MonumentValleyMesasButtes

The quintessential Southwestern scenery as represented by the mesas and buttes of
Tse Bii' Ndzisgaii (Valley of the Rocks), the Navajo name for Monument Valley. Known
around the world for its landscape, which was made famous in John Ford Westerns of
the 1930s and later (as well as numerous other films), this jewel of the Navajo Nation is
depicted in all sorts of light, from first light to sunrise, mid-morning, sunset and dusk.
A few of the images on this page are also on the Monument Valley Scenics page,
and a few of the images from the Scenics page are also displayed here.

Click an image to open a larger version.
Use your back button to return to this page.

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Indian Lands & Anasazi Sites Collection where a Gallery can be selected.

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There are 14 Sections in the Photoshelter Indian Lands & Anasazi Sites Collection

Direct Links to the Monument Valley images:

Monument Valley Scenics
Monument Valley: Hogans and Petroglyphs
Susie Yazzie Monument Valley

Indian Lands Select (150 Selected images)
Anasazi and Fremont Petroglyphs

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Monument_Valley_First_Light_X9903


Monument Valley First Light X9903

West and East Mitten Buttes and Merrick Butte at First Light.

In the 1860s, Kit Carson sent Utes and Paiutes into Monument Valley to capture raiding Navajo,
who escaped to the nearby areas such as Navajo Mountain. Two of the soldiers who remained
in the valley to mine for silver were James Merrick and Ernest Mitchell. The Utes and Paiutes
killed both Merrick and Mitchell near the two prominent buttes which still bear their names.

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Monument Valley Dawn Mittens and Merrick Butte X9916

Dawn breaks over the West and East Mittens and Merrick Butte
on a cold December morning. Just another day in Monument Valley.

This is one of the most famous silhouettes in the Southwest.

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Monument Valley Sentinel Mesa Sunrise X9921

Sentinel Mesa fluorescing in the brilliant red rays of sunrise.

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Monument Valley Sunrise Camel Butte X9931

Camel Butte, 50 minutes later near the end of “Golden Hour”.

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Monument Valley Three Sisters Mitchell Mesa X1781

The Three Sisters and Mitchell Mesa at Sunrise on a clear and cold February morning,
overlooked by the Moon and framed by Rain God Mesa on the left and Camel Butte on the right.

Mitchell Mesa was named for Ernest Mitchell, one of the two silver miners mentioned earlier.
Many of the spires, buttes and mesas in the Valley were named by Harry Goulding, who built a
Trading Post at the entrance to the Valley in 1924, bartering with the Navajo and running sheep.
In 1938, Harry took some of the pioneering photographs of Josef Muench to Hollywood after
he learned that United Artists were planning on filming a Western on location. He showed
the pictures to the location manager for Stagecoach, which was about to be shot, and
they were then showed to Director John Ford. The rest is history. John Ford used
Monument Valley as the backdrop for seven films over the next 25 years, which
launched John Wayne into stardom and established Monument Valley as the
quintessential icon of Southwest scenery. Harry Goulding and John Ford
helped to create what we think of today as The American Southwest.

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Monument Valley Three Sisters Mitchell Mesa X1785

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Monument Valley Three Sisters Mitchell Mesa X1807

Harry Goulding thought the Three Sisters looked like nuns.

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Monument Valley North Landscape at Sunrise X1326

The North Landscape of Monument Valley in the golden glow of Sunrise.

Mitchell Mesa, Elephant Butte, East Mitten, Big Chair and Spearhead Mesa.

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Monument Valley Merrick Butte
West Mitten Sentinel Mesa X9928

These two images of Merrick Butte and West Mitten in front of Sentinel Mesa were taken a few seconds apart in the early morning light with different settings of a polarizing filter.

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Monument Valley Merrick Butte
West Mitten Sentinel Mesa X9929

The image to the left was shot with minimum polarization, and the image above was shot with roughly 50% polarization. The filter increases contrast and boosts the color saturation.

