Monument Valley: A Room with a View (Part I); Using the Phase One P65+ and Sensor+

Whew!  It has been nearly a week since my trip to Monument Valley and Canyon de Chelly, and I finally got the time to review and process some of the nearly fifty gigabytes of landscape images I took with my Phase 645AF and Phase One P65+ digital back.    Monument Valley borders Utah and Arizona and offers spectacular views of canyons, buttes, and stunning rock formations.  It really is one of the scenic wonders of the world.  I stayed at the newly opened View Hotel, which is the only hotel located inside of the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park.  The View Hotel is not a five-star hotel in the same vein as a Ritz-Carleton, but it is a firmly seated four-star hotel, nicely appointed, and with amenities that stand out in this barren environment as much as the beautiful view of the Mittens that is outside each room of the hotel!   Stunning.

Monument Valley Sunset Panorama. Phase 645AF and Phase One P65+, Mamiya 75-150

Monument Valley Sunset Panorama. Phase 645AF and Phase One P65+, Mamiya 75-150

It was cold, but with the Mittens and Merrick Butte right outside my room—this was just going to be too easy, or so I thought.  And then the snow storm hit.  Murphy’s Law had struck.  And Murphy was an optimist.   It actually took me several attempts over several days before I had the right conditions to create the panoramic image  that I had envisioned.  (See the preview blog photo of the small snow storm below—still pretty neat).  Bone-chilling sunrise is probably the best time to shoot in Monument Valley, followed by sunset.  And the wind!  The wind just wouldn’t stop, which made things even more difficult.

John Ford's Point.  Phase P65+ and Hartblei 45mm t/s

John Ford's Point. Phase P65+ and Hartblei 45mm t/s

John Ford's Point Panorama.  Phae P65+ and Mamiya 75-150mm.

John Ford's Point Panorama. Phase P65+ and Mamiya 75-150mm.

John Ford’s Point is probably one of my favorite locations—right out of the movies!  Although the self-guided valley trail is fairly easily navigated, access to the more remote areas of Monument Valley is restricted and you must have a Navajo guide.  I was lucky to have Tom Phillips as my guide for a photographer’s tour.  Tom is an experienced photographer and is highly recommended.  His website is, www.monumentvalley.com  There are many must-see areas that are not accessible except with a Navajo guide.

Totem Pole and Yei Bi Chei at sunrise

Totem Pole and Yei Bi Chei at sunrise

Valley View

Valley View

Ear of the Canyon. Phase On P65+ and Hartblei 45mm t/s
Ear of the Canyon.  Phase One P65+ and Hartblei 45mm t/s
Petroglyphs (rock art), ancient ruins and cliff dwellings are also found deep within Monument Valley.
Monument Valley Sunrise Panorama. Phase P65+ and Mamiya 75-150mm

Monument Valley Sunrise Panorama. Phase P65+ and Mamiya 75-150mm

I am extremely pleased with the Phase P65+ medium format digital back.  There is a bit of a learning curve to handling this digital back, unlike the rather simple transitions I had experienced with the Kodak Proback 645M, the Phase P30, and the Phase P45+.  Medium format digital photography has always been the pinnacle of image excellence.  With proper technique, the Phase One P65+ demands attention and takes the pursuit of excellence one step further yet.  Again, I am extremely grateful to Chris Lawery of Capture Integration in Atlanta, for his great efforts in getting the P65+ to me in time for this trip.

I will update my landscape website, House of Landscapes, with more images from my recent trip shortly.  In the meantime, I will also be processing more images from my trip to Canyon de Chelly in Part II of this blog installment, including images using Sensor+, a hidden slot canyon in Canyon de Chelly, and further impressions on using the P65+.   kmd

Addendum:  Those interested in reading more about medium format digital can find more of my blog entries here and also at: http://www.captureintegration.com/2009/03/11/capture-integration-brings-the-p65-to-carmel/

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