Morning in the Valley of the Gods (Utah)

The Valley of the Gods is often called mini Monument Valley. But I find it to be a much friendlier photography destination.

First of all, there are no tribal restrictions in the Valley of the Gods and you are free to explore it any way you want. Second, it is located on a public land, and it means you can choose the most scenic location and camp there, without any permits or fees. And finally, there is no crowds and no tourist buses. It is always empty.

And since it is only 50km from the Monument Valley you still can see the famous buttes and mesas in the distance.

Morning in the Valley of the Gods (Utah) 1


It was difficult to take a wide shot of the valley from the side of the road. I had to climb to a small hill and set up my tripod on top. The views in every direction were absolutely breathtaking.

  • Camera: Sony s6000
  • Lens: Sony 16-70mm
  • Focal Length: 70mm
  • Shooting Mode: Aperture Priority (A)
  • ISO: 100
  • Aperture: F/10
  • Shutter Speed: 1/80s
  • Tripod: FEISOL Tournament CT-3442

Editing & Processing

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

Lightroom (90%)

First, I used the Crop Overlay tool to improve the composition, making it a bit tighter but without changing the aspect ratio.

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 (9, 13, 16, 32)

Photoshop (10%)

First, I used the Stamp Tool to “erase” the camper van on the right side. Next, I boosted the details and reduced 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.

1 thought on “Morning in the Valley of the Gods (Utah)”

  1. wonderful shot! I am planing to go to Utah in april; was this just a place you came across while driving or is it in one of the parks


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