Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Along the Colorado Plateau

Located on the Arizona-Utah state line, near Four Corners is an area rich in history and beautiful scenery.  This area has the greatest concentration of US National Park units in the country.  Ten National Parks, Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, Arches, Mesa Verde and the Petrified Forest are all located here.  Seventeen National Monuments including Hovenweep, Wupatki, Sunset Crater Volcano, Grand Staircase-Escalante, Natural Bridges and Canyon de Chelly are also located in the area.  Added to this list is a vast segment of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands as well as the Navajo Nation.  The Navajo Nation occupies portions of northeastern Arizona, southeastern Utah and northwestern New Mexico and is the largest land area assigned on any Native American jurisdiction in the United States.
Among the beauty listed above is Tsé Biiʼ Ndzisgaii (meaning valley of rocks) or Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. 
Growing up as a boy I loved watching old black and white western movies primarily John Wayne.  One can not visit Monument Valley or see images from there without seeing the landscape that captured the imagination of thousands as they watched John Wayne battle the bad guys.  I like to say that visit Monument Valley and you'll see the most two-most famous Johns in American film history;  John Ford the director and John Way the actor.
We've been going to Monument Valley several times a year and each time always visit Valley of the Gods which is situated less that 30-minutes east.  This last trip has turned into what we believe is the best due to extremely great weather conditions.
Sandy and I stayed the View Hotel located right on the rim overlooking Monument Valley spending 2-days hiking and shooting the area.  The equipment used to capture the images here were simple; Sandy used her Canon 1DsIII and a EF24-70 lens while I used a Phase One DF body, Phase One IQ160 digital back and a Schneider 55mm leaf shutter lens.  We also captured several minutes of time-lapse video which will be included in our next DVD.

Monument Valley is primarily a location you drive using a 17-mile loop around the valley floor.  There is however a hiking trail that allows one a closer look.  Wildcat Trail (3.2 mile loop) is a fairly level/easy route that loops around the West Mitten Butte.  No matter the time of year you should be cautious making certain you carry plenty of water.

These are just teaser samples of what we were fortunate to capture during our stay.  There's still plenty of processing and test printing to do.  Most of the images will eventually end up in Volume 5 of our DVD with a couple being offered for sale as a print in our web gallery.   
Thank you for allowing us to share and remember, your comments are always welcomed.  Stay tuned for more and watch for the release of DVD Volume 5 coming within a couple months.
Sandy & Don



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