MONUMENT VALLEY ADVENTURE
October 13 – 16, 2022
There is nothing like watching the morning sun paint the desert sky. The colors are absolutely stunning! Now imagine yourself there with Neil taking, “Your Perfect Picture” of this amazing scene. Space is limited so BOOK NOW for this once in a lifetime experience.
Want to Learn how to take your PERFECT picture and run your camera? Then join Neil Eschenfelder in Monument Valley, Utah on October 13th thru 16th for Neil’s Great Photography Adventure! Monument Valley is one of the most iconic places of the American West. And you’ll be able to experience it as few others have on this exciting adventure.
Hello, I’m Neil Eschenfelder. And I love teaching beginning photographers how to shoot their perfect picture as well as seasoned veterans polish their skills. So no matter where you are at with your photography, I CAN HELP YOU improve your skills. Call me. Email. Let me know how I can help you. And sign up for my FREE Newsletter. Neil’s Great Photography Adventure and Mentoring and let me help you learn how to take your perfect pictures. Contact Me Now!
Check into lodging at Goulding’s, camping, etc. Be advised, agencies operating Monument Valley allow no free parking. Cars with several (up to 4) occupants may purchase 1 entry ticket for $20 to Monument Valley good for 4 days of park entrance. If larger groups come in one vehicle together, each person must pay their individual $8 per person entrance fee. I suggest purchasing your Monument Valley parking pass this afternoon before 5:00 PM which will be good for your remaining time on our tour. If you don’t make it in time to catch the parking booth, purchase you pass on the way back into the park for our afternoon Hunt’s Mesa trip. We’ll have a short orientation meeting in Goulding’s convention center beginning at 7:00 PM, Thursday evening, October 13th.
Friday, October 14th. Gather at “The View,” Hotel parking lot 6:30 AM.
This shoot lasts about 4.5 hours.
Want to work on your HDR shooting techniques? Want new sunrise (7:28 AM) photo opportunities capturing Monument Valley’s peace & tranquility? We’ll choose our destination based on weather and other conditions. This trip includes Monument Valley public locations as well as restricted back country sites. Choices include Totem Pole, Big Hogan Arch, Ear of the Wind Arch, Artists and Eye of the Sun Arch among other geologic features illuminated by early morning’s most delicate sunlight. Trace our sun’s arc across iconic western landscapes and unusual sand formations. We’ll make our way back to Goulding’s for breakfast by about 11:00 AM.
Reconvene at “The View,” 1:00 PM For Hunt’s Mesa departure. This shoot lasts about 8 hours.
Be prepared for one of Utah and the entire western US’ most breathtaking views. This what previous photographers say is the most unforgettable part of our Monument Valley safari. Departing Monument Valley parking lot 1:00 PM, we embark upon our cross-country adventure. The term, “road,” only loosely defines our route. Make sure you get a good seat in the vehicles because you’ll want hold on tight as we climb. Once arriving at our destination, gaze down at Monument Valley & environs from high atop red rock cliffs, seeing the valley from points experienced by few others. Our plateau vantage point trip ranks high for adrenalin (one passage takes us along a 300-foot drop) as we choose photo sites depending on group interest. We stay until nearly sunset. Since we provide our own food and water (our guides will have coolers for us) be sure to bring along enough snacks to keep yourself going for the afternoon and into the evening. At our shoot’s end we descend back to our base for great tales and much needed rest prior to our 6:30 AM Saturday morning departure for Lower Monument Valley’s sunrise. Since we likely arrive back at our hotel after The Stagecoach restaurant closes at 9:00 PM, you’ll want to tap into your food supply you brought with you to prepare at your room. Our Goulding’s Lodge Hillside Suites have their own kitchens including refrigerators and microwave ovens so heating your dinner will be a breeze.
Saturday, October 15th. Meet at The View parking lot for Sunrise #2 at 6:30am. This shoot lasts about 3.5 hours.
We’ll experience subtle light changes from magenta to mauve to gold as our sunrise (7:20 AM) progresses. Once again, we’ll choose from among several locations based on weather and other considerations. Choices include Totem Pole, Big Hogan Arch, Ear of the Wind Arch, Artists point among others. Following sunrise, we’ll visit Monument Valley residents Helen & Mary Salazar at their ranch between the Valley’s iconic Mitten formations. Photographing Mary & Helen inside their Hogan is a great chance to learn about Navajo life in Monument Valley. Helen & Mary make terrific models, kindly posing for us as they go about daily activities. In addition, we’ll have local Navajo native performers allowing us to photograph in various dance and other poses. Interacting with Navajo is a trip highlight. Following this part of the tour we’ll head back to the hotel to have breakfast, regroup, recharge and download.
Gather at The View parking lot October after breakfast for Mystery Valley tour.
Mystery Valley draws its name from the many early Monument Valley sites & locations in the area. We’ll take in more arches, Anasazi dwellings, petroglyphs and pictographs. Plan on approximately 2 1/2 hours.
Gather at The View parking lot October 15th at 2:30 PM for Teardrop Arch Followed by dinner with WWII Code Talker Peter McDonald.
Teardrop Arch is a very unique feature with the park as a great background. It’s a terrific place to work on exposure control, metering modes and HDR techniques. We’ll spend about an hour here before we transfer to our next site with Peter McDonald. Our guides serve us a traditional Navajo meal among red rock features on Monument Valley’s floor as Peter McDonald details Code Talker origins along with his and others’ experiences. Always compelling and truly inspiring, Peter is, at the time of this writing, one of only 5 remaining from more than 400 Code Talkers credited with securing American victories during World War II Pacific campaigns. Following dinner with Peter we’ll have time to photograph Native American Hoop Dancers as they perform their amazing artistry in exquisite native costumes. Dancers from this troupe are rated among the best in the world so be prepared for some amazing photo opportunities.
