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Thread: Advice on Monument Valley

  1. #1

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    Advice on Monument Valley

    I am going to have a limited amount of time near the end of this week to do some shooting around/near Monument Valley, AZ. I plan on getting there mid afternoon Thursday and will have to leave mid afternoon Friday. I know, not much time, but I cant really do anything about that. Any advice on ideal locations for a sunrise and sunset shooting location.....if you could do only a single setup of each? Any advice is appreciated.

  2. #2
    Confidently Agnostic!
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    Re: Advice on Monument Valley

    Somewhere between monument valley and Kayenta is this awesome formation which looks great at sunset:



    If I'm ever in the area again I'll definitely shoot this critter with my view camera.

  3. #3
    Jack Flesher's Avatar
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    Re: Advice on Monument Valley

    I would look into doing Teardrop Arch at sunset. It's across the highway a few miles from the park itself, but gives a pretty nice framing.

    Monument Valley via Teardrop Arch:



    Cheers,
    Jack Flesher

    www.getdpi.com

  4. #4

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    Re: Advice on Monument Valley

    Jack, Fantastic image!!! Thanks for sharing it...

  5. #5

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    Re: Advice on Monument Valley

    Great photograph Jack, that's the first time I've seen the rabbit ears and nearby formations featured this way in the Teardrop Arch shot. When I photographed Teardrop Arch that "nose" (the small rock outcrop protruding from the right edge of the arch) got in the way, so I passed on that particular composition, but now I see it actually photographed I think it looks fine. You obviously had excellent clouds and a great air quality to work with, there's nothing like coming in after a storm. Bravo!

    Eric, the formation Walter photographed is called Agathla Peak. It can be easily photographed from Highway 163, preferably with a long lens.

    Another classical sunset (and also sunrise) spot is from the Visitor Center parking lot at Monument Valley Tribal Park. This gets you the classic grand landscape of the entire valley (left mitten, right mitten, etc.).

    If you are willing to pay money for a Navajo guide, you can gain access to a variety of additional classical shots (guides are required to access most of the park). The Totem Pole at sunrise and Teardrop Arch at sunset are among the best known. If you already have a 4WD vehicle, you might be able to pick up a guide at the visitor center (a number of them are always hanging around waiting for customers), although you'll obviously have no references for these folks. In the past, I've used Tom Phillips (http://www.monumentvalley.com/Pages/..._homepage.html), who supplies both guides and 4WD vehicles, but this is the off season and I'm not sure if anything can be arranged on such short notice. Alternatively, Gouldings Lodge (http://www.gouldings.com/english/index.htm) gives tours of the area throughout the day; these are for tourists and not appropriate for LF shooters, but it may be possible to pay a driver to take you out to Teardrop at the end of the day.

    Here are a couple short photography essays for you:

    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/lo...monument.shtml
    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/ga.../mv_2000.shtml
    http://www.monumentvalley.com/Pages/...h_gallery.html

  6. #6
    lazy retired bum
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    Re: Advice on Monument Valley

    I can recommend Vaughn and Marcia Hadenfeldt of "Far Out Expeditions" in Bluf, Utah. When John Sexton and Ray McSavany were doing their Southwest workshop, which I attended last year, Vaughn and Marcia were our guides in Monument Valley. They are knowledgeable, friendly and generally terrific folks. They can get you to some wonderful places.

    Eric

  7. #7

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    Re: Advice on Monument Valley

    Thanks for the insights and kkep them coming if you have more- still could use some sunrise advice- as for guides- how much do they cost- is it a standard amount or do I have to lose my normal shyness and haggle a bit

  8. #8

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    Re: Advice on Monument Valley

    YES, get a GUIDE...as you won't be able to get to the places you want at the times you want without one...and since you may not be back for a while...get one....a $125 on up? It's been awhile.

  9. #9

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    Re: Advice on Monument Valley

    For an ad-hoc end-of-the-day visit to Teardrop Arch I vaguely remember Tom Phillips proposing $40, but that was several years ago and I can't swear to it. His web site lists his photo tour rate at $20 per hour.

    You are going to have some active weather during your visit (partly cloudy on Thursday, occasional showers on Friday), and this can result in real feast or famine as far as Monument Valley photography is concerned. Teardrop Arch is superb at sunset if you have stormclouds (a la Jack Flesher's shot), but I have been out there where an overcast set in at the very end of the day, causing my Teardrop photograph to look very dreary. A sunset photograph from the visitors parking lot might be safer in this respect, as with a broader scene you'll have a greater chance of light occasionally breaking through the clouds.

    If it were me, I would try to get a guide to set me up at the Totem Pole sand dunes for a sunrise shot (dunes in foreground, pole in background), but if the weather is going to be socked in then this will not work. You'd probably be better off trying to get a sunrise shot through the cloud cover from the visitor's parking lot again.

    I'd suggest discussing the weather and options with a guide, so that you can devise a plan which maximizes your chances for success. I think it will be money well spent.

    If the weather permits on Friday, you could take a photo tour of Mystery Valley, which makes for a good morning photo tour and is a lot of fun.

  10. #10

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    Re: Advice on Monument Valley

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post

    Monument Valley via Teardrop Arch:
    WOW!

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