Monuments, Towers and Castles of Stone

I’ve been pretty fortunate to have visited many areas of Utah over 7 1/2 years and I’m still searching for new and amazing views. One of the few remaining places I hadn’t seen was Monument Valley and the 4 corners region. It’s a longer drive from Salt Lake City so it takes more than a weekend to get there. 5 days off? I’m there. I’m also interested in the Anasazi history so a trip to Mesa Verde National Park was in order.

I’ll begin by saying I should’ve researched the Mesa Verde a little more because I found it to be pretty cool, but closed. I saw a cliff house from the road and that’s it. Oh well, lesson learned.

I spent most of my time in and near the Valley of the Gods in Southeast Utah. It’s a 17 mile dirt road in the middle of nowhere and there was no reason to go anywhere else. It had everything I was looking for from peace and quiet to wide open views to towers and endless stone features. Did I mention there was only 1 other car?

The weather was perfect with light winds and cool. By cool I mean 15 at night, 40 daytime high. Cool, dry air means clear air and we all know clear air is good for photography:) The only problem with the weather was there were no clouds and the sunsets weren’t quite what I was expecting. Instead, I was treated to the subtle color shifts of predawn light and some of the best stars I’ve ever seen. You’d think with no clouds that every sunrise and sunset would be the same and I thought the same. I was proven wrong and I found instead that each day the sky treated me to something slightly different. There was a small change in moisture in the upper atmosphere and it doesn’t take much of that to shift colors. It was also an experience to do most of my photography before sunrise and after sunset.

My last stop was Monument Valley. When I told a few people I was going there, many of them asked “Where’s that?” I replied, “You know the roadrunner and coyote landscape? It’s like that.” Oh. For photographers, Monument Valley is a known location and widely recognized. I simply wanted to be there so seeing it in full daylight and full contrast was just as pleasing for me as the red/purple scenes we frequently see. There were very few people there as well so I was able to stand in front of the rock that Ansel Adams so famously photographed without interruption. Kind of a special moment and I could’ve cared less what the light was like.

As for the images, I hope you enjoy and I won’t elaborate too much on them. Most of them speak to the shift of colors from blues, reds, oranges and yellows. It is more of a simplistic approach and hopefully the peace I felt there comes through in a few of them. Thanks for looking and I hope fall has been great for all:) Winter is here now…EE

You can view a slideshow on Flickr of the images here: Slideshow of Images


24 thoughts on “Monuments, Towers and Castles of Stone

  1. These are some of the best pictures I’ve ever seen of Monument Valley! My family took a trip out there a few years ago (I didn’t go), it’s got some of the wackiest and most beautiful scenery in this country. Gorgeous!


    • Thanks Mike, was looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this set. It’s an amazing landscape that we often see in photography and it makes it that much more special to be there. I stood in front of the rocks that Anselm adams made famous, in mid day, blown out light and felt the same feeling I get from looking at great images of that same view 🙂


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