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Monument Valley West Mitten and Sentinel Mesa X9924

Sentinel Mesa and West Mitten Butte in the early morning light.

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Indian Lands & Anasazi Sites Collection where a Gallery can be selected.

PhotoshelterGallerySection


There are 14 Sections in the Photoshelter Indian Lands & Anasazi Sites Collection

Direct Links to the Monument Valley images:

Monument Valley Scenics
Monument Valley: Hogans and Petroglyphs
Susie Yazzie Monument Valley

Indian Lands Select (150 Selected images)
Anasazi and Fremont Petroglyphs

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Monument_Valley_3_Sisters_Cly_Butte_X9957


Monument Valley Three Sisters Cly Butte X9957

The Loop Road draws the eye towards Cly Butte and The Three Sisters, left of Mitchell Mesa.

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Monument Valley Three Sisters Cly Butte X9958

A tighter composition of the same scene. The Three Sisters in the Navajo tradition are
three Holy People who have been turned into stone. Harry Goulding thought they looked
like nuns, and named them Faith, Hope and Charity. The southern spire is 600 feet tall,
the middle spire is 325 feet, and the northern spire is 575 feet tall. They stand at the
south end of Mitchell Mesa, named for Ernest Mitchell, one of Kit Carson’s soldiers
who had stayed in the Valley to mine silver and was killed by Utes and Paiutes.
Cly Butte, named by Harry Goulding for the Medicine Man Hosteen Cly, who
was buried at the foot of the butte in 1934, stands at the right of the image.

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Monument Valley Camel Butte X9955

Camel Butte from a different angle, shot at mid-morning.

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Monument Valley Elephant Butte X1864

A Juniper Tree and Elephant Butte near Artist’s Point.

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Monument Valley Landscape Elephant Butte
3-shot composite  —  the full size image is an XXL
(Monument Valley Landscape Elephant Butte 16x9 XXL, 6350 x 3700, 20MB)

Elephant Butte is in the center of the scene. To the right are Merrick Butte in front of
Sentinel Mesa, Setting Hen and Big Indian, Brigham’s Tomb and East Mitten Butte.

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Monument Valley Mittens and Merrick Butte X1895

West and East Mittens and Merrick Butte, shot
at mid-day in February from near the Loop Road.

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Monument Valley Merrick Butte and Mittens X9989

Merrick Butte and the Mittens shot at late morning in
December from a spot near that in the previous image,
but out of frame to the left and about 100 yards closer.

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Monument Valley Mitten Buttes X1878

The weathered wood provided foreground interest for these images. A polarized 17mm composition of the Mitten Buttes.

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Monument Valley Mittens and Merrick Butte X1882

This image is a non-polarized ultra-wide angle (12mm) shot of the same scene, adding Merrick Butte at the far right.

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Monument Valley West Mitten Sentinel Mesa X9980

Sentinel Mesa and the Northern Buttes are at the left of this scene, and
West Mitten Butte is in the center. Shot in the late morning in December.

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Monument Valley Mittens and Merrick Butte X1897

West and East Mittens, Merrick Butte and the Loop Road.
Taken from just below the Visitor’s Center at Lookout Point.

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Indian Lands & Anasazi Sites Collection where a Gallery can be selected.

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There are 14 Sections in the Photoshelter Indian Lands & Anasazi Sites Collection

Direct Links to the Monument Valley images:

Monument Valley Scenics
Monument Valley: Hogans and Petroglyphs
Susie Yazzie Monument Valley

Indian Lands Select (150 Selected images)
Anasazi and Fremont Petroglyphs

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Monument Valley Buttes at Sunrise X9923

Gray Whiskers (at left) and Mitchell Butte from the Loop Road early in the morning, near the entrance to the Tribal Park.

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Monument Valley Artist's Point at Sunrise X1765

The full glow of sunrise illuminating Cly Butte. Merrick Butte and East Mitten frame the Northern Buttes in the distance.

