West Mitten Butte, Arizona

West Mitten Butte, Arizona

As I've said now many times, weather was probably the only downfall of my trip around the southwest with friends Suad, John, and Scott. Not terrible, but often overcast. Well combine that with the surprising fact that at this time of year a sunset in Monument Valley is really unbalanced, with Merrick Butte completely in shadow well before sunset.

So we were there at Monument Valley, largely scratching our heads at how to shoot this amazing landscape when the light seemed to be doing everything except for what we wanted it to do. Then for a few brief moments the sky lit up with a really beautiful color palette just as the sun was setting. Blue sky, white cloud, and veins of pink and orange cloud thrown in as well.

Despite the lovely colors, I preferred a black and white interpretation of the scene. With the buttes already in shadow, but not quite silhouettes either, a color photo was a bit challenging to pull off. I spent most of the little time I had trying to compose a red-filtered shot on my Tachihara, but the fading light won that race. I did manage this digital shot though, which I filtered the same way. With a red filter, detail still comes through nicely in the butte, while the range of colors in the sky translated nicely into a range of black and white tones. I hope to follow up yet with a color photo as well, but I think my strongest image (from these few moments of more dramatic light) is this one.

Nikon D90 | Nikon 18-200VR@31mm | f/8 | 1/100s | ISO200 | Handheld

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