Monument Valley Summary - Branson Reynolds Photography

Workshop Details

Monument Valley & Canyon de Chelly National Monument

5 Days October 26 - November 1, 2014


Branson Reynolds

683 Trew Creek Rd.

Durango, CO 81301


Monument Valley & Canyon de Chelly National Monument

October 26-November 1, 2014

Monument Valley is a vast open basin on the northern edge of the Navajo Nation. Bordered on the north by the twisting canyons of the San Juan River, on the east by the undulating folds of Comb Ridge, on the west by the rounded dome of the sacred Navajo Mountain, and on the south by the 1,200 ft. volcanic spire of Agathla, the "Center of the Universe" to the Navajo.

This is a region of desolate and austere beauty. Here, the towering mesas, buttes, and spires of rust colored De Chelly sandstone meet the unobstructed radiance of the morning sun and it's last fading rays as it sinks into the western canyons, creating a surreal radiance that those unfamiliar with the western light find hard to believe. It is truly a land of monuments in a monumental land. We'll be out each morning at sunrise as the western light moves across the land. And we'll be back again as the late afternoon light creates even more intense color. In between we'll visit the old Navajo trading post of Oljeto (The Place of Moonlight Water), and the historic Monument Valley Trading Post and museum, both of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

If time allows we'll experience the breathtaking views from Muley Point, and wander among the spires and buttes in the Valley of the Gods. Unlike the monuments rising high above the land in the great valley to the north, the thousand foot cliffs of Canyon de Chelly and Canyon del Muerto, draining the Chuska Mountains to the east, carve deep gashes into this high desert land. Here the low angle of the late October sun casts constantly changing shadows over the cliffs and through the winding canyons cut by the sparkling waters of Chinle Wash.

Unlike the treeless landscape of Monument Valley, the canyon depths are filled with ancient cottonwoods whose golden autumn leaves blend easily into the warm colors of the sandstone canyons. It was in these canyons that the Navajo sought refuge from the Spanish and marauding Comanche from beyond the eastern mountains, and the rock art and ancient ruins from these times as well as from the earlier occupation by the Anasazi, the "Ancient Ones", are abundant.

In both Monument Valley and Canyon de Chelly we will plan photo sessions with the Navajo people dressed in traditional clothing. So join us for a week of fun, exciting photography, and an immersion into native lands and culture.