MONUMENT VALLEY ADVENTURE
There is nothing like watching the morning sun paint the desert sky. The colors are absolutely stunning! Now imagine yourself there with Neil taking, “Your Perfect Picture” of this amazing scene. Space is limited so BOOK NOW for this once in a lifetime experience.
Want to Learn how to take your PERFECT picture and run your camera? Then join Neil Eschenfelder in Monument Valley, Utah on October 22nd thru 25th for Neil’s Great Photography Adventure! Monument Valley is one of the most iconic places of the American West. And you’ll be able to experience it as few others have on this exciting adventure.
Hello, I’m Neil Eschenfelder. And I love teaching beginning photographers how to shoot their perfect picture as well as seasoned veterans polish their skills. So no matter where you are at with your photography, I CAN HELP YOU improve your skills. Call me. Email. Let me know how I can help you. And sign up for my FREE Newsletter. Neil’s Great Photography Adventure and Mentoring and let me help you learn how to take your perfect pictures. Contact Me Now!
Check into lodging at Goulding’s, camping, etc. Be advised, agencies operating Monument Valley allow no free entrance to Monument Valley or parking. Cars with several (up to 4) occupants may purchase 1 entry ticket for $20 to Monument Valley good for 4 days of park entrance. If larger groups come in one vehicle together, each person must pay their individual $6 per person entrance fee. I suggest purchasing your Monument Valley parking pass this afternoon before 5:00 PM which will be good for your remaining time on our tour. We’ll have a short orientation meeting in Goulding’s convention center beginning at 7:00 PM, Thursday evening, October 22nd.
Gather at “The View,” Hotel parking lot 6:00 AM.
This shoot lasts about 4.5 hours.
Want to work on your HDR shooting techniques? Want new sunrise photo opportunities capturing Monument Valley’s peace & tranquility? This is a great time to do it. We’ll start at one of Monument Valley’s most famous landmarks, The Totem Pole. Trace our sun’s arc across iconic western landscapes. Create unforgettable photographs as it creates fantastic shadows & silhouettes across red sand ripples & dunes. We’ll shoot sunrise for about 90 minutes or so. Following sunrise, several Monument Valley area great native dancers join us, adding their color and majesty to that of Monument Valley’s. Look for great dance movement & poses. You’ll take photos of brilliantly colored ceremonial dance costumes you’ll be proud to share. Watch the magic of one of the world’s 10 best Hoop dancers. Following our sunrise and dance photos, we’ll explore our way into Monument Valley’s back canyons such as Eye of the Sun for Arch and additional landscape photos. We’ll make our way back to Goulding’s for breakfast by about 11:00 AM.
Reconvene at “The View,” 1:00 PM For Hunt’s Mesa departure. This shoot lasts about 8 hours.
Be prepared for one of Utah and the entire western US’ most breathtaking views. Departing Monument Valley parking lot 1:30 PM, we embark upon or cross-country adventure. The term, “road,” only loosely defines our route. Make sure you get a good seat in the vehicles because you’ll want hold on tight as we climb. Once arriving at our destination, gaze down at Monument Valley & environs from high atop red rock cliffs, seeing the valley from points experienced by few others. Our plateau vantage point trip ranks high for adrenalin (one passage takes us along a 300-foot drop) as we choose photo sites depending on group interest. We stay until nearly sunset. Since we provide our own food and water (our guides will have coolers for us) be sure to bring along sufficient supply. At our shoot’s end we descend back to our base for great tales, great food and much needed rest prior to our 6 AM Saturday morning departure for Lower Monument Valley’s sunrise. Since we likely arrive back at our hotel after 9:00 PM, you’ll want to have food you can prepare at your room. Our Goulding’s Lodge Hillside Suites have their own kitchens including refrigerators and microwave ovens so heating your dinner will be a breeze.
Meet at The View parking lot for Sunrise #2 at Artist’s Point.
This shoot lasts about 3.5 hours.
We’ll experience subtle light changes from magenta to mauve to gold as our sunrise progresses. We can shoot from the parking lot or choose a lower vantage point for more butte separation. After our sunrise evolves to broad daylight, we’ll venture to Big Hogan Arch and after Ear of the Wind Arch. We’ll explore further into restricted back country as we seek out petroglyphs created by ancient Monument Valley dwellers. As our early morning closes, we’ll go back to our hotel rooms and breakfast as we prepare for our afternoon. Charge batteries, download photos
Gather at The View parking lot October 24th at 1:00 PM for Teardrop Arch and lunch with Peter McDonald.
We’ll embark on our afternoon by driving to the Teardrop Arch trailhead. After a short walk, Teardrop Arch makes a great test of your exposure skills as you observe Monument Valley formations through this unique geological feature. Work on your HDR techniques by balancing shadowed Teardrop Arch with brightly illuminated Monument Valley scenery as a backdrop. Once finished we make our way toward our encounter with Peter McDonald. Our guides serve us a traditional Navajo lunch among red rock features on Monument Valley’s floor as Peter McDonald details Code Talker origins along with his and others’ experiences. Always compelling and truly inspiring, Peter is, at the time of this writing, one of only 5 remaining from more than 400 Code Talkers credited with securing American victories during World War II Pacific campaigns. We’ll have time for photos with Peter before we head for our sunset shooting session at The Mittens.
