We’ve just returned from a three-week road trip through the American south-west and I was absolutely fascinated with what I saw … fifteen-hundred pictures of fascination, which I’m now pleasantly sorting through. Here’s one of my favourites, our approach to Monument Valley, taken as I darted out in the middle of the highway, oblivious to oncoming traffic
Monument Valley is located in the NE corner of Arizona and we were approaching from the east just before sunset when I took this picture. It’s easy to see where the name comes from as these stunning rock formations stand proud in a wide, open valley.
We had planned our road trip around an article in a recent issue of Outdoor Photographer. We didn’t stick completely to their itinerary, but it was a good starting point. One of the best tips, however, was the importance of planning shots around sunrise and sunset, when the mountains are bathed in softer light. The above shot was taken a little after 5:30 am, 10-15 minutes before sunrise.
Here’s another example of that beautiful soft morning light, taken just an hour or two after sunrise. The rock formations, of course, are what it’s all about, but you need that lovely soft light to really capture the true essence of what you are experiencing.
We spent the rest of the morning hiking the Wildcat Trail in the valley floor, approaching West Mitten Butte (on the left) and walking completely around it. We had the whole valley to ourselves and it took almost three hours to circumnavigate this massive monument. The light wasn’t great. but we had a very intimate experience hiking through the desert and seeing this beautiful sandstone rock formation from all sides.
It was a great start to our road trip through the south-west, and got better and better as each day passed by… stay tuned.