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Lady of the lake, version #938

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Monument Valley Shoot

It took about less than two seconds for my photo buddy Ken to say yes when I asked him if he wanted to shoot Monument Valley this weekend. Which was very cool, in many ways, not the least of which was that we would be taking his car. Gets much better mileage than the van.

I have been shooting with Ken for a lot of years now. He is a great, knowledgable photographer and we get along real well on the road. He liked Moby Grape before I did and our musical tastes synch, not to mention the aesthetic. Not identical, but neither of us tells the other guy how he should do things. Most artists tend to like to do things their own way so that is very important.

Not a lot of the southwest we haven't covered but there was still Monument Valley on the collective bucket list so we crossed if off this weekend. Put about 1500 miles on the car and drove long pulls.

Hit a big stop on the forty near Ash Fork, about an hour and a half at a snail's pace.

First stop was Wupatki.


Wupatki is a ruin north of Flagstaff that was populated by the Sinagua people in the twelfth century, then abandoned. The area is volcanic, the soil very black and quite beautiful. The responsible volcano is nearby Sunset Crater, a future stop.

The pueblos has special significance to Hopi, Navajo and Zuni people and certain Hopi clans still return to connect with the place.

We made our way to Kayenta in the dark and checked into our hotel. Had a beef stew and fry bread dinner, which might have been close to the dinner many of the native inhabitants were themselves enjoying.

I love the navajos, I really do and I get a hidden part of myself back every time I visit the reservation.

Got up at four o'clock in the morning. Ken and I drove to the parking lot to meet up with our Navajo guide Harry for a sunrise photographic tour. He works for Dineh BeKeyah tours.

Harry is a good guy, a good guide and a good photographer himself.

I took some astro long exposure shots with my 14mm but had an equipment glitch which made me unhappy with the results.


Sunrise was truly beautiful. Harry gave us the local names of some of the scenery and helped us wet our appetite and get our feet wet. We are not tour people but you can't get to certain places without a navajo guide and as far as I am concerned we found the best one available. And he's a Nikon man to boot.


As always we took a ton of shots and it will take a while to consider and process them. I will share a few this afternoon.

After our four hour tour, we had a good buffet brunch at the view, then went back to the hotel and crashed. In the afternoon we came back, now that we had found our bearings.


And on the way I saw these purty horses in a field on the north side of the road.

Just a lovely place. Never saw a piece of litter the whole time. Walk in beauty. Respect mother earth.


Not totally sure but I think I grabbed some nice stuff. Nothing earth shattering. Stuff has been shot a million times.


But so innately beautiful that it should not be taken for granted.

Here's the obligatory navajo man on the horse shot. This visual cliché is brought to you by Gouldings Trading Post who position this local rider on the cliff for tip donations. Hey it works for me. This is John Ford Point, named for the famous director who used the location for what I believe was the movie Stagecoach.

I found a cute dog, who posed for free and out of simple kindness of heart. Would loved to have taken this one home. met some great navajos there, bright and sweet.


Really have a lot to process. This will not be easy. Amazing how much you can shoot in four days.


I know what you are thinking. Yes, but did you shoot any cows? You bet I did.

We shot for an hour or two in the deep afternoon shadows which I personally thought was more interesting and less flat than the morning light.

I wish I had more time to look at my photographic swag  but I need to go home and eat and see my beautiful bride. Will put some more shots up and trip talk tomorrow.

Will tell you that I went out in the middle of the night Sunday, by myself, for astrophotography, came within two feet of hitting a horse than ran right in front of me in pitch darkness, 55 mile an hour power slide, just missed, saw the terror in his eyes, he saw the same in mine.

Took some night shots in front of El Capitan.

Then headed back to the park for sunrise.


(to be continued...)

6 comments:

Ken Seals said...

Great job with the text and photos!!

Renee C. OBrien said...

Yes to the photos. Enjoyed each one. Yes to whales.

RB said...

Up on the third floor balcony watching an incredible sunset over Mt Tam, Golden Gate. San Francisco lot up like fireworks coming on strong.
And then I look into the Blast!.Where you have been ... photos made my day.
The world is indeed pure and fine.
Saludos ...


Emergefit said...

Beautiful. You take photographs that are always just right. Nice.

Anonymous said...

The blue heron has returned to his roost with treasures for the flock.

Anonymous said...

Good to see you enjoying life and chronicling your voyages.
Peace brotherman
Deli guy