"Highway 163 Entering Monument Valley"
March 2012, Arizona - Utah Border
Movie aficionados will likely recognize this scene from the film "Forrest Gump". This iconic view of Monument Valley shows Highway 163 as it heads southwest along the Arizona - Utah border. A sunrise shot from this location is something every landscape photographer should have in his or her portfolio.
The problem is that Monument Valley is not close to anything. I had to drive an hour from my motel in Blanding, Utah to shoot the scene. 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.