How I Got the Shot – Utah Bar Journal Cover

By Lane Erickson

The idea of doing the How I Got the Shot series of articles came up because it is just the sort of thing I would’ve loved to have read when I was first starting out in photography. Even before I began taking photos myself, I always loved looking at great images. After I got my first camera and I was learning how to use it, I wanted more information on how the great  I saw were created. I reasoned that if I could learn how the photographer came up with the idea, and then could see how composed the image and what camera and lens were used, along with the exposure information from the image, it would help me become a better photographer myself.

Turret Arch

The focus of today’s How I Got the Shot article is a sandstone arch.  Specifically, this article is about Turret Arch located in Arches National Park, Utah. Here is an excellent article about Arches National Park where Turret Arch is located.

According to the National Park Service, Turret Arch is located in the Windows Section of the Park. Turret Arch is a double arch with other amazing arches close by. The larger opening of Turret Arch has a span of about 35 feet and a height of about 65 feet, though it looks larger in person. If you Google Turret Arch you will see some amazing photographs. 

The parking lot is close and the several arches in the area are within easy walking distance. 

In March of 2012, my family and I spent nearly a week in Moab, Utah, which is a small town south of Arches National Park. Because it was so close we spent two days in the Park hiking around and exploring the entire area. It was completely fantastic. 

The First Image

On the day I took these photos, we hiked first to the South Window Arch. From a certain angle there is a wonderful view of the Turret Arch directly through the South Window Arch. The problem is, we got there later in the morning and there was already a large crowd of people. I couldn’t get the view that I had wanted so I had to try to figure something else out. But I didn’t give up because I knew I could still Find the Right Light if I looked. Before I left South Window Arch I created this image. 

You can see Turret Arch below. (There is rock formation behind Turret Arch so it doesn’t look big in this photo, but it really is big.)

As I was still looking for a great image, we walked down from the South Window Arch to get a closer look at Turret Arch. When we did, the beautiful blue sky could be seen all the way through the arch. Then . . . it happened. I saw several people who had climbed up under the Turret Arch. They were beautifully silhouetted by the shadow of the arch itself. Instantly, my wife and I knew we wanted to get a silhouette of all five of our kids in the same spot. 

The Raw Image

As my kids were hiking up, a single tourist climbed to the spot and stood silhouetted under the arch looking around at the amazing rock formation. He stood there long enough for me to capture this image. 

Silhouette of hiker in Turret Arch canyon rock formations.

As I describe the equipment I used, this is a good place for me to reiterate the recent articles I posted about the fact that you do not need a professional camera and you do not need an expensive lens to create professional quality images. Because I was on vacation with my family I was traveling light. I didn’t have my bigger and better cameras with me, so I just used what I had. My camera was the 16mp Nikon D5100 with the very cheap (but surprisingly good) Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom lens. [Note: If I shot this image today, I would use one of my Fujifilm cameras and the amazingly excellent Fujifilm 18-55mm f/2.8-4 lens which is the single best kit lens I’ve ever used.  Without exaggerating, it is professional calibre in every way.]

The Published Image

This image has sold well as a stock photograph.  Also, recently, I was fortunate to have it published as the March/April 2019 cover on the Utah Bar Journal, which is a magazine for lawyers.  Here is the cover image.

My Family

When I tell the story about this photograph everyone wants to know if I was able to get the picture of my kids.  The answer is yes. I have it printed and framed in my office at work. Here it is for your viewing pleasure.

That’s How I Got the Shot of Turret Arch that was published on the cover of a magazine! I’d love to hear any questions, comments, critiques or suggestions you have.   Thanks for reading.


  1. Congrats on the cover. I, too, like to see the behind the scenes of great photos. Sometimes it is simple, sometimes it took the photographer many attempts. I really like this shot with the framing and silhouette. Great work.


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