Watch as the sun casts shadows across the desert landscape, casting beautiful shadows across East and West Mittens as well as Merrick Butte. Shoot as night settles into Monument Valley and darkness chases remaining subtle daylight from cliffs and canyons. Head back to our hotel for dinner and prep for our Star Shots
Saturday October 24th, 9:00 PM.
Meet at The View parking lot.
We’ll join our great guides for the last time as we make our way over to The Totem Pole to make our nigh-time galaxy and star shots with The Totem Pole & Yei Be Chai Spires as our foreground. We’ll help you set up your long exposures to take advantage of Monument Valley’s truly dark skies. Whether you like broader starscapes or narrower views with red rock features as key elements, you’ll have a great time. While shooting you’ll enjoy Monument Valley’s exquisite silent nighttime majesty. This will wrap up our official Monument Valley schedule. Return to our hotel rooms and prepare for our morning departure for home.
We have no guide service Sunday morning. This self guided tour portion allows individuals and groups to decide how and when they’d like to shoot their final morning at Monument Valley. Try early sunrises by “The View,” camp ground. Explore areas on the public loop. Do walking tours beginning right in front of The View Hotel and hike ’til you drop. This is a great tour wind up so shoot long and shoot often. For those interested, we’ll arrange our Sunday morning group departure to include a stop at Goosenecks of the San Juan state park. It’s right on the way home. Make a short detour for an hour or so and take in erosion’s handiwork sculpting stunningly graceful river meanders through Utah’s desert landscape. This is an excellent place to work on exposure skills rendering scenes of landscape bright sun and canyon deep shadows.
Food and water on the trail as well as daily breakfast lunch (except Saturday’s with Peter McDonald) and dinner are your responsibility. Goulding’s offers good food at reasonable prices. Our cabin rooms provide small refrigerators for any food you’d like to bring with you. Our guides provide coolers for time out on the trail. Our guides do a great job and our Navajo residents are very gracious with their time. All tips are included with your trip price.
Monument Valley weather varies greatly so pack clothes for warmth as well as cooler clothes if weather heats up. Dress in layers. Monument Valley can prove very windy, so hats, gloves and windbreakers are a good idea. Precipitation offers up great shooting possibilities as well as conditions of shooting in mud so bring appropriate sturdy footwear though rain is unlikely. We face quite cool early morning photo conditions & for any later evening shots as well as our star shots.
We encourage participation by photographers of all skill levels. For those wishing to enjoy shooting in peace at one of the West’s best locations, you may do so. If you seek instruction on your very first photo safari, you’ll have a great time as we offer guidance specific to each location. Other than our first night orientation we have no group meetings or evaluations on the trip. As always on an NGPA trip, though, we’ll have enough expertise along to answer your photo questions any time. We will, however, run a group Google Drive folder for several weeks following our trip where each photographer submits their best images for show and discussion.
* Navajo Parks & Recreation rules forbid selling images taken at their parks unless you have their permission. Please do not attempt selling your images of Navajo Parks without permission.
Times and shooting order listed here are preliminary. NGPA reserves the right to rearrange shoot times & locations.
Food and Water
Food and water on the trail as well as daily breakfast lunch and dinner are your responsibility. You’ll need to take trail friendly food and water with you on our Hunt’s Mesa excursion. It’s a good idea to bring food & water along for our Saturday evening after our Peter McDonald lunch time as we may not have time for restaurant or other breaks once we depart at 1:00PM. Since we’ll finish our Star Shots about 10:30 PM or so, our hotel restaurant likely will be closed by the time we get back. For other meals during our stay, Goulding’s Stagecoach Restaurant offers decent food at reasonable prices.
Please call me at 801-949-1001 to reserve your spot on Neil's Monument Valley Photography Adventure. Trip reservations as well as room availability will go fast so we recommend making your commitment with us as well as your hotel immediately. Once you reserve your tour & guide package, please call Group Sales at Goulding’s Lodge, (435) 727-3601. They’re holding rooms for us as a group. Please ask for Neil’s Great Photography Adventures’ group. If you have travel partners wishing to join you in Monument Valley but are not interested our tour & guide services, there is no additional cost for them. Monument Valley is a great place to relax and get away from it all while enjoying some reading, knitting, painting, writing or whatever your significant other may enjoy doing!
We encourage participation by photographers of all skill levels. For those wishing to enjoy shooting in peace at one of the West’s best photo environments, you may do so. If you seek instruction or are on your very first photo safari, you’ll have a great time as we offer guidance specific to each location. Other than our first night we’ll have no group meetings or group evaluations on the trip though we’re always available to discuss your images at each photo site or whenever you’d like.
Navajo Parks & Recreation rules forbid selling images taken at their parks unless you have their permission. Please do not attempt selling your images of Navajo Parks without permission.
Monument Valley weather varies greatly so pack clothes for warmth as well as cooler clothes for heat. Dress in layers. Monument Valley, at times, proves very windy so hats, gloves and windbreakers are a good idea. Precipitation offers up great shooting possibilities as well as opportunities for shooting in mud so bring appropriate sturdy footwear. We’ll likely face quite cool night photo conditions for any later evening shots as well as our star shots. Official Monument Valley temperature averages include mid 50 degree days and low 40 to mid 30 degree nights during October.
Come join Neil for a photography adventure of a lifetime!