Note: some images may be missing due to a loss in the database on my older server. Sorry!


TSE II AHI – ‘We walk in Beauty’ in Navajo. After just two hours at Monument Valley, this saying I had seen on a road sign along the way surely resonated with me. I had been driving for hours through beautiful red-rock country even before arriving at Monument Valley.

I had earlier today posted a picture through the rainy window of my car on Facebook, bummed that I was going to get rained out of this part of the state and couldn’t wait around as I had to get to Telluride. I really didn’t think that I was going to get a break, with the forecast I was hearing. But it’s the desert and a lot can change in a large expanse of area around here, and heck, I was on my way past Monument Valley anyway,  so I headed there and hoped for the best. By the time I arrived, the storms were scattered cells, and first there was the rainbow and great clouds over the buttes, then there was a long spell of ‘almost there’ images towards sunset, and then the chance was lost to another cloud bank that rolled in. I used my polarizing filter to enhance the rainbow’s colors, but no special effects otherwise. It was the night before a full moon and I knew that it was out there so I waited to see if possibly it would break up enough to see it. Unfortunately by the time we saw the moon, it was pretty high and the light balance was too extreme. I waited for clouds to pass over it to lower the contrast, and I actually didn’t blow the highlights (or at least they were recoverable), but it’s still a brighter orb than I’d like. Still, I really like the mood of the scene. I was pretty happy with just those two scenes, and drove over to set up ‘camp’ for the night in the RV parking lot in the park. That’s when the thunderstorms began to the west – and then they rolled intensely over us, shaking the car with the wind and pouring down rain and non-stop flashing! I tried to get a picture of it while inside the car, mounted on my tripod still, but it was too rainy and pretty risky. When it passed to the east, and it was safe, I managed to capture an incredible light show over the two mittens and the other formation. 75 second exposures on bulb ensured I was going to get some flashes, even if not bolts. There was a tremendous amount of cloud flashing, so I felt very lucky to have three images with bolts. All in all it was an incredible 2 1/2 hours. Now, the temps have dropped, the winds are up, and it’s not over yet – forecast is for more storms tonight – and clear/sunny in the morning. Hopefully in time for sunrise!

Lightning over Monument Valley, Utah.



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