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Utah Vacation 15B + 1

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owenn01 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote owenn01 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Utah Vacation 15B + 1
    Posted: 20 April 2019 at 19:04
After a wonderful sunrise (and a hearty breakfast!) we readied ourselves for the Monument Valley Loop Road in our SUV. Our reservations were allayed somewhat by seeing others taking oj this route in much less (to my eyes anyway) 'suitable' vehicles, but we didn't need to worry. Other than keeping clear of the tour buses, we had a great time and managed to stop off at all sorts of places along the way (paying attention to being clear of traffic and not disturbing the environment) to take in this amazing place.

It is one of the more daunting places to go and try and take images in; it is almost overwhelming in terms of scale and grandeur (and has at least one or two aspects that I found less than endearing if I'm honest - more of which when I get to them), but I hope the following give a small impression of what awaits a visitor there.

1.First Mitten



2. The Three Sisters



3. From John Ford Point



4. John Ford Point II



5. Buttes in Formation



6. Butte's A-Plenty



7. Formation And Sage Brush



8. Cliff and Butte



9. Cliffs and Yucca



10. Column



11. A Western Vista



12. Towards Totem Pole



And this is, roughly, halfway so we'll stop here awhile and take in the view and the, by now, almost tranquility of the location (as many don't go past the John Ford Point Overlook I'm rather pleased to say!)

Oh. Sorry: what's that? Where's the colour...? Well, I thought by now you'd have wanted a break from all that orange and blue and, as the area is so synonymous with the B&W Western, I thought I'd have a go at presenting this "Old Fashioned Style". I do hope you like them (and with a second half to come). I will post some of the colour versions in due course.

Thanks for looking at these and comments/views always welcomed and encouraged.

Best regards, Neil.

Edited by owenn01 - 20 April 2019 at 23:13
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Roger Rex View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Roger Rex Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 April 2019 at 19:22
The contrast colors typical of the area are truly hard to resist but I enjoy these black and whites as well because they seem to reflect the tone/mood when I first saw scenes like this in U.S. western movies (a la John Ford). " ... and has at least one or two aspects that I found less than endearing if I'm honest ..." I have absolutely no idea to what you refer and look forward to the story behind this.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote waleskeg Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 April 2019 at 19:22
The B&W is very effective, would love to see color too.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Fred_S Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 April 2019 at 20:05
Works well in BW indeed and as you say, it is a nice variation from your colourful series, although nothing is wrong with them.
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C_N_RED_AGAIN View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote C_N_RED_AGAIN Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 April 2019 at 22:44
I prefer my scapes to be in color and yours were great. No need to change!
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owenn01 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote owenn01 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 April 2019 at 23:11
Okay, okay I get the message...!

13. Buttes and Mittens - The Alternative View



And, to expand on the 'questionable' part mentioned initially. I know that the Navajo have a need to generate income, but the way in which that is achieved sometimes makes one wonder if they truly understand that many of us find this at odds with the special place that it is to them:

14. Jewellery Stands



And, possibly the one that we found the most questionable was at the John Ford Point:

15. Never Ending Stream



The ultimate goal was the Horse at the end of the point. Now; my wife thought this was a 'false' horse placed there to have one's photo taken mounted upon. It was stock still; no foot movement, not a twitch - hence she thought it was a staged prop. Until I pointed out it moved it's head slightly after one rather large lady got off it. I have never, ever, seen an animal stay that still for so long; one has to respect the training that it clearly has undergone but, in 95F heat and full sun, we left there after quite a whole feeling just a little uncomfortable in what we saw that morning. Oh; and if you wanted your picture taken it was, I think, 10USD. if you wanted to stand join front of the horse - 5USD. if you wanted to wear the hat of the Navajo in attendance - that'll be a Dollar thank you.

16. Static Horse, John Ford Point




I may revert to 'normal' for the second half; let's see.

Thanks again and best regards, Neil.

edit - var. typo's.

Edited by owenn01 - 21 April 2019 at 05:59
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Post Options Post Options   Quote maewpa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 April 2019 at 06:16
It is really hard to go back to the B&W after the colour! I fear mixing was an error.

I do want you to do some B&W though. Both John Ford point shots are great but personally I am not sure that the darkness of both sky and much of the rock works very well. The column shot is what I like in terms of B&W... nice contrast.

Lovely compositions - you're clearly in the groove now.

