Monument Valley Open View (Arizona)

Today’s photo features the iconic view of the Monument Valey I witnessed right after entering the Navajo tribal park. I saw this open view of the valley on many photographs before visiting the park, but I still was overwhelmed by the scale of the scene. In real life, it was much larger than I expected.

When I was compositing the shot, I saw a pickup truck driving along the dirt road of the valley in the distance. I decided to wait a couple of minutes until the truck became more recognizable so I could use it as the reference point for my composition.

Monument Valley Open View (Arizona)
Arizona. Monument Valley
Loc: 36.983322, -110.111716


The primary challenge for me was a very strong wind at the top of the hill where I was standing. For better stability, I had to apply some extra pressure to my tripod using my body weight. Also, I had to keep wiping the front of the lens every couple of minutes because of the sand particles in the air.

Camera: Sony s6000
Lens: Sony 16-70mm
Focal Length: 49mm
Shooting Mode: Aperture Priority (A)
ISO: 100
Aperture: F9
Shutter Speed: 1/400s
Tripod: FEISOL Tournament CT-3442

Editing & Processing

It was a a single RAW processing workflow. 

Lightroom (80%)

First, I used the Crop Overlay to straighten up the photograph.

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: Natural (13, 21, 23, 32)

Photoshop (20%)

In Photoshop, all I had to do is to boos the details and apply noise reduction.

Plugins: DeNoise (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.

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