Monument Valley Lightshow

A 90-minute exposure captures a variety of lights.  The stars mark their clockwork passage across the sky of course, but civilization also leaves its mark.  Airplane beacons flash as they pass through, distant towns show on the horizon, and local traffic finds its way along the private road below.  Private, but not unseen, and when the headlights aim in my direction, with the lens wide open, the film captures their flare.

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Monument Valley, Navaho Nation
4 November 2005
Pentax 6×7, 55mm f/3.5, 90 minutes
Kodak E200 +1 stop push


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Earth Shadow behind Monument Valley

As the sun sets in the west, the view to the east shows a distinct purplish band at the horizon.  This is the Earth’s shadow on the sky, a forecast of the twilight to come.

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Monument Valley, Navaho Nation
3 November 2005
Canon EOS 20Da


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Earth Shadow behind Mitten

The sun has just set and the remaining colors cast a warm glow on the “North Mitten”.  The sky behind it shows the shadow of the Earth on the sky just above the horizon.

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Monument Valley, Navaho Nation
3 November 2005
Canon EOS 20Da


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Coffee Table Nightscapes Resume

I have used this blog as a vehicle to “pre-publish” the pages for what I call “Coffee Table Nightscapes”. I’ve been reviewing the night sky pictures and astrophotos that I have taken over the last few decades, selecting my favorites, annotating them, and preparing them to be published as a photo book. They begin with pictures of comet Hale-Bopp in 1997, include many from my Nightscape Odyssey taken in 2001, and I had worked my way up through the 2004 pictures from Yosemite.

I will now pick up from there by posting pictures of Monument Valley during a trip to Arizona in 2005. The full story of obtaining these photos has already been presented in earlier blog entries. Here is a portrait of the distinctive landscape at sunset, one I have included among the banner images on this site.

As I approached the Navaho Nation, the sun set and I was able to take this photo of Monument Valley from afar, silhouetted by the glowing sky

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Utah, northwest of Monument Valley
2 November 2005
Canon EOS 20Da


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Monuments at Night, Nov 6

Mitten at midday

I am at the end of my designated time for this expedition.  I must now return from whence I came, to a civilization density that can host a technical conference, and will also develop the latent images captured on my film from this remote beautiful place.

As I reflect on the past few days I realize that there are more things that I would like to do.  I never did get to the Goulding Museum, or to the trading post near there (which I was told by the traveler couple was closed on the weekend).

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Monuments at Night, Nov 5

The Orion Nebula, the central star in Orion’s sword.

On this day, I manage to travel to Four Corners, a geographic location that is only meaningful to cartographers marking the human-made political bounds of different territories.  There is certainly no physical or geographic rartionale behind it, as the view from the constructed concrete platform holding the National Geologic Survey brass benchmark is the same in all directions.

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Monuments at Night, Nov 4

Moon over Monument

It had been a late night with an unexpected adrenaline rush at the end, and so it was predictable that after finally settling down, I would sleep well into the next morning.  After showering and shaving, the next order of business was to upload the photos from my digital camera and assess my success at the guided exposures from last night. 

Unfortunately, my laptop did not recognize any of the raw (.CR2) image files from the camera’s memory card!  This was a setback since I was planning to copy the images to the computer, and then reuse the memory card (I only had two of them and the second was filling rapidly). 

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