"Monument Valley Panorama at Dawn"
March 2012, Monument Valley, Arizona
Monument Valley is not close to anything. Unless you stay in the valley itself, you had better be prepared to drive a distance to get that sunrise shot you've been dreaming about. I had to drive an hour from my motel in Blanding, Utah to shoot this image. Because I intended to shoot this scene at dawn, about 20 minutes before sunrise, it meant that I would once again have to set my alarm for 4:00am.
Those rural roads in Utah are absolutely pitch black at night, making the drive more difficult than you might think. However, once you arrive on scene just before dawn, it is so worth it. Simply break out the hot thermos of coffee, stand outside your car, and feel the warm desert breeze against your face as the first splashes of color appear in the eastern sky. It doesn't get any better than that.