Monument Valley, Hunts Mesa, and Muley Point
October 26–31, 2023
Monument Valley Tribal Park lies along the borders of Utah and Arizona, within the Navajo Nation. The Park was established in 1935 to protect the region’s many natural features, including the towers of de Chelly Sandstone, Moenkopi Formation, and Shinarump Conglomerate. Sculpted into fantastical shapes by thousands of years of wind and erosion, these structures together form some of the American West’s most iconic views.
We’ll be photographing Monument Valley alongside local Navajo guides. Together, we’ll journey to classic locations like the North Window and Eye in the Sky and some lesser-known spots. We’ll spend sunrise and sunset and dinnertime at the remote and spectacular Hunts Mesa, heading back to the hotel after sunset.
Along the way, you’ll learn the art of composition and which camera techniques will allow you to best capture the area’s geologic wonders. We’ll visit the valley in the morning, the evening, and in the darkest hours of the night to photograph the Milky Way draped over the buttes. When not in the field, we’ll hold classroom learning and image review sessions at a comfortable and beautifully positioned hotel.
This itinerary is subject to change due to weather, local conditions, and other factors.
October 26, 2023: Meet at Gouldings Lodge by 3:00 PM for check-in and orientation. Sunset shoot to follow.
October 27, 2023: We’ll leave early with our guides to explore the regions of Monument Valley, based on current weather and light, and will be out most of the day. We’ll return for an early dinner before heading back out for sunset and night sky photography.
October 28, 2023: At this time of year, the fall sunrise turns the monuments all kinds of pink and orange. This will be an adventurous long day exploring Hunts Mesa. We’ll arrive early for sunrise and peer down onto the “Yei be Chi Rocks” and the “Totem Pole.” followed by a hot breakfast, hot tea or coffee and then we’ll explore and photograph sandstone monuments and arches up near the rim of the mesa throughout the daylight. Sunset from the rim of Hunts Mesa is spectacular, and the view across all the monuments offers many layers and compositions. We’ll have a satisfying, hot meal prepared for us by our Navajo guides with plenty of time to capture amazing images of the late light from the rim. After the final dawn light, we’ll head back to our hotel for a good long rest.
October 29, 2023: We will take our time this morning recovering from our adventurous day, enjoy a showers and a hot meal followed by an image review. Then we’ll plan on heading out to one of the regions in Monument Valley for afternoon and sunset light.
October 30, 2023: We’ll have one last sunrise in the valley before breakfast and driving to Mexican Hat for our next location. Upon arriving in Mexican Hat, we’ll have lunch or an early dinner and head out to photograph Valley of the Gods.
October 31, 2023: On this last morning, we’ll visit a favorite mesa with spectacular views of the canyon country and Monument Valley off in the distance. Here on Muley Point, giant sandstone slabs angle off into the abyss below, making for a striking foreground for the sunrise light. After heading down for our final hearty breakfast, we’ll say our goodbyes. Drive back to Flagstaff (or ride share) and flights home can be after 2:00 PM.
Moderate: You must be able to walk up to 1 mile on uneven surfaces and around cliffs
Arrive Flagstaff Pulliam Airport (FLG), Flagstaff, Arizona before 11 AM on October 26, 2023. Flights out can be made after 2:00 PM on October 31, 2023.
What to Bring
Please see our page How To Prepare For Your Workshop. We will send you a detailed information document 90 days before your workshop. This document will include specifics of where and when to meet, gear and clothing recommendations, and more.
- Double occupancy lodging. Single available for $900 supplement.
- All meals, soft drinks, and snacks during the workshop
- All permits and park fees
- All transportation during the workshop
- Tips for crew, drivers, and local guides
- Photographic guiding and instruction from 2 pros
- Image reviews and post-processing instruction
- Adventure, fun, inspiration, and a great time!
- Travel to and from Monument Valley, Arizona.
- Passport and visa fees (if applicable).
- Any meals or accommodations before or after the workshop dates.
- Items of a personal nature.
- Alcoholic beverages.
- Medical Evacuation Insurance (required).
- Travel Medical and Trip Cancellation Insurance (optional, but recommended).
- Anything else specifically not listed as included.
- Single rooming available for $900 supplement.
“Greg Vaughn is a terrific photographer, an outstanding teacher and a superlative guide. Greg always 'knows the territory'. It doesn't matter if he 'wrote the book' for an area, as he did for both Oregon and Washington— by the way his books are easily the best in class— or if he is going to a location for the first time. In either case, you can rest assured that he will be totally prepared in every way. He will know where to go and when to be there. He will have the light figured out. He will have the iconic shot zeroed in and he'll have several variants. I have been on a number of photo trips over the past 6 years. I have done more with Greg than anyone else and he is right in the very top echelon of photography professionals. When I'm with Greg, I always have a great time, I always learn a lot about the craft of getting a great image— and I always come away with images I treasure. He is the quintessential pro. ”
“Both Greg and Tom were exceptional and very generous with their advice and instruction both in the field and in the classroom. They were an excellent team with complementary skills and perspectives. They made great efforts to provide instruction to each participant at her or his level and in many different contexts. Although I have attended quite a few workshops, I learned a great deal from both of them. Further, they are both truly nice and genuine people and it was a great pleasure to get to know them and spend this time with them.
Yes, I am signed up for quite a few and this workshop only reinforced my appreciation for the approach you take. You have great planning and logistics, have found great locations, and all of the staff and leaders are excellent and provide great care for your clients. The leaders have all been excellent instructors, go out of their way to help all clients, are very conscious of safety and just nice and fun people. ”