Yesterday's Light

Images in Space and Time

Not a Common Sight

Mon. Valley 1 (1149)

The evening before the day we visited Canyon de Chelly and saw a small amount of accumulated snow, we experienced a brief squall at Monument Valley.  Earlier the same day I’d asked a Navajo guide – who’d taken me back into the areas of Monument Valley that many people don’t see – how often it snowed there.  His reply was “once a year, on average”.  And that it rarely “stuck”.  Well, on this particular evening it didn’t stick either.  But it sure as hell was cold enough to stick.  I was really disappointed the next morning because there was no white coating on the Mittens or Merrick’s Butte.  That has to be a rare sight.  But we did get this squall.  The photograph’s a little grainy (it was shot at ISO 1600), but it reminds me of old images I’ve seen from here.

I wonder if John Wayne ever saw it snow here?  He was here often enough.  The guide told me that one of the Chevy Chase “Vacation” movies was filmed here (well, one scene was, anyway).  Actually, a lot of films – and TV commercials – were shot here.  Hollywood in the desert.

We’re in Memphis right now.  I wonder if Arizona has warmed up yet?



4 Responses to “Not a Common Sight”

  1. Earl Moore

    Paul, I love when chance hands you special moments such as you’ve captured above. It makes for a unique shot even if it’s of an area that’s been filmed and photographed thousands of times. As a side note, I follow Monte Stevens photo blog and he was driving from Colorado to Arizona this last week and also got some good photos of snow in the deserts.

    So you guys are on your way back?

    • Paul Maxim

      Yeah, it’s kind of funny how people line up here every morning and evening for the “standard” sunrise and sunset pictures. They can get them pretty much any day of the year here. But there were very few trying to capture this little squall. Maybe it was too cold for them……..

      I follow Monte as well, but haven’t seen those images yet. I’ll have to head over there.

      Yes, sort of on our way back. We’ll be in Charleston for 3 days starting tomorrow. Then we’ll be staying a night near Charlotte (Mooresville?) and then up to Martinsburg, WV and then home. We figured it was too depressing to just go straight home from the southwest so we thought we’d head for the ocean. I just hope it doesn’t decide to snow in Charleston……

  2. Cedric Canard

    Paul, I like this photo very much; not just for the rare event you’ve captured but also for the feel this image evokes. Even before reading your words I thought of John Wayne and Western movies. Very cool.

    • Paul Maxim

      Thanks. Cedric. Yes, it’s the “feeling” you get when you view these kinds of images. So many movies have been made there. And not just classic westerns. Heck, a famous Jeep commercial was partially shot there where the Jeep winds up sitting on top of Merrick’s Butte. Didn’t actually happen, of course. Ah, the wonders of CGI………


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