Come To Monument Valley April 21-23, 2017



Lower Monument Valley shakes off its morning mist.

Lower Monument Valley sheds its morning mist.

We'll stay in Goulding's Hillside Suites

We’ll stay in Goulding’s Hillside Suites

Arrival: Thursday, April 20th  Arrive Monument Valley. 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 occupants may purchase 1 entry ticket to Monument Valley good for 4 days of park entrance. If larger groups come in one vehicle together, each person must pay their entrance fee. I suggest purchasing your Monument Valley parking pass this afternoon 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 7:30 PM.

Extra Bonus for This Trip: Great news! Marc Morris, Rocky Mountain representative and photo tech genius from Tamron, Inc., accompanies us in Monument Valley! We’ll hold a brief organizational meeting our first night talking about our shooting rules & regulations. Marc will run through some fun & helpful photo tips and procedures as well as describe lenses he’ll provide for you Canon & Nikon shooters. Plan trying some of Tamron’s fabulous new optics including, for you full frame owners, their stunning 15-30 f2.8 & 24-70 f2.8 image stabilized zooms, new quality standard setting 35mm f1.8 and 45mm f1.8s, 90 macros and others. For cropped sensor shooters look forward to shooting Tamron’s 10-24 & 16-300 as well as Tamron’s full frame lenses listed above. Heavenly shooting in Monument Valley’s paradise!

Striking Totem Pole sunrise awaits us on our early morning photo shoot.

Striking Totem Pole sunrise awaits us.

Day 1 Friday, April 21st: Start Shooting Gather at “The View,” Hotel parking lot 5:15 AM.This shoot lasts about 3.5 hours. Want to work on your HDR shooting techniques? This is a great time to do it. While our exact Lower Monument Valley locations will come later, this part of Monument Valley features some of the park’s most grand locations. Towering walls, wide open spaces, intriguing shadows and wave upon wave of sand dune ripples populate this space. We’ll shoot for approximately 3.5 hours then make our way back to Goulding’s for breakfast by about 9:00 AM



Gather at Goulding’s Main Lodge 10:00 AM. This shoot lasts about 2.5 hours. After a good meal and rest period those interested can head over to Goosenecks of the San Juan State Park at 10:00 AM. Goosenecks State Park offers spectacular views into our distant geologic past. How wide can you go? Can you stitch panoramas? This is a great place to try your skills. Its also an opportunity to try Marc’s very high quality Tamron lenses. We’ll return in time for lunch and Hunt’s Mesa departure.




Reconvene at “The View,” 1:30 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 approximately noon, we stop at several points (Cane’s Valley and Kayenta Valley) along the way for additional shooting opportunities. 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 1000 foot drop) as we choose photo sites depending on group interest. Our guides tell us this is prime time for cactus blossoms on Hunt’s Mesa. We’ll stay through 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.




Day 2: Saturday April 22nd 5:15 AM Depart for Sunrise #2 in Lower Monument Valley  This shoot lasts about 3.5 hours. We meet once again  at “The View,” Hotel parking lot. As with Friday’s departure, our sunrise location will be a game time decision. Among photo sites we’ll visit are Big Hogan Arch and after Ear of the Wind Arch. Following these two locations our guides usually like to shoot Sun’s Eye Arch when the sun is higher in the sky. There are several other places to which our guides like to lead photographic tours, i.e., Pottery Arch, Anasazi Mesa, Moccasin Arch, Hidden Arch, Sleeping Dragon and Big Chief Monument; all areas within restricted back country. After these, our guides usually cover everything on the 17 mile loop such as John Ford’s Point, Mittens East and West, along with Merrick & Mitchell Mesas. Return to lodging for breakfast. You’ll welcome this chance to organize your photos, take a nap, hang out in your room or walk off into the park for solitary imaging opportunities.


Departure 4:30 PM for Mystery Valley afternoon & sunset shooting. This shoot lasts about 3.5 hours. On our Mystery Valley tour we cover all the Anasazi ruins and petroglyph sites though never shooting actual sunset from Mystery Valley due to poor shooting environment. All the Anasazi sites, up to 10 on this tour depending on conditions and timing, are amazing, especially during evening light. We return to Monument Valley Parking Lot where we capture our 6:30 sunset’s red glowing color on East and West Mitten buttes. We occasionally include Tear Drop Arch, accessed via Horse Canyon, to the southwest of Monument Valley High School. Return to lodging for dinner, & recharging.

10:00 PM brings us to our View Hotel & Monument Valley parking lot gathering and departure for our Starlight Photo Express. This shoot lasts about 3 hours. Our guides deliver us to Monument Valley’s very best star shot photo site. Marc Morris enlightens us with his best photo techniques as we create iconic dark sky images inclusive of Monument Valleys distinctive geology.

Sunday Morning April 23rd.  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.

Food and water on the trail as well as daily breakfast lunch and dinner are your responsibility. Goulding’s offers good food at reasonable prices. Their rooms provide small refrigerators. Our guides provide coolers for your time out on the trail. You should bring some cash for tipping our staff. $20 per couple per day is customary. We’ll pool our resources on Saturday afternoon to thank our great guides.

Monument Valley weather varies greatly so pack clothes for warmth as well as cooler clothes for heat. 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 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.



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 we’ll have no group meetings or evaluations on the trip. As always on a Pixels trip, though, we”ll have enough experts along to answer your photo questions any time.  Don’t forget, we have lots of great Tamron glass for you to try as well. We will, however, run a group reunion several weeks following our trip where each photographer submits several best images for show and discussion.



Cost is $880 per person for our tour and guide services. Lodging and food are your responsibility. To reserve your spot on our trip you’ll need to put down $500 on reservation with your balance due by March 21st. We regret we cannot offer any refunds once you make your downpayment. Trip reservations as well as room availability will go fast so we recommend making your commitment with us as well as your hotel immediately. Our tour cost is a net cost so, while we’re happy to take your credit card, we must add 3% for this service. Once you reserve your land package, we’ll direct you to Goulding’s Lodge for your room reservations.

Please plan to attend our Pre Trip meeting here at the store on March 14th, 7:00 PM. Neil will present a slide show covering what you should expect as well as answer any questions you might have. Please call ahead if you plan attending. We need to know how many chairs to put out.

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