Just completed my yearly pilgrimage to the heart of Utah’s & Arizona National Parks, and like in the past, the place held pleasant and unusual surprises. Out here is all about when to shoot, you select the subject but timing is everything when it comes to the summer desert. Midnight for stars, dawn for glorious colors and afternoon for thunderstorms.
At night, Milky Way is the “Queen” of the skies. While waiting for sunrise at Mesa Arch, I wrote: “Here I lie on the cold sandstone under a shower of stars. Milky Way at center stage, cool dawn breeze blows through Mesa, no sounds just the quietness of another blessed dawn. If I stretch my hands I can harvest the universe”.
At dawn, the arches start to glow with a hint of magenta as a rare downpour makes the desert shine. Afternoons are the domain of thunderstorms and they provide unparalleled drama and stunning backgrounds. No place excels at this as Monument Valley, the “butte-riddled” mecca of the west. This is the preferred venue for the “storms of summer”. By now we are in Navajo Nation a place of mystery, spirituality and deeply rooted traditions.
In Antelope Pass, deep shafts of light illuminate the sandstone in a concert of unreal colours. For the first time we photographed at night in the canyon and this realm takes on a new meaning. The crowds are gone, and darkness and quietness dominate the moment. Incredibly, we had thunderstorms in the horizon but the sky above us was star-studded. Faint points of light adorn the ceiling. Is this the “Navajo Sistine Chapel”? For sure we are standing in the vowels of this millenary land and we can hear its heart beating hard.
It is always a blessing being in these places when no one is there, out of the 6 billions inhabitants of this planet we are the only ones, the anointed, the selected few that can witness greatness and wonder at nature’s magnificence.
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