If you really like this image you may not want to read the details of how it came to be. For some, this might be like making sausage. Photographers might want to know the back story.
In 2021 My wife and I toured 6 national parks in southern Utah in 5 days. (I should have done what my grandfather did and spent six weeks in the area.) We got to Arches National Park in the late afternoon. We could have hiked to Delicate Arch before sunset, but we would be hiking back in the dark. On a trip like this, compromises are necessary, so we drove to an alternate viewing spot where we could see Delicate Arch from the south side a half-mile away.
This is the best I could do with a
300 mm lens. There are a few dozen
people waiting for the sun to set
while watching or photographing
this arch. A few seconds after
this shot, clouds obscured the sun.
I cropped tight on the arch and used AI software to expand the image. It did a great job guessing the structure of the rocks, but the people came out cartoonish. I erased them. The background was not satisfying. When shot from the north, the background is a mountain range and a lot of sky. When shot from this alternate viewing spot, the background within the arch is similarly colored rocks. I decided to go for something more dramatic and inserted a Milky Way image. I also flipped the arch image so that it would look more like the view from the north.
The final result is anything but an accurate portrayal of Delicate Arch. I take inspiration from Ansel Adams who once said, "You don't take photos, you make them." I can guarantee this image is unique. If you are really interested, contact me about a signed and dated print.