Tear Drop Arch, Monument Valley, Utah / Arizona Border

Okay, it seems that I received an unexpected late Christmas gift this weekend. I was looking for something and came across some backup DVDs that contained some of my images from 2003 - 2006. You may ask why I am looking at this as a gift. The easy answer is that I took some memorable trips during that period and, at that time, really didn't know anything about RAW files and processing (other than that, everything was fine). I processed the JPG files in Photoshop Elements with my very poor skills and DELETED the original files. That's right, all gone. I have rued the day I deleted them ever since. Now for the good news, the DVDs that I found contained the original JPGs. I now have a lot of my favorite images that I can now reprocess. This is the first image that I have reprocessed and it is significant in that it is the photo that started my photography hobby in earnest. I always had an interest in photography and in the early 1980′s even took a high school course in developing black and white film (boy, did they lose money on me). Career, family and finances got in the way of photography and I didn’t pursue it again until the early 2000′s. Then in 2005, I decided to see if I was serious about it.

My son Greg and I headed to Utah for two weeks for the sole purpose of hiking and photography. One of the places that I had longed to visit was Monument Valley. Located on a Navajo Indian Reservation on the Utah/Arizona border, it was the location of many famous westerns (Stagecoach and The Searchers to name a couple). I had seen a photo of Tear Drop Arch on the cover of a tour guide and always wanted to shoot it. The park has a 17-mile dirt road, but in order to photograph the more iconic places such as Tear Drop Arch, you must hire a Navajo guide. Our guide took us all over the park for four hours and saved Tear Drop Arch for our last stop at sunset. The biggest surprise was that Tear Drop Arch is actually about 3 miles outside the park. While Greg and the Navajo guide talked about his culture, I shot the arch until well past sunset.

This was one of the most magical experiences I’ve ever had and it lit the passion that I still have for photography.