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Monument Valley Sunset Artist's Point X1658

Detail of Big Indian, Brigham’s Tomb, Castle Rock, Bear and Rabbit and Stagecoach,
and the East Mitten from behind Spearhead Mesa overlooking Artist’s Point at Sunset.

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Monument Valley Sunrise
Merrick Butte and Mittens X9927

Merrick Butte flanked by the Mitten Buttes at Sunrise. This image was taken without the use of a polarizing filter.

Monument_Valley_Sunrise_Merrick_Butte_and_Mittens_X9930


Monument Valley Sunrise
Merrick Butte and Mittens X9930

The same image, taken a minute later with 50% polarization, increases contrast and also increases the color saturation.

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Monument Valley Rain God Mesa and 3 Sisters X1803

Rain God Mesa on the left, Three Sisters and Mitchell Mesa on the right.

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Monument Valley Rain God Mesa X9952

Rain God Mesa is in the geometric center of the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park.
It provided a platform for medicine men to pray and is the location of a sacred burial ground.
There are four springs at its base at each of the cardinal directions, so the medicine men would
 gather water for their healing and rain-making ceremonies and to give thanks to the Rain God.

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Monument Valley Thunderbird Mesa Dawn X1307

Thunderbird Mesa at dawn on a cold February morning.

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Monument Valley Thunderbird Mesa at Sunrise X1330

Thunderbird Mesa in the golden light of Sunrise.

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Monument Valley Totem Pole Dawn X1318

Totem Pole and Yei Bi Chei at Dawn.

I had set up well before First Light to shoot the Dawn over
Totem Pole and Yei Bi Chei from in front of Thunderbird Mesa.
It was -10 degrees, and standing around waiting for the dawn in
the brutal cold made me appreciate the scene when it arrived.

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Monument Valley Merrick Butte and Mittens X9978

Merrick Butte (foreground) and the West and East Mitten Buttes at mid-morning.

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Monument Valley West Mitten X9984 4x5

West Mitten Butte at mid-morning with a distinctive piece of weathered wood in the foreground.

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Monument Valley West Mitten X9985

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Monument Valley Mittens and Merrick Butte at Dusk X1708

West and East Mittens and Merrick Butte in the mauve light of Dusk from the Loop Road.

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Monument Valley Sunset Mitchell Butte X1683

Mitchell Butte silhouetted by a blazing Southwest Sunset.

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Monument Valley Sunset Mitchell Butte X1690

I have provided three images of this scene. Monument Valley Sunsets can certainly
be spectacular when there are clouds in the sky and a gap in the horizon for the sun.

Monument_Valley_Sunset_Mitchell_Butte_X1695


Monument Valley Sunset Mitchell Butte X1695

Mitchell Butte was named for Ernest Mitchell, one of the two silver miners mentioned earlier.
Mitchell and Merrick were two of Kit Carson’s soldiers who remained in the Valley to mine for
silver. They were killed by Utes and Paiutes near the monolithic buttes which carry their names.

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Indian Lands & Anasazi Sites Collection where a Gallery can be selected.

PhotoshelterGallerySection


There are 14 Sections in the Photoshelter Indian Lands & Anasazi Sites Collection

Direct Links to the Monument Valley images:

Monument Valley Scenics
Monument Valley: Hogans and Petroglyphs
Susie Yazzie Monument Valley

Indian Lands Select (150 Selected images)
Anasazi and Fremont Petroglyphs

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MonumentValleyScenics


Click the Display Composite above to
visit the Monument Valley Scenics page

MonumentValleyMysteryValley


Click the Display Composite above to visit the
Monument Valley: Mystery Valley and Arches page

MonumentValley_Hogans_Petroglyphs


Click the Display Composite above to visit the
Monument Valley Hogans and Petroglyphs page

SusieYazzie


Susie Yazzie

The display composite above links to
the Hogans and Petroglyphs page, where
images of Susie Yazzie are displayed.

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Click the Display Composite above to return to
the Indian Lands and Anasazi Sites Index page

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