Cedar Mesa to Monument Valley Photography Workshop
Ancient Native American Ruins & Landscapes
With Tom Till and Moab Photo Tours
September 20-27, 2009
Join Moab Photo Tours and world-renowned photographer Tom Till on this 7-day, 7-night photographic exploration of ancient Native American ruins and rock art in the Cedar Mesa region of southeastern Utah, including two full days of shooting in Monument Valley, the Land of the Navajo.
Cedar Mesa has the densest concentration of pre-Columbian ruins in all of the United States. The canyons that crisscross this rugged and beautiful high-desert mesa are lined with ancient Ancestral Pueblan cliff ruins. Many of these ruins make spectacular fine art images, set in alcoves in the sheer cliff walls and along the canyon rims. You will be able to walk among and photograph ruins abandoned more than 800 years ago when the Ancestral Pueblans left this area.
We will also spend two full days photographing in the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, with Navajo guides who will take us to places visitors cannot otherwise go. We will have the opportunity to camp overnight on rugged Hunt’s Mesa and shoot both a sunset and a sunrise from this spectacular viewpoint overlooking Monument Valley.
Tom Till is an expert on Native American rock art and ruins, and while he is best known world-wide as a landscape photographer, Native American ruins and rock art are some of his personal favorite subjects. Tom has photographed some 200 days in Monument Valley alone over his 30+ year career as a landscape photographer, and he knows the area extremely well. Our Navajo Guide for the tour in Monument Valley is Tom Phillips, of Monument Valley Tours, a photographer himself and a very experienced photography guide and guide for the movie industry. Phillips understands what makes a good landscape photograph, and as he says, “I take you to the light.” Check out his website at www.monumentvalley.com.
The workshop covers seven days and nights and includes six days of shooting, lodging, transportation, some meals, park entrance fees, use fees, and guide fees. It also includes instruction in the field and evening photo discussions and critiques with Tom Till and Jon Fuller, owner of Moab Photo Tours, LLC. The workshop will start on Sunday evening, September 20, 2009 with an orientation meeting in Moab, Utah. Rather than waste a good sunrise driving, we will take the opportunity to shoot a sunrise on Monday at one of Moab’s signature sunrise photo locations before proceeding south to Cedar Mesa. Along the way, we’ll make a detour to photograph Newspaper Rock, one of the most famous rock art panels in the world. The next two nights we’ll be staying in Blanding, Utah, and photographing ruins on Cedar Mesa on Monday afternoon, Tuesday, and half-day Wednesday. We’ll then drive to the south end of Cedar Mesa for a picnic lunch at Muley Point, overlooking the Goosenecks of the San Juan River and Monument Valley to the south. After lunch, we’ll descend the famous Moki Dugway into the Valley of the Gods and photograph the buttes and monuments in this scenic valley in the late afternoon light. We’ll then proceed across the San Juan River to Monument Valley, where we’ll be staying in the newest, best-located lodging in the valley, the View Motel.
We will shoot a sunrise with our Navajo guides, and then after a midday break at the lodge, drive up the rugged 4WD track to Hunt’s Mesa, where we’ll shoot sunset and camp for the night. Camping gear and meals on Hunt’s Mesa will be provided by our Navajo outfitters of Monument Valley Tours. We’ll then shoot sunrise before descending from the Mesa and having lunch at the lodge. After the midday break, we go back out with Tom Phillips to explore and photograph Mystery Valley. We’ll spend Friday night at the View Motel and shoot sunrise over the Mittens on Saturday morning before starting back toward Moab. We’ll work our way back to Moab, photographing along the way and arriving there in the afternoon. Saturday evening we’ll have a group dinner at one of Moab’s best restaurants. Lodging is included Saturday night in Moab, and you can depart for home on Sunday or stay around for a few more days to photograph Arches and Canyonlands National Parks on your own.
The cost of this workshop is $2295.00 and includes 6 nights in motels (double occupancy — single supplement $550), 1 night guided camping, transportation from Moab to Cedar Mesa and Monument Valley, two days with Navajo guides in Monument Valley, all park entry fees & BLM use fees on Cedar Mesa, and some meals, including the farewell dinner. Not included are transportation to Moab or your return home, tips for guides, alcohol, and meals not specifically specified as included. If you’d like to take advantage of this outstanding opportunity, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For images of ruins on Cedar Mesa, go to www.moabphototours.com and view the Cedar Mesa Album in the Gallery. For Tom Till’s images of Monument Valley, go to www.tomtill.com and type Monument Valley in the Search Box.
Disclaimer: Access to many of these ruins on Cedar Mesa can only be gained by hiking down steep trails into the canyons. These hikes will take up to an hour each way, some dropping several hundred feet in elevation, and are quite physically demanding. What goes down, must also come back up in order to get home, so you must be in very good health and physical condition to participate in this workshop. You must be able to hike these steep, rough, rocky primitive trails carrying all of your own equipment. The general elevation of Cedar Mesa is between 6000’ and 7000’, so the altitude makes hiking even more difficult. Please do not apply if you have heart or respiratory problems. This area is very remote, with no cell service, so prompt medical emergency services are not readily available. Additionally, the tour in Monument Valley will cover some extremely rough 4-wheel drive tracks. According to Navajo Guide Tom Phillips, people with bad backs should not attempt the drive up to Hunt’s Mesa. This workshop is truly an adventure into some of America’s most wild and rugged country.