Raingod Mesa, Monument Valley, Arizona

Raingod Mesa, Monument Valley, Arizona

If I was a better wordsmith or philosopher, I'd go on about how this long exposure reveals something about time passing, and how that ties in with the decaying bits of rocks and all that. But I'm not, I'm an engineer with a penchant for photography - so I have a hard time explaining just what draws me to this particular photo.

But here's what I can say, the weather throughout our 4 day trip around the southwest was probably the only disappointment. It was overcast most of the time, which is great for shooting waterfalls and leafy forest, but a drag for sandstone needing light to emphasis texture and color.

So as we did a rapid drive around Monument Valley's 17-mile drive we came to stop near its southern point, between Raingod and Thunderbird Mesas. There was one patch of broken up cloud moving quickly above, like a gash in the overcast sky. I could see the end up the blue sky quickly approaching from the south so I set up pretty quickly with a shot I was envisioning on the drive. I used an ND400 Neutral Density filter to drop the light level by a factor of 8 or 9 stops to capture the movement in the clouds. I shot with a wide lens since we were fairly close this peak at the southern end of this mesa, and wanted to give it the appearance of really towering above us.

For whatever reason, I'm particularly happy with how this turned out - possibly because it was how I was picturing the shot before I stepped out of the car.

Be sure to check out some work from my co-travelers, Suad, John, and Scott. And if you're interested in looking through our collective flickr photo pool here.

Nikon D90 | Sigma 10-20@11.5mm | f/11 | 10s | Tripod

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