Photography and commentary from John Fujimagari

Posts tagged “Tribal Park

The Mittens

The Mittens

 

This week I’m revisiting a place that I’m yearning to actually revisit, Monument Valley. It straddles the Utah-Arizona border within the Navajo Indian reservation. The Navajo Nation operates the Monument Valley Tribal Park and regulates entry to the area.

This scene is one of the most photographed locations. It features both the East and West Mitten as well as Merrick Butte. What you can’t see are the dozens of other photographers on either side of me. Farther into the park and later into the day as well as very early the next day, the crowds thinned dramatically. Shooting the dawn the next day, I practically had the place to myself.

In the best light…

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Hazy Morning, Monument Valley

Hazy Sunrise, Monument Valley

 

I may have mentioned it before, I love the American Southwest and Monument Valley has a special place in my heart. The majesty of this location is hard to translate to mere pixels, but I’ve made my attempt. There were lots of photographers around the Mittens near sunset, but just after sunrise in the off peak season, I had this spot to myself. For photographers, it means double checking your exposure, focus and composition, while the light is changing very quickly as the sun is rising. At the same time, you try to take some time to drink in the scene, the peace and the tranquility, and be, maybe just a little pleased with yourself.

In the best light…


US 163

US 163

One of the more famous spots in movie lore, Forrest Gump Point is in the bottom of the valley at this end of the straightaway. This is where Forrest Gump gives up his cross-country running and wants to go home.

From this vantage point, in the far distance on the extreme left, the Big Indian, to the left and center, the multi-spired Stagecoach, and Brigham’s Tomb on the right.

In the best light…

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The Stones Themselves

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In Monument Valley, the red coloured rocks are quite prominent and the vivid hues are in your face. I thought that removing the colour and presenting the scene in black and white would show the grain and structure of the giant boulders and cliff face. Hopefully the tuft of grasses included at the bottom of the frame gives the image a sense of scale.

In the best light…


West Mitten

West Mitten

 

The Mittens are one of the most recognisable and easily accessed features of Monument Valley. We recently re-watched John Ford’s The Searchers with John Wayne. Monument Valley was definitely one of the stars of the movie. Back when the film was shot, the location was even more rustic, with no paved roads to the valley, let alone in it.

This location might be in too many photos, but we should each make what we can from each location. I wanted to include the sage and juniper in the foreground to show the terrain near the monolith.

In the best light…