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Thread: Strange Experience in Monument Valley

  1. #11
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: Strange Experience in Monument Valley

    No, not everything revolves around maximizing profits. And, no, I doubt tripod users are in significant numbers to sway the tribe. The rules seem to encourage the use (more business) of their hotel as a photo platform, as shown by you giving them free advertising.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  2. #12

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    Re: Strange Experience in Monument Valley

    One can't really blame the Navajos for managing (or monetizing) their land as they see fit.

    That said, I will no longer photograph in a number of places on the reservation just because they have become either too restrictive or too touristy. Horseshoe Bend now has a gigantic parking lot and shuttles. Last time I photographed it, I had to search for the not-very-worn trail through the tall brush on the side of the highway and hike back to it. I was the only one there for a long time; eventually another couple came by. That was it for the two hours or so I was there.

    Ditto with both the Antelope canyons. I have fond memories of being let in to Lower Antelope by the Navajo caretaker. I'd pay and he'd just hang the open padlock on the gate and tell me to lock up when I left. I spent entire afternoons alone in the canyon with my camera. I'd set up a shot, open the shutter for the 15-20 minute exposure and just walk the canyon looking for my next possibility. Now, they take 45 people an hour through there; even more through Upper Antelope. No way I'm ever going back.

    Monument Valley's been off my list for a while too, along with Coyote Buttes, "The Wave," etc.

    There are other, less-traveled and just as expressive places to photograph, places that haven't had their images hackneyed and pasted up on every Instagram and Snapchat board one can imagine.

    Y'all can spend all the time you want at those places; you won't find me there though.

    Best,

    Doremus

  3. #13

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    Re: Strange Experience in Monument Valley

    Quote Originally Posted by Two23 View Post
    Have just scratched this place off my November trip list.


    Kent in SD
    I did the same over a decade ago just after one quick stop on my drive through.
    There are plethora of other beautiful and quiet "places nobody knows".

  4. #14
    Alan Klein's Avatar
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    Re: Strange Experience in Monument Valley

    You gotta go off-season.

  5. #15
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Strange Experience in Monument Valley

    It's probable that with a pre-arranged official tribal guide you could use your large format gear, tripod n' all. Covid circumstances might temporarily alter that option, and perhaps they are having problems handling too many people at once as they try to open things back up. The Navajo Reservation has been hit especially hard with the virus. I'd personally rather have some place to myself less crowded or cliched. There is an awful lot to potentially photograph in that whole area. Why does everyone want to photograph the same thing?

  6. #16

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    Re: Strange Experience in Monument Valley

    I decided Willie's advice to contact someone was good, so I wrote a note about my experience on the Contact page form for the Navajo Nation Parks & Rec Service (https://navajonationparks.org/contact-us/) and asked if it is true that tripods and view cameras are not allowed.

    I received a reply that merely stated a photo permit is needed to photograph in MV. Clicking the link on the page pops up a window that says permits start at $100. Clicking the Book link on the pop up window brings up a brief form which, when I completed it, shows my permit cost to be $11. I replied to the earlier email I received asking whether I owed $100 or $11, as I was confused. I have not received a reply to this question.

    There is a much longer, onerous multi-page pdf application here: https://navajonationparks.org/permit...m-photography/
    This seems to be a one-size-fits-all form for movie productions as well as individual photographers. I have a lot of questions as to how to complete this form and how my cost would be determined.

    I then did a google search and turned up this account by Joe Becker of his experience several years ago with getting photo permits. Rather than reinvent the wheel, I thought I would just link to his account for anyone interested. https://joebeckerphoto.wordpress.com...raphy-permits/ This is a pretty hilarious read about bureaucratic efficiency (oxymoron alert), in any case.

    Joe's experience is similar to many experiences I have had with Navajo officialdom over the past 15 years (no disparagement intended, just facts). Like, Joe, I have never encountered either a ranger or a tribal police officer while photographing in MV. For $11, though, I will give the online permit a shot the next time I go.

    And, as Drew suggests, I have no doubts all would be well with regard to tripods and view camera if you hire a Navajo guide or go on a commercial photo tour. One such is Phillips, online at monumentvalley.com.

  7. #17

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    Re: Strange Experience in Monument Valley

    Don't take this the wrong way, but I've been to both places more than once: the Dine' are acting just like Italians.
    There are 3 kinds of people in the world: those who can count and those who can't.

  8. #18
    Alan Klein's Avatar
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    Re: Strange Experience in Monument Valley

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Roberts View Post
    I decided Willie's advice to contact someone was good, so I wrote a note about my experience on the Contact page form for the Navajo Nation Parks & Rec Service (https://navajonationparks.org/contact-us/) and asked if it is true that tripods and view cameras are not allowed.

    I received a reply that merely stated a photo permit is needed to photograph in MV. Clicking the link on the page pops up a window that says permits start at $100. Clicking the Book link on the pop up window brings up a brief form which, when I completed it, shows my permit cost to be $11. I replied to the earlier email I received asking whether I owed $100 or $11, as I was confused. I have not received a reply to this question.

    There is a much longer, onerous multi-page pdf application here: https://navajonationparks.org/permit...m-photography/
    This seems to be a one-size-fits-all form for movie productions as well as individual photographers. I have a lot of questions as to how to complete this form and how my cost would be determined.

    I then did a google search and turned up this account by Joe Becker of his experience several years ago with getting photo permits. Rather than reinvent the wheel, I thought I would just link to his account for anyone interested. https://joebeckerphoto.wordpress.com...raphy-permits/ This is a pretty hilarious read about bureaucratic efficiency (oxymoron alert), in any case.

    Joe's experience is similar to many experiences I have had with Navajo officialdom over the past 15 years (no disparagement intended, just facts). Like, Joe, I have never encountered either a ranger or a tribal police officer while photographing in MV. For $11, though, I will give the online permit a shot the next time I go.

    And, as Drew suggests, I have no doubts all would be well with regard to tripods and view camera if you hire a Navajo guide or go on a commercial photo tour. One such is Phillips, online at monumentvalley.com.
    I'd call one of the Navajo guide outfits and ask them about tripods and permits. Permits seem to be for commercial photography not for the average photographer.
    https://navajonationparks.org/guided...our-operators/

  9. #19
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Strange Experience in Monument Valley

    In the non-commercial mode, they do tend to be suspicious of outsiders, even other tribes. I can understand why; it's complicated. But having grown up with Indians, I have at times struck up conversations with Navajo which got me invited onto their private land. I particularly recall the time one of them led both me and my wife out across a long sandstone bench behind their ranch, with all of us carrying buckets of water to pour into the many tyrannosaur tracks to make them especially apparent. Quite a treat.

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