3d pan white

94 seconds to Nirvana

Agathla Peak, revisited.


So named By the Navajo, this peak stands as an introduction to Monument Valley on state highway 163 from Page, AZ or Kayenta, UT. Since it is so accessible and basically in an open field, that makes it a perfect subject at over 1500 feet tall on the already striking 8000 foot Southern Colorado Plateau floor. Because it is just a ‘side off the road’ type stop, it is completely peaceful and it has become one of our favorite stops.


One of the short discussions I had with Scott on this trip was how Photography is a lot like Golf. It only takes that one dead-on shot to fuel the quest to continue playing through what-ever comes your way.


This would be my 8 iron from 150 yards into a cross breeze, that bounces off the pin and settles safely a few feet from the cup!


We had not been quite as lucky with Monument valley, even though many ‘stars’ were due to align. We had figured that the near full moon was all set to rise, squarely over or between the Mittens. Who could ask for more? Well, how about a clear eastern sky. Well that was the only part of the sky with clouds! Just to top it off, we had no idea that Merritt Butte goes into shadows about 45 minutes before the mittens and the rest of the valley, this time of year.


Once again as happened last year the clouds that hurt us at Monument Valley, became an asset to Agathla under Full Moon light. This is my 4th long exposure upon arriving after dark and after a 300 yard walk across the pasture. From last year I knew the moving clouds really made the shot and from our earlier stop during day light I knew this off road track was out here. I pretty much made a b-line to align the two for this shot (foreground and background) while MumbleyJoe, LionTX and Scott took in more direct Moonlight from the near the roadside. Even still, I could not predict just how dramatic the long exposure shot on these clouds would appear. They were not moving very quickly and of course you just don’t get this same look, by being there.


90 seconds seemed to a sweet spot for the full moon light from what was at little more than a 90 degree angle for me. Once I saw this on the D90’s awesome 3 inch LCD I packed my gear and went back to the car. We did drive up the side road another half mile for a different angle and I will post that shot another day.


View this Full Size , to see the faint airline trail across in the sky to the left of the peak.

and on that note, coming soon, is a long exposure shot where I captured a shooting star, over Zion.




ISO200 | f6.3 | 14mm | 94.8 Seconds | Full Moon light


From the 2009 Southwest Photo Tour


* * Many Thanks for the all the comments and such, which resulted I a Top 30 13 '7' on Explorer! ** Woot a brief front page appearance! kinda cool!


I have made a print available in my Imagekind gallery, see my profile for a link.

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Taken on February 6, 2009