A horse roams the landscape of Monument Valley at sunrise. It's striking white figure punctuates the landscape.
Packed up the ol' 4Runner and headed north. Destination Monument Valley. I have always been intrigued by dramatic landscapes and this seemed to be the time of year to go.
Oljato-Monument Valley is a census-designated place in Navajo County, Arizona. It is a popular destination for tourists, outdoor enthusiasts, and photographers. It has been featured in many forms of media since the 1930s. It was a location of Director John Ford's films and an iconic setting that has defined the American West.
Situated at 5000-6000 feet Monument Valley is part of the Colorado Plateau. The limestone spires reach to the heavens like arms coming from the ground. Sunrise and sunset provide ample opportunities for striking photographs.
First light silhouettes the jagged landscape that is so unique to Monument Valley.
Moving eastward, I was drawn to the Ranchos de Taos Pueblo. The image that