Good behind the scenes stuff - good idea to have the person in the red shirt in both shots. Seems some of the Navajo know what the people want.... sigh
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Post Options Post Options   Quote owenn01 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 April 2019 at 06:34
Thanks, Paul - I suspect I had also become a little too 'set in the way' of posting just the impactful colours from here that B&W, whilst processing these images, go the better of me! A mental note for the future perhaps....

The problem with any conversions from here is that the colours and lighting is so strong that you do have 'push' the conversions quite a bit to retain detail and contrast - especially with the skies. In colour the deep blue of the sky and the strong colours of the stone faces don't seem to be an issue but once you get into the B&W conversion (I've been using the Channel Mixer option on PS) then they can compete quite a bit for the same tonal 'range'. Personally, I'm happy with these as they are reminiscent (in B&W anyway) of our time there and there are a couple of shots coming up that I think would make quite nice prints if done carefully.

But - for the moment, I think the next set will be mostly colour to maintain the 'theme' of this series!

Thanks again and best regards, Neil.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Roger Rex Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 April 2019 at 11:30
Originally posted by owenn01 owenn01 wrote:

... then they can compete quite a bit for the same tonal 'range'.


Precisely, so for those who want high contrast in their black and white images then it is necessary to have side (see #12) or back lighting to create deep shadows. However, not all of us for all scenes, especially grand landscapes need/want high contrast to render wonderful, creamy black and white images that emphasize a softer look.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote MichelvA Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 April 2019 at 08:17
Great series .. again. Looking at the b&w's first i agree with your comment that it's something different. I like 'em, it makes the scenes look like they ware taken on a different planet. The tones, contrast, etc was perfect for me. arriving at the colored ones made me smile again. Love the added text that tells the story behind it. The fact that indians want to make a buck, i fully understand this as after all people come to see their land..
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Post Options Post Options   Quote wesleysa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 April 2019 at 21:59
Lovely series, I haven't looked through all of the threads but have seen enough to ponder considering a visit to the region. I was driven through the area by my parents as a 7-8 year old so some parts of your own journey look 'familiar'.

I actually was moved to comment on the B&Ws over the colours! Personal preference I suppose. The images for me don't lose anything in drama for losing their colour.

Indeed a shame about the questionable income generating practices though!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote momech Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 April 2019 at 22:31
A quick note about the Navajo.
If you visit, please remember this isn't just a park - it's their home. The last time I was there a number of them still had homes in the tour area. I saw people pushing cameras through their windows to capture inside images, walking over graves in their cemeteries, etc. It's the same in other areas even if they are part of our National Park System.
The guy charging for horse back shots quite likely had his fill of photogs shooing images of his "picturesque" hogan and corrals.    
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Post Options Post Options   Quote owenn01 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 April 2019 at 09:31
Hi Roy - Many thanks for the feedback and comments. And, of course, you are absolutely correct in what you say - I like to feel that we (my wife and I) pay particular respect to local customs and especially the fact that we are being allowed on what is, to the Navajo Nation, land that is so special and sacred to them; burial sites, especially, have a given place in their system that we should always be aware of where we go and what we are walking through (the same with the ecosystems as I mentioned in previous posts).

I think what caused me and my wife to have the thoughts mentioned above was the more blatant use of the Navajo name to drive income in a way that, perhaps, didn't reflect the way that they wished to be treated themselves? I'm not saying it's altogether wrong, but it just seemed an odd balance at times. And yes; the photographing of a coral and horses is a good point - but this is 'just' a guy and one horse at the most commercial part of the loop road and that was not comfortable for us at least.

BTW - whilst I am on this particular subject, one other thing people need to be aware of. On the run down to Monument Valley along 163 for the last half a dozen miles approaching from Mexican Hat, don't even think of stepping off the highway. Yes; there is the fence to indicate it is Navajo land; not an issue whatsoever. What is, is the sea of broken glass from bottles in the scrub leading off the road. It was certainly a shock to see that extent of debris and I've no idea whether it is deliberately there to deter people from wandering off the road or just as a simple 'discard' pile as there is no alcohol allowed at the Monument Valley site.

Slightly off the main these of the images but, in some ways, good that photographs can spark a conversation on wider subjects.

Thanks again and best regards, Neil.
My Mantra: "Comment on other's work as you would wish to have yours commented upon". Go on - it's fun!
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