Monument Valley, Arizona , USA by Stephanie Sheffield

Picture Story

In the summer of 2019, I had the privilege of visiting Monument Valley AZ. My family and I spent several hours driving through the valley in a rented minivan, not the ideal vehicle for this type of adventure. I took picture after picture in the scorching heat until my family begged for a break. With temps hovering around 100 degrees, we were exhausted and dehydrated, but I was determined to get the perfect shot. I finally gave in to their pleas and we started heading out of the park. As we drove up the hill toward the visitor's center, I looked in my rearview mirror and saw this amazing sight.

The sun was setting opposite of the monuments and bathing them in a beautiful golden light. It was just what I had been looking for! My family gave me 5 minutes to grab the shot and I ran to get my tripod in place. With no time to change lenses or choose a special filter, I shot with what was already on the camera, my trusty Sigma 24-105mm. I focused on getting as many images as I could in those few moments and held on to hope that I had captured the scene as I had witnessed it. Once I loaded them into Lightroom, I was thrilled with the results! Featured in this image is the world-famous panorama of the Mitten Buttes and Merrick Butte. The two outer buttes are perfectly illuminated in the setting sunlight and the valley road leads the eye directly into the scene. The pastel colors of the sky contrast beautifully with the rust-colored barren landscape. This image is framed and mounted on my office wall. It’s a daily reminder of those few moments when everything came together in one magical scene.

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