27 March 2010

Monument Valley Arizona/Utah

As far as photography goes this is a tough time of year here in the Rockies. The splendors of winter have faded and left a certain barren landscape whilst we await the wonders of the new life spring will bring.

So, I'm going back to last winter at this time when I was shooting in Monument Valley which straddles Arizona and Utah. I don't think there is a more colorful desert anywhere. No matter in what direction you look there is some kaleidoscopic something to see and to shoot.

The sky and the clouds are truly incredible. The sandstone desert is capped by the most intense blue and the clouds are pure, well purity. They are big, boisterous and beautiful. I'm quite partial to the clouds in Montana's Big Sky but there can be no doubt those in the Monument Valley give them a run for the money.

Monument Valley by Kinsey Barnard
Monument Valley by Kinsey Barnard

There's something else I like a lot about Monument Valley. It's still some what primitive. The valley belongs to the sovereign nation of the Navajo and it is their intention to keep it primitive for as long as they can. I believe that will be indefinitely. If you come with the right kind of vehicle you can travel the desert to your hearts content. Koty and I put in I don't know how many miles just going up and down the dirt roads.You can see for miles and miles and miles .....

As mentioned many times, patterns in nature fascinate me no end and there is no shortage of that kind of thing to see in Monument Valley. As they say, you can't make this stuff up! If you are into this sort of thing the sandstone designs will knock your socks off. Mother Nature just keeps coming up with extraordinary designs. One commenter thought the image below looked like sharks teeth. I think she's right.

Monument Valley by Kinsey Barnard
Monument Valley Designs by Kinsey Barnard

The main event is the Tribal Park where you will find the biggest, baddest monuments. This area is quite crowded. You can take guided or self guided trips around the loop road. I recommend you take one of the park jitneys unless you have a car you're not too concerned about. Most of the road is just fine but the first quarter mile down into the park or so is a real goat track.

As for accommodations go there are really only two choices. You can go upscale at the relatively new The View hotel which is within the tribal park and sits on a bluff overlooking the valley. Even if you don't stay here you should stop in for "The View".

The other option is Gouldings Lodge. Before The View it was the only accommodation in Monument Valley. It played host to John Wayne and John Huston and is steeped in the history of the valley.

Stagecoach by Kinsey Barnard
Stagecoach by Kinsey Barnard

The Lodge is a little frayed around the edges but I think it's part of the charm. The view from here isn't too shabby either. You'll have the opportunity to see some awesome sunsets from your balcony. Even if you don't stay here you might want to stop in to check out the museum.

Whether you are interested in photography or not I can pretty much guarantee you you will have an eye popping time in Monument Valley. It's truly a natural wonder.

©Kinsey Barnard Photography


1 comment:

Holly Days Closet said...

As much as I may dislike AZ it does have some beautiful places to see.