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Thread: canyon de chelly

  1. #31

    Join Date
    Sep 1998
    Location
    Mobile, AL
    Posts
    539

    Re: canyon de chelly

    About 10-12 years ago my wife and I went to Canyon de Chelly and we stayed at the Holiday Inn just outside the park. I had contacted John Sexton beforehand because he used to do workshop tours there. John told us the entire canyon unpaved loose sand roads and said to hire a guide. We booked a tour guide thru the hotel. The tour guide picked us up around 6:00 am and we were the only ones on the tour. The guide took his time and gave us as much time needed to take our photographs. He was very personable and his name was Kenneth but told to us to call him "K". The tour was supposed to be about 3-4 hours but K kept us touring until about noon. My wife and I had a great time and tipped K handsomely for the extra long tour. I would suggest checking with the local hotels in Chinle about hiring local guides. The rim road has numerous turnoffs that you can take photographs from the rim but the best time will be on the valley floor.

    If you are going to Monument Valley I would suggest you contact Fred Cly Adventure Tours and try to book him. We booked Fred for a morning tour in the middle of the week and again my wife and I were the only ones on the tour. We met him in the parking lot about 4 am. Fred first started us out taking star photographs until first light started. Then Fred took us to some of his favorite areas and challenged our creativity to see out of the box rather than being the "standard tourists". Again being just ourselves, Fred gave us extra time on the tour.

    I'm envious now, have a great time.

  2. #32

    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    klamath falls, oregon
    Posts
    1,461

    Re: canyon de chelly

    Well, I made it to CDC, and here are some impressions.

    I usually research fairly well, but I was naive about the setting - how close the canyon is to the town of Chinle, that locals live all around the two drives/canyons, etc. I generally prefer places where I can better escape humanity for the most part. I wasn't prepared for the vendors setting up at the overlooks and in the canyon (just a couple of those at this time of year). At one point I believe that an attempt was made at one of the overlooks to relieve me of my camera and tripod, but I caught wind of that.

    Also, the camping wasn't as aesthetically pleasing as some other places, but the campground was quite relaxed. There were enough people there that you felt like someone would spot anything suspicious going on, but it was only about half full, so folks were somewhat spread out. If you read this and are going there with a bicycle, don't ride it in the campground! My wife was on her bike and moved to the side of the road to let a car go by, and immediately had 10-20 goatheads in each tire!

    We did a jeep tour with Bobby VanWinkle, and it was fantastic. I don't think I would go to the canyon at all if I wasn't willing to spring for a tour. He took just my wife, cousin and I, and was willing to stop for me wherever I wanted. I don't know how helpful that was, because I was a bit overwhelmed, and could have spent an hour in any 1/2 mile stretch of the canyon, easily! So I had him give my wife and cousin the "standard" tour, and just had him stop in a few other places that he wouldn't ordinarily. At several of the standard stops I took a bit of extra time, and he was happy to educate and entertain the other two at those times.

    Photographically I decided at the last minute to live dangerously, and shot entirely with ortho film, which I'd never used before, no filtration. That seemed to work out fine for all but one shot. Like I said, it was hard for me to determine what to photograph with such a limited visit. My best image was made by finding Timothy O'Sullivan's tripod holes at the White House Ruin (deepened by Ansel), the first image below. I think the general composition is a no-brainer that I could have stumbled into on my own. I shot it on the way in and on the way out, and this one (on the way in) seemed to have better shadows. The second image is the other icon of the canyon, Spider Rock. When I get more images posted at my web page, I'll post here again for those who would care to look.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  3. #33
    Vaughn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Humboldt County, CA
    Posts
    8,478

    Re: canyon de chelly

    Glad to hear that you had a good adventure. I also find it difficult to photograph a new type of light/landscape...especially under less-than-perfect conditions such as limited time and having to worry about safety. One tends to end up getting a few of the icons on film on the first visit or two, then that experience with the light and forms allows one to make one's own icons. YMMD. Looking forward to seeing what else you did!

    I was there for an afternoon in 1984. But back then, and still now, I have reservations about photographing on native land. A personal thing, not something I am for or against others doing...just plenty of light for me elsewhere. Somewhere there are 4x5 negs in my files of Spider Rock. I was traveling with a lovely Aussie gal who got very frustrated in Chinle because the store clerk could not understand her. I think he just got lost listening to her accent, and the meaning of the words no longer mattered.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  4. #34

    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Montreal, Canada
    Posts
    926

    Re: canyon de chelly

    I like how he ortho worked out. Looks nice.

    Quote Originally Posted by h2oman View Post
    Well, I made it to CDC, and here are some impressions.

    I usually research fairly well, but I was naive about the setting - how close the canyon is to the town of Chinle, that locals live all around the two drives/canyons, etc. I generally prefer places where I can better escape humanity for the most part. I wasn't prepared for the vendors setting up at the overlooks and in the canyon (just a couple of those at this time of year). At one point I believe that an attempt was made at one of the overlooks to relieve me of my camera and tripod, but I caught wind of that.

    Also, the camping wasn't as aesthetically pleasing as some other places, but the campground was quite relaxed. There were enough people there that you felt like someone would spot anything suspicious going on, but it was only about half full, so folks were somewhat spread out. If you read this and are going there with a bicycle, don't ride it in the campground! My wife was on her bike and moved to the side of the road to let a car go by, and immediately had 10-20 goatheads in each tire!

    We did a jeep tour with Bobby VanWinkle, and it was fantastic. I don't think I would go to the canyon at all if I wasn't willing to spring for a tour. He took just my wife, cousin and I, and was willing to stop for me wherever I wanted. I don't know how helpful that was, because I was a bit overwhelmed, and could have spent an hour in any 1/2 mile stretch of the canyon, easily! So I had him give my wife and cousin the "standard" tour, and just had him stop in a few other places that he wouldn't ordinarily. At several of the standard stops I took a bit of extra time, and he was happy to educate and entertain the other two at those times.

    Photographically I decided at the last minute to live dangerously, and shot entirely with ortho film, which I'd never used before, no filtration. That seemed to work out fine for all but one shot. Like I said, it was hard for me to determine what to photograph with such a limited visit. My best image was made by finding Timothy O'Sullivan's tripod holes at the White House Ruin (deepened by Ansel), the first image below. I think the general composition is a no-brainer that I could have stumbled into on my own. I shot it on the way in and on the way out, and this one (on the way in) seemed to have better shadows. The second image is the other icon of the canyon, Spider Rock. When I get more images posted at my web page, I'll post here again for those who would care to look.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	white_house_ruin_web.jpg 
Views:	90 
Size:	111.0 KB 
ID:	221623 Click image for larger version. 

Name:	spider_rock_web.jpg 
Views:	83 
Size:	61.6 KB 
ID:	221624

  5. #35
    Moderator
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,492

    Re: canyon de chelly

    Posole (note spelling). Hominy marinated in hot red chile for a day or so, and delicious. A staple of New Mexican cuisine.

    Rick “hadn’t had good posole since Mexican Carryout Kitchen closed” Denney

  6. #36
    Drew Wiley
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    SF Bay area, CA
    Posts
    16,001

    Re: canyon de chelly

    My stomach is too sensitive to hot spices now, but the best Mex Tex food I ever ate was in a mobile home on the Navajo reservation converted into a tiny little breakfast diner. I was the only non-Navajo at the time in there. You just follow the pickups. They might not lead you to a fancy tourist restaurant, but do know where they are going, and why!

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