Shelley and I headed out to explore Walnut Canyon National Monument on our way to Petrified Forest National Park. While this location is of historical importance and is nestled in a beautiful canyon that beauty alone does not guarantee great photographs.
What I have learned from landscape photography trips? There are beautiful locations that are always photogenic. I know that it sounds counter-intuitive to say. Nonetheless, it’s true. Just because the location is beautiful and gorgeous doesn’t always make it photographic. This is can greatly depend on the quality of light when you’re there and the weather patterns. In addition to the number of people.
When I plan a trip I try to include locations that are close together. By doing this it allows Shelley and me the ability to stay in a central location. Centralizing where you are going to stay gives more opportunities to photograph those are locations. Walnut Canyon National Monument, Wupatki National Monument, and Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument are located within an hour’s drive of Flagstaff Arizona. By staying in Flagstaff we were afforded more time to visit each of these national monuments.
Cliff Dwelling #1 – Walnut Canyon National Monument
Once Shelley and I have descended the 187 feet down to the island trail I realized how extraordinary this place was. For the indigenous people to have created dwellings under the overhanging rocks halfway up in the canyon was just amazing. The simple fact that a good number of their dwellings still had walls standing is a testament to their knowledge of construction. They used materials that would were readily available in the area.
As we made our way along the trail we could see dwellings on the other side of Canyon. And as we were walking past a stone wall I was looking for my first composition. It was not until I turned around on the trail that I saw what I was looking for. The wall that we had walked past ended at a corner. Where the overhang had narrowed to nothing. This opening into the cliff dwelling drew me in.
I made this photograph with my Nikon D600 at ISO 100, 14mm, f/11, and a shutter speed of 1/100 of a second.
The Overhanging Cliff – Walnut Canyon National Monument
For the next composition, I was drawn to the overhang of the cliff. At this point along the trail, the cliff swept out over the trail to the rim of the canyon. This composition shows the amount of shelter the cliff overhangs offer. I made this photograph with my Nikon D600 at ISO 100, 14mm, f/11, and a shutter speed of 1/50 of a second.
Cliff Dwelling #2 – Walnut Canyon National Monument
This mostly intact room was believed to be used for storing water. I made this photograph with my Nikon D600 at ISO 100, 14mm, f/11, and a shutter speed of 1/40 of a second.
Cliff Dwelling #3 – Walnut Canyon National Monument
As Shelley and I walked along the Island trail we became very aware of many houses, or rooms are along the sides of the canyon. The houses were not just along the Island trail, but across from it. They dotted both sides of the canyon.
The composition below shows a line of ruined dwelling walls. These walls, like many others, lay along the Island trail. I made this photograph with my Nikon D600 at ISO 100, 14mm, f/11, and a shutter speed of 1/25 of a second.
Cliff Dwelling #4 – Walnut Canyon National Monument
My last composition at Walney Canyon National Monument was of a ruined cliff dwelling through which you can see a doorway. I made this photograph with my Nikon D600 at ISO 100, 14mm, f/11, and a shutter speed of 1/40 of a second.
Photographing Walnut Canyon National Monument was fun, and the exercise was great. Would I do it again, sure? However, the next time I would most likely choose a different time of day and hopefully, a time when it was less crowded.
If you have not yet read last weeks post about the Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument please do so by clicking here
If you would like to see the video of our visit to Walnut Canyon National Monument please visit my YouTube Channel by clicking here.