Saturday October 15th, 8:00 PM.
Meet at The View parking lot.
We’ll join our great guides for the last time as we make our way over to our galaxy astrophotography location. We’ll have our choice of shooting at the West mitten, Totem Pole & Ear of the Wind arch. Never shot astrophotography before? Don’t worry. We’ll help you set up your long exposures to take advantage of Monument Valley’s truly dark skies. Whether you like broader starscapes or narrower views with red rock features as key elements, you’ll have a great time. While shooting you’ll enjoy Monument Valley’s exquisite silent nighttime majesty. As 10:00 PM arrives, we wrap up our official Monument Valley schedule, return to our hotel rooms and prepare for our morning home departure.
We have no guide service Sunday morning. This self-guided tour portion allows individuals and groups to decide how and when they’d like to shoot their final morning at Monument Valley. Try early sunrises by “The View,” campground. Explore areas on the public loop. Do walking tours beginning right in front of The View Hotel and hike ’til you drop. This is a great tour wind up so shoot long and shoot often. For those interested, we’ll arrange our Sunday morning group departure to include a stop at Goosenecks of the San Juan state park. It’s right on the way home. Make a short detour for an hour or so and take in erosion’s handiwork sculpting stunningly graceful river meanders through Utah’s desert landscape. This is an excellent place to work on exposure skills rendering scenes of landscape bright sun and canyon deep shadows.
Food and water on the trail as well as daily breakfast lunch (except Saturday’s with Peter McDonald) and dinner are your responsibility. Goulding’s offers good food at reasonable prices. Our cabin rooms provide small refrigerators for any food you’d like to bring with you. Our guides provide coolers for time out on the trail. Our guides do a great job, our Navajo residents are very gracious with their time and our dancers work hard to make themselves available for great photos. All tips are included with your trip price.
Monument Valley weather varies greatly so pack clothes for warmth as well as cooler clothes if weather heats up. Dress in layers. Monument Valley can prove very windy, so hats, gloves and windbreakers are a good idea. Precipitation offers up great shooting possibilities as well as conditions of shooting in mud so bring appropriate sturdy footwear though rain is unlikely. We face quite cool early morning photo conditions & for any later evening shots as well as our star shots.
We encourage participation by photographers of all skill levels. For those wishing to enjoy shooting in peace at one of the West’s best locations, you may do so. If you seek instruction on your very first photo safari, you’ll have a great time as we offer guidance specific to each location. Other than our first night orientation we have no group meetings or evaluations on the trip. As always on an NGPA trip, though, we’ll have enough expertise along to answer your photo questions any time. We will, however, run a group Google Drive folder for several weeks following our trip where each photographer submits their best images for show and discussion.
* Navajo Parks & Recreation rules forbid selling images taken at their parks unless you have their permission. Please do not attempt selling your images of Navajo Parks without permission.
Times and shooting order listed here are preliminary. NGPA reserves the right to rearrange shoot times & locations.
Food and Water
Food and water on the trail as well as daily breakfast lunch and dinner are your responsibility. You’ll need to take trail friendly food and water with you on our Hunt’s Mesa excursion. It’s a good idea to bring food & water along for our Saturday evening after our Peter McDonald lunch time as we may not have time for restaurant or other breaks once we depart at 1:00PM. Since we’ll finish our Star Shots about 10:30 PM or so, our hotel restaurant likely will be closed by the time we get back. For other meals during our stay, Goulding’s Stagecoach Restaurant offers decent food at reasonable prices.
Please call me at 801-949-1001 to reserve your spot on Neil's Monument Valley Photography Adventure. Trip reservations as well as room availability will go fast so we recommend making your commitment with us as well as your hotel immediately. Once you reserve your tour & guide package, please call Group Sales at Goulding’s Lodge, (435) 727-3601. They’re holding rooms for us as a group. Please ask for Neil’s Great Photography Adventures’ group. If you have travel partners wishing to join you in Monument Valley but are not interested our tour & guide services, there is no additional cost for them. Monument Valley is a great place to relax and get away from it all while enjoying some reading, knitting, painting, writing or whatever your significant other may enjoy doing!
We encourage participation by photographers of all skill levels. For those wishing to enjoy shooting in peace at one of the West’s best photo environments, you may do so. If you seek instruction or are on your very first photo safari, you’ll have a great time as we offer guidance specific to each location. Other than our first night we’ll have no group meetings or group evaluations on the trip though we’re always available to discuss your images at each photo site or whenever you’d like.
Navajo Parks & Recreation rules forbid selling images taken at their parks unless you have their permission. Please do not attempt selling your images of Navajo Parks without permission.
Monument Valley weather varies greatly so pack clothes for warmth as well as cooler clothes for heat. Dress in layers. Monument Valley, at times, proves very windy so hats, gloves and windbreakers are a good idea. Precipitation offers up great shooting possibilities as well as opportunities for shooting in mud so bring appropriate sturdy footwear. We’ll likely face quite cool night photo conditions for any later evening shots as well as our star shots. Official Monument Valley temperature averages include mid 50 degree days and low 40 to mid 30 degree nights during October.