do as much of my preliminary Tone and Colorwork in one spot, it makes it more manageable. However, that is not to say that you could not also go into Effects and use it for Color Effects.

      I have this new theory I have been developing. Tone, Color, and Effects, but Effects can be broken down into the same exact areas. Tone Effects, Color Effects and Artistic Effects for mood and drama.

      As for the solid color fill, that is another great way to color grade your images. It gives your image a smooth wash of a single color and unifies all things tone and color. However, the split tone allows you to use two colors, one for the highlights and one for the shadows to add depth and variation.

  5. On April 24, 2017 at 2:17 pm Abrianna Miller wrote:

    My favorite lens for travel is the Sigma 18-250 macro lens because I can take wider shots but also get closer and shoot details. Now there are times I wish I had a wider lens but when I travel I don’t want to worry about changing lenses.

    We were at Moab last year and will be stopping there again this summer and we come from /S/a/v/a/n/n/a/h/ /G/a/ with my teen daughter in tow.

  6. On April 29, 2017 at 8:55 pm Gerardo Brucker wrote:

    Hello Blake: I have been to Arches several times….I live in CO in the Boulder Area. As you say, you cannot get that place out of your head after you leave. One suggestion a friend made several years back and that I glad I considered is to exit highway 70 and get on 128 (exit 214) towards Cisco. Cisco is an abandoned town with lots of photo opportunities on its own. Then stay on 128 and follow it to the Colorado River. Tenses the best way to get to Moab. There is one spot where the road turns and suddenly there are the Arches! That image is burnt in my brain. Try it …. you will thank me later….There are also some farms where to stop and get some local Utah farmland shots along the way as well. Arches rocks! Literally!

    1. On May 3, 2017 at 1:20 pm Blake Rudis replied:

      Oh sweet! Next time I go I will keep this in mind. I have to go back soon, very soon!

  7. On May 3, 2017 at 10:08 am Richard Wise wrote:

    I thought Arches National Park was closed from 7pm to 7am because of road construction. I’m leaving for Moab next week so please let me know if this is not the case. Great video like always!

    1. On May 3, 2017 at 1:21 pm Blake Rudis replied:

      We packed dirt bikes and rode on illegally… I left that part out it seems :/

      Just kidding, we conveniently got there 2 weeks before they started closing the park at night. There were huge trucks always going in and out, but they hadn’t closed at night yet.

  8. On May 7, 2017 at 4:06 pm Edward Castile wrote:

    I was there in 2005, took a lot of photos. What a wonderful place, it is magical. Did you know that shot of park ave. Is the opening scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark ?

    1. On May 8, 2017 at 6:57 am Blake Rudis replied:

      That is so cool. I didn’t know that, but I do know they film a lot of movies there.

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