Evening Glow

I often pass this landmark in my travels, always intending to make my own rendition—one that is notably different. The most common perspective photographed is from the southeast. The west-facing wall seems to be somewhat unpopular. Not until my most recent trip to the Southwest were the atmospheric conditions promising for an attempt to capture a unique image—or two. This was a cool, cloudy April day. There was a chance for a sun break at the horizon formed by the Carrizo Mountains. Because I had earlier crossed from Arizona to New Mexico on Highway 13, I knew the Carrizos were in the 9000 foot range. I scouted Navajo Nation Road 5020, which parallels the western exposure of Shiprock. I located a vantage point that would provide an unobstructed view with good angular light for shadows when the sun broke through. There are no guarantees in outdoor photography so it is crucial to be patient and make images while the light changes, to have the best chance of capturing the best of that light. As Mitch Dobrowner said “It might be five minutes or 20 minutes or three minutes. But the thing is, you always have to think that you’re only going to be out there for three minutes. Right now, or five seconds from now, or 20 seconds from now might be the best you’re going to get.”

EF 70-200mm @ 200mm; f/16 @ 1/13, -1 EV, ISO 100


Stunning image. All the elements came together for you to make a magnificent and powerful image of this scene.


Spectacular light and processing that does the scene justice. Gorgeous!


Bob, this is the side of Shiprock I’ve never seen. The golden hour light is gorgeous, inspirational.

Thank you!

Patricia—There are no guarantees in life, especially photography. I use a couple of software apps on my iPhone, PhotoPills and Windy, that help me make better educated guesses about atmospherics, timing of the best light, etc.

Lon—I was there at and before the best light was to occur in order to make a few “record” shots in case the hoped for light never materialized. The combination of light on the rock plus the darker skies was a bit beyond what theoretically should have been optimal.

Bill—I searched the internet looking for images of the western exposure and found nothing so I decided it was either unremarkable or because the eastern exposure was well known to be beautiful, no one ventured to the other side. On that particular evening it was well worth the effort.

After the light failed I drove around to the other side and camped at the base of the rock. From there I made the morning image I posted previously.

Beautiful light and colors captured in this image. You caught it just right and it makes this monolith glow, indeed.

Thank you for your kind remarks, Kathy. A rewarding experience.

WOW, gorgeous, Bob. The lighting is divine and I think the processing is just spot on.

Thank you very much Adhika. Lots of planning, patience and providence.