Share:

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Night Photography Challenges in Monument Valley

Milky Way over Three Sisters, Monument Valley ~ © Royce Bair
Canon 5DMk3 • Rokinon 24mm f/1.4 • f/2.0, 13 sec, ISO 5000
The biggest challenge to night photography in the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park is access. Once you leave the park, you need to have a registered guide to re-enter the park after sunset. The average guide fee was $100 to $150 per hour. Most required a three-hour minimum.

The best way to photograph the popular Mittens (East and West Mitten) without a guide, is to stay at the tribal owned and operated The View hotel. The rooms are first-class and you can even get a great shot right from your terrace! You'll want to book early, though. More than 80% of the guests are from outside the United States, and they come at all seasons of the year.


The accommodations and view from The View are first-class. This sunrise was taken
only a few hundred feet from my room. The top, right photo was from my terrace.
Light Pollution and Light Painting: Although there is very little light pollution in this remote region, you will need to walk a few hundred feet away from the hotel to avoid the light from the hotel's outdoor parking lights. Light painting is limited in some areas of the valley below the hotel because there are actually native people who live there; and this can be disturbing to them, unless they are notified ahead of time, permission is granted, and a gratuity is paid.

Not-so-bright Milky Way: You'll notice that the Milky Way in the above photo is not as bright as you may have seen in many of my photos. That's because the brightest portion, the Central Bulge, dips below the horizon from mid to late Fall, and doesn't return until mid to late Spring (the "Bulge" is currently on display in the Southern Hemisphere).


Royce's 2014 Workshop, Lecture & Video Conference Schedule: NightScapeEvents.com
Featured Post: Shooting Stars eBook Review — How to Photograph the Stars and the Moon

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for this Royce. Planning on staying at The View in late May of next year. Great information !

    Kevin

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Royce,
    I'm one of those non Americans (from the UK) who stayed at the View in September! I'd come across your blog before we went so was keen to try some Milky Way shots as it's difficult to get a cloud free night here in the UK without light pollution. Unfortunately we had some British weather while at the View but managed to get a decent shot of lightening over the Mittens from our room http://www.flickr.com/photos/phil300d/10481447415/
    so every cloud has a silver lining. You have a great blog which I've thoroughly enjoyed reading.
    Many Thanks,
    Phil Walker

    ReplyDelete
  3. Light painting is limited in some areas of the valley below the hotel because there are actually native people who live there; and this can be disturbing to them, stonemasons

    ReplyDelete