Tear Drop

Tear Drop Arch, Monument Valley, Utah / Arizona Border

When I first started traveling for vacations, I ordered a travel guide from a Southwest Travel Association. When it came in the mail, the cover photo transfixed me. I didn't know where or what is was, only that I had to visit there someday. I found out that the subject was the Tear Drop Arch somewhere on the Utah / Arizona border. Fast forward to 2004, when my son and I decided to go on a hiking / photography trip in Utah when he graduated college. Right away, I knew that someway, somehow, I was going to shoot photos of the arch.

As I began to do research, I found out that the arch was on a large Navajo Reservation that encompasses over 17 million acres. All signs pointed to Monument Valley. I found that the only way to see the arch was to hire a Navajo guide, since it was not on the public 17 miles of dirt road that runs through the valley. When I met up with the guide, he asked me what I wanted to photograph. I told him that the only formation that I had to shoot was Tear Drop Arch. He said he would save it to last. As the sun started to set, he headed toward the exit, and I started to panic. I reminded him about the arch and he told me that the arch was about 3 miles outside of the park high on a ridge. After getting there and shooting the arch, he took us to meet his family, who lived very close to the arch. It was a wonderful experience learning about the Navajo culture and also getting a shot of this icon.