Once I had left the Fallen Roof ruin, it was only a short drive to my camp site for the final night of my trip. Muley Point is an overlook on the edge of what is known as the Cedar Mesa plateau. From the top of the 1200 foot cliffs there stretches an immense vista southwards over the twisting, entrenched canyons of the San Juan River and the empty plains of the Navajo Reservation, with Monument Valley clearly visible over 20 miles away. I don’t remember how I first discovered this incredible location, but it has become one of my favorite spots to visit in the southwest, and I usually try to spend at least one night there if my travels take me through the region.
The afternoon became increasingly cloudier, and by the time sunset was supposed to happen it was beginning to rain. Still, I scouted the area for possible shots and hoped for even the smallest break in the clouds so that I might get just a minute of spectacular light. It was not to be. Perhaps I’d used up my luck earlier in the week at Canyonlands. I headed back to my truck and made dinner.
The next morning I woke to dark and cloudy skies, but knowing that this was my last chance to capture a dramatic sunrise shot on this trip, I got dressed and hoped for the best. (But I was not the best dressed on this dramatic crest, for I had spilled yogurt on my chest.) One of the things I love about Muley Point is that, with expansive views for miles to the east, west and south, one can actually watch the weather approaching. I could see that to the south, Monument Valley was fairly well-lit in the first, warm light of the morning sun. A break in the clouds was allowing a spot light of sunshine to travel across the desert between where I stood and the towering monoliths in the distance. The break never became large enough to illuminate a significant portion of the land, so this shot is a composite of 3 or 4 exposures, blending different areas as they were lit.