Canyon de Chelly – Sliding House Overlook (Arizona)

The Canyon de Chelly is the lesser know National Monument in eastern Arizona, not far from New Mexico border. It located away from traditional tourist routes of Arizona and Utah, and as a result, it gets less attention.

When I was planning my Southwest driving trip, I made sure I had enough time to visit the Canyon de Chelly on my way from the Grand Canyon to the Monument Valley.

Even though the Canyon de Chelly residents on Navajo land it is managed by National Park services and as a result has less tribal restrictions. You still can hike down the canyon, in some places, without permits and guides and there are no entry fees.

What different about the Canyon de Chelly is people populate it and you can see the houses, the cars and dirt roads from the rim of the canyon. They look like parts of a miniature picture from the top.

Canyon de Chelly – Sliding House Overlook (Arizona) 1
Arizona. Utah
Loc: 36.116474, -109.437430


When you shoot from the top of the canyon aiming down, it is always a challenge to find the spot where the rim of the canyon does not obstruct the scene below. I had to ditch my tripod and shoot handheld, so I have more freedom for choosing the position. And I still ended up with the edge of the canyon in the frame.

Camera: Sony s6000
Lens: Sony 16-70mm
Focal Length: 16mm
Shooting Mode: Aperture Priority (A)
ISO: 100
Aperture: F8
Shutter Speed: 1/250s
Tripod: handheld

Editing & Processing

It was a simple and uncomplicated a single RAW processing workflow.

Lightroom (90%)

First, I needed to fix the vertical perspective. I was shooting from above and as the result, I had a very strong case of perspective distortion. I used the Transform Panel to fix it.

I used the Crop Overlay tool to crop out the edge of the canyon from the bottom left corner. I also made the composition tighter by reducing the impact of the empty sky.

I used the process I outlined in the article: How to Straighten a Photo in Lightroom.

Next, I used the Natural preset from my Landscape Preset Collection as the base for Lightroom Rapid Editing. Then I used TOOLKIT to boost the Contrast and the Clarity.

The Lightroom Preset Editing Formula: Point Lobos (10, 13, 17, 31)

Photoshop (10%)

In Photoshop, all I had to do was to boost the details and reduce the noise.
PluginsDeNoise (noise reduction), Topaz Detail (local contrast boost).

Total Time: 10min

Before & After Transformation

by Viktor Elizarov
I am a travel photographer and educator from Montreal, Canada, and a founder of PhotoTraces. I travel around the world and share my experiences here. Feel free to check my Travel Portfolio and download Free Lightroom Presets.

2 thoughts on “Canyon de Chelly – Sliding House Overlook (Arizona)”

  1. Um. Arizona doesn’t share a border with Texas; New Mexico is the border state east of Arizona.

    • Marc,
      you are absolutely right, it should say New Mexico. Thanks for letting me know.


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