Jun 29 2008

most photographed places – monument valley

Monument Valley is possibly the most photographed and least visited places in the United States. It is known for its staring role in a number of John Ford westerns, endless TV commercials, old Marlboro ads and the Thelma and Louise movie. One of the problems is the remote location on the Arizona and Utah border and since it is a Navajo Tribal Park instead of part of the National Park Service it is even hard find on a road map. There is also the strange phenomenon that so many Americans don’t even consider traveling through the American Southwest. It is common to encounter more Japanese and European tourists traveling through this region than American travelers. Even with high gas prices, a road trip through this area is one of the best and least expensive vacations I can recommend.

picture 2 most photographed places   monument valley

The other issue for photographers now is the air quality. We most often want to see photos of grand vistas with a crystal clear sky instead of the haze that is now more common. This either means trying to plan your visit to coincide with a rain storm or find a way to make the haze work for you as I did in this photo shooting directly into the sun.

20071113 stk 4921 most photographed places   monument valley

And moments later using the atmosphere to extend the rays of the setting sun.

20071113 stk 4938 copy most photographed places   monument valley

The above shots were taken while I was returning from an assignment in Durango, Colorado, but on another trip traveling with my family the question arose of whether I drag my family out to wander the dirt roads at sunset and sunrise as they pretend to tolerate my quest to find the perfect butte or am I’m being unfair to not take them causing them to miss one of the highlights of the trip. The question was resolved on the last trip with the family setting up camp while I was shooting the sunset and sleeping in as I set up this sunrise photo of an empty highway leading to the park.

monumentvalley1 most photographed places   monument valley

You can shoot outside the normal sunrise and sunset times. It just requires a different way to show off the scenery to make up for the harsh light.

890506 001 most photographed places   monument valley

One response so far