Monument Valley, USA

My travels through the USA lead me to Monument Valley on the border of Arizona and Utah.   This region is occupied by the Navajo people and their influence can be seen with housing in,  in some cases,  close proximity to the monumental rock features for which the area is famous.

The value of foreground interest.

I've posted the first two images apart from anything else because they illustrate a useful point regards composition in landscape photography.    Each image was made with wide-angle lenses taking advantage of their extended depth of field characteristics.   As important as the main subject (the rock formations) are,  the inclusion of interesting foreground detail is important.   The inclusion of both foreground and background subject matter adds to the depth or 3 dimensionality of the image.

Monument Valley, USA The value of interesting foreground in a landscape image. The rock formations are impressive but the foreground tree gives a sense of depth to the image.
the three sisters The Three Sisters, Monument Valley. Again the use of foreground detail, in this case repeating shadows.

Finding the right angle, an exercise in problem-solving.

I recall a noted landscape photographer years ago espousing the value of finding a high position when composing a landscape photograph.   His advice was that by raising the camera position even just a small amount it was often possible to improve composition by looking over distractions close to the camera and potentially improving the relationship between foreground and background subject matter.  To that end, he would take a step ladder with him into the field and frequently positioned himself and his camera 2 or 3 rungs up.   A fine idea but not entirely practical when travelling abroad to take a ladder with you!

In the case of the 2 following images,  I liked the first image with the gnarly bush in the foreground but wondered if the photo might look better with a higher camera angle.   Apart from anything else,  a higher camera angle would place the bush lower in the frame and avoid it intersecting with the line of the rock formation in the background.    The problem,  how to get the camera higher,  no ladder, no possibility of standing on the roof of my hire car!

Problem solved!   The light levels at this time were strong enough that the camera could be used handheld even though I had the camera mounted on the tripod at this time.    I knew the composition,  the framing,  that I wanted and so activated live view on the rear of the camera,  put the camera on 10-second self-timer,  put the tripod legs together and held the tripod and attached camera aloft to get the height I needed.   It took some trial and error and several attempts but finally, I got the image I wanted.   In this age of selfie sticks,  the same effect might be achieved by putting a lightweight camera or,  dare I say it, a mobile phone on a stick and raising it.   Another prospect in this age would be wi-fi connectivity from camera to mobile device to provide an easily accessed live view to aid in composing the shot.

sunrise monument valley As was the case with the first 2 images, wide-angle lens, great depth of field and find an interesting foreground. This image was taken immediately after sunrise. The Left Mitten with desert vegetation.
monochrome desert Taken at the same location as the previous image but from a higher point of view. The subject matter lends itself nicely to a monochrome treatment.

These images and more are part of the USA 2018 gallery.