Every time I wanted to set up at an interesting spot, I had to deal not only with the 105° temperature, but the dust clouds kicked up by passing cars and all the jokers jumping out to strike silly poses against the landscape as their friends or family took snaps. Everyone has the right to enjoy as they see fit, but it just kills the aura of the location if you know what I mean. Maybe I'm spoiled or a bit selfish, but I often manage to find myself alone and at peace with the environment in places like this, and I definitely picked the wrong season this time. I thought I was totally wasting my time, but as is often the case, surprising things happen if you just stick it out to the end.
I often say that I like photographs that resemble a painting.. I think this one qualifies. As the sun gets low, the rich colors of the red earth come to life in a way that you just will never experience at mid-day here in the desert. The crowds thin out, heading off for drinks and dinner, the temperature cools a bit and maybe even the sky which was mostly clear blue for much of the day starts to cooperate.
Check out the SkyWatch homepage for more great sky oriented scenery from all over the world.
You could not guess in what a fantastic place I am. I sit in the shade of an ancient, dying juniper tree, cushioned on my Navajo saddle blankets. On all sides, the burning sun beats down on silent, empty desert. To right and left, long walls of sandstone mesas reach away into the distance, the shadows in their fluted clefts the color of claret. Before me, the desert drops sheer away into a vast valley, in which strangely eroded buttes of all delicate shadings of vermilion, orange and purple, tower into a cloudless turquoise sky.
-Everett Ruess, June, 1934 (age 20) writing from Monument Valley.