Monument Valley Workshop and History
Famous - Iconic - Must Visit.
Certainly, a special place to Navajo people.
For hundreds of millions of years, the natural erosion left a portion of what was once a part of the Rocky Mountains. Our ancestors later inhabited the region that is now known as the Four Corners.
Many of the stunning buttes in and around Monument Valley rise from 400 to 1,000 feet! When clouds are present, the landscape changes and only adds more energy to the region. Even on severe clear days, filling the composition with large monoliths isn't a difficult task.
Known as Tse' Bii' Ndzisgaii which means Valley of the Rocks, Monument Valley it is a living landscape. With families, animals and wildlife about, it breathes each day.
Navajoland covers roughly 26,000 square miles and of that, Monument Valley spans over 143 square miles.
The landscape is filled with wonderful desert fauna, towering Navajo Sandstone formations and large sand dunes.
There are plenty of elements to lead the photographer and viewer into prime subjects of the land. The minute details will range from lizard tracks, petroglyphs to fresh signs of the shifting, desert dunes.
The sweet light in Monument Valley is best photographed in the morning. The natural colors can change depending on temperature and natural elements from the atmosphere.
The natural and vibrant colors from the golden light to the cool somber and rich reds will be present.
There are fantastic opportunities to photograph the light in undisturbed environments.
I often wonder what the ancient ones pondered about when they awoke to such majestic light! The Sweet Light of Navajoland is unique, different and very moving because we will often be alone as a group.
Aside from my home area, I've visited Monument Valley hundreds of times in my youth to my professional days a photographer. I am happy to share the techniques and how to approach Monument Valley with a camera system.
This part of Navajoland is rich in history, culture and stories. We will be in the heart of the land that often embodies the spirit of the Southwest.
We will have an opportunity to meet each other Wednesday afternoon of March 11 from 4:00 to 5:30pm local time. The workshop will end at sunset on March 14, 2018. All total, we will spend 3.5 days in this wonderful part of Navajoland.
At this first group meeting, we will review the itinerary, changes to plans and make sure we are all ready. PLEASE do not arrive no later than 3:00pm.
After the meeting we will photograph the sunset and begin preparing for the days ahead.
This workshop will have a maximum limit of 8 attendee's.
Monument Valley is a spiritual wonderland and I firmly believe this group size will be perfect for what we will photograph.
We will arrive at all locations in 4 Wheel drive vehicles. I will also cover how to approach the landscape "thinking and seeing" in monochrome.
Yes, black and white!
This exercise will sharpen our understanding of exposure values and knowing the math. The Monument Valley workshop will focus on Composition Mastery, Exposure Control which I often refer to as "Understanding and Controlling Light".
We will also dedicate other exercises in the field such as "image creation and the in-field 5 minute process".
Since Monument Valley is full of formations that will tower over us, remembering the moments at exposure can be drowned out by everything around us.
Too often, I see photographers forgetting the feelings at exposure and if those feelings at exposure are remembered, we can induce those into processing the image to share the story at a later date.
We will photograph the vast sand dunes, and many of the locations that invite the photographer to have great foreground. Our base departure and return will be Goulding's Lodge.
Workflow of the images created will be reviewed and we will use post processing software from Lightroom and Photoshop. The class discussions, critiques and processing will take place at Gouldings Lodge.
The Field Work:
Monument Valley speaks for itself. The towering monoliths and landscape's are vast. Though I've visited Monument Valley many, many times, each moment I have in this portion of Navajoland is never a dull moment.
The approach to photography in the field will consist of reading the exposure values and balancing that portion of light with composition. I continue to photograph my work using large format view cameras. This approach with film allows me to slow down and really look at what I am doing. Sometimes it is about pondering and thinking of the end result and starting where you stand.
We will discuss in the field examples of leading lines and unique elements to include in a composition. An all-time example of foreground and leading elements, is shown below:
Mastering composition and seeing differently in the field is another item. Sometimes we focus to much on the main subject that we forget to look down, or up or even behind us. I don't know if I have a better photograph to showcase this than with the image below of Danice from UT looking North while Bob was photographing South. Both a few yards apart and both are taking advantage of the sweet light. These attendee's grasped the "look around" concept on a previous Monument Valley Workshop:
We will focus on panoramic images and telephoto lenses. From the same location, using telephoto lenses allows us to see and photograph more. We may also implement a process I call compressing distance. There are many wonderful things we will do with telephoto lenses. For the image below, I was about 3 miles away from the Mittens and I used a 500mm lens.
Total Workshop Attendee’s: Maximum of 8 attendee’s.
Workshop Days: We will start on March 11th at 6pm for the meet and greet. We will end the workshop on March 14th at sunset. We may have a final dinner before departing our separate ways. We will have over 3 days together so we won’t rush through the workshop.
Cost: The workshop is $1,197.
To reserve your spot and pay in one payment, click here.
To reserve your spot and pay in two (2) payments, click here. *Half ($598) of the workshop fee will be initially charged. You will receive a 2nd invoice 45 days after your initial payment. If your initial payment is made after February 7, 2018, your second payment will be processed 25 days after your initial payment.
