Totem Pole at Sunrise - Monument Valley Tribal Park, Arizona
Nikon D800, 24-70mm f/2.8
I hired a guide to get access to the more remote parts of the valley for sunrise. This is the second time I’ve done this. The first time, back in 2009, I shot a couple of my all-time favorites because the clouds were perfectly sublime and there was snow everywhere. This day was completely different. While I wasn’t “disappointed” with the weather. It wasn’t what I hoped for. As it was, it took special work to get good results.
This image was made at the second stop not long after sunrise. The first stop was mostly a bust for results. When the car stopped here, I wasn’t initially impressed with the potential, until I got out of the car. That’s when I saw this plant almost by itself in the red sand. That, combined with the Totem Pole, blue clouds, and red sand, that was something I could work with.
The key was getting low enough so the Totem Pole and the plant are close enough compositionally to relate well with each other. Since pristine sand was key to the whole image, I had to make my compositionally choices without accidentally stepping into my composition. From first seeing this scene’s potential to the final image, took about two minutes. It was fast since no one else even brought out their cameras.