Monument Valley, yes it truly is one of those places where you sense a spiritual presence. But I suggest, if you really want to experience what makes it so enlightening, plan it right and arrive on the valley floor well before sunrise or just before sunset with the monoliths in a position to silhouette against the rising or setting sun. These are magical times in the valley and you'll truly understand the immensity and dynamic beauty and experience a phenomenal quality of light. These are the times that really deliver on what makes Monument Valley so spectacular.
On this particular day I rounded the corner on the valley's main dirt road about 30 minutes before sunset and immediately saw these amazing layers of light transitioning into the giant rock formations and walls. The light layers and haze appeared to be the result of dust from cars that traveled the road ahead of me.
One of the biggest challenges in capturing this image was I had to shoot almost directly into the sun. My lens hood took care of a lot of the stray light, but not all of it. I used my hat to block as much as ai could, but ultimately I still had some lens refraction that peeked through into the final image. I actually think it helped!
From a post processing point of view there was quite a bit of dodging and burning that took several hours to work through. The whites were extremely intense and the shadows deep, and in some case devoid of detail. After working the file in a first draft for hours, I let the image rest and came back to the working file 5-6 times with days in-between before I finalized the master print file.
80 MM (80-400MM Lens)
1/3 Sec at F29