To reserve your spot and pay in three (3) payments, click here. *One Third ($399) of the workshop fee will be charged. You will receive a 2nd invoice 30 days after your initial payment and a 3rd invoice 60 days after your initial payment.
*Back to Back Workshop Bonus: If you join me on this workshop and the one prior from March 7-10, 2018 in Northern Navajoland, you will receive a 20% off discount.
*Previous Workshop Attendee’s receive a 10% discount.* Cost does not include meals due to the different dietary needs. Within Gouldings, we will use a conference room where we will process the files and review our images.
Once you have registered, you will receive a confirmation email . You will also receive a separate email which will include items to review and discount codes to Singh-Ray Filters and other manufactures.
I will send you documents to submit which will contain your personal contact and emergency information, camera equipment list, motivations, desires to accomplish (personal goals) and additional documents which I MUST SUBMIT to the Navajo Nation as an Authorized Photography Workshop Leader.
Other Pieces of Important Information
Hotel and Workshop Training will be taking place at:
Gouldings Lodge 1000 Main Street Oljato - Monument Valley, UT 84536 (435) 727-3231
I will be staying at Gouldings Lodge. We will be departing early each morning and returning after our sunset locations. You are more than welcome to depart after sunset if you need to. Additional lodging information will be sent to you in a separate email.
Getting to Gouldings:
From your location, simply search for Gouldings Lodge with the 84536 Zip Code on Google Maps or Mapquest. Here are some distances from surrounding cities to Gouldings/Monument Valley:
Page, AZ to Gouldings: 125 miles (Approx 2 hours)
Flagstaff, AZ to Gouldings: 175 miles (Approx 3 hours)
Phoenix, AZ to Gouldings: 325 miles (Approx 5 hours)
Las Vegas, NV to Gouldings: 400 miles (Approx 6.5 hours)
Albuquerque, NM to Gouldings: 331 miles (Approx 5.5 hours)
Salt Lake City, UT to Gouldings: 381 miles (Approx 6 hours)
Moab, UT to Gouldings: 148 miles (Approx 2.5 hours)
Food/Dining: There is a full service grocery store and restuarant at Gouldings. Kayenta which is 25 minutes South of Gouldings has another grocery store and more restaurants and fast food joints. With food and nutrients, we'll make sure everyone has plenty on hand for their dietary needs.
Climate and Weather Condition: The temperature is ranges from the mid 60's to mid 70's during this time of year. At night, it's a nice and cool mid 40's to mid 50's. Bring adequate gear, clothing and items to help with the sun such as sun screen, sun glasses, hat’s gloves and certainly, hiking shoes. Our longest walk will be about 25 minutes. IF you have concerns or questions about being able to walk or hike any distance, please contact me ASAP to have a better conversation. My email address is email@example.com
Camera Gear and Recommendations:
* Tripod. There is a reason this number one. IF you are in search for a tripod, let me know. I use different tripods that range and differ from using my 8x10, 4x5, Fuji 617 Panoramic, Nikon D810....If you need some help with a right tripod/camera head, contact me as well. I also have 5 different systems I use for specific images and cameras. Bring a tripod!
*Lenses: Anything from 24mm to 300mm will be fine if you have a full frame camera. We may not use the focal ranges from 200mm-300mm as much as the wider angle lenses but there will be opportunities to bring them out. If you have wider lenses than 24mm, I highly recommend bringing them especially a 14-24 lens! IF you don't have those lenses, I highly recommend looking into renting them for this workshop. Renting will be a valuable thing to do. (You can contact Pictureline in Salt Lake City if needed. They've helped me a ton when my attendee's need lenses they don't have. Pictureline: (800) 748-8200 www.Pictureline.com
*Filters: Polarizer, a 2 or 3 "soft stop" GND (Graduated Neutral Density). I personally use these two filters the most when photographing. If you are looking to invest in filters, I absolutely live and breath Singh-Ray Filters. I've personally tested many and know the optical quality is spot on but above all, the color accuracy is best which is minimized by the color cast! As my workshop attendee, you will receive a discount code for your purchase(s).
*Everything to charge your gear. Camera's, GoPro's, laptop's, tablets....etc. I will have my Goal Zero Sherpa 100W and Yeti 400W with me if you need to charge anything, I've got you covered. These are the best systems on the planet to "power anything anywhere" - the beauty of solar power!
*Cable Releases. Some of our locations will require long shutter speeds. With some new filters from Singh-Ray Filters such as the 5, 10 and 15 stop, we may work on having long exposures even in afternoon light. Most camera's also come with built in 2 or 5 second shutter release. The only set back is you may be limited to only a 30 second shutter speed. IF we need more than 30 seconds, you're going to need a cable release.
Once we get closer to the workshop date, I will send you more information with updates, road and route conditions, itinerary changes (if needed) and overall, more communication for your time on the workshop.
I want to make sure all is in order for you to have a great time photographing places in and around Monument Valley.
See you on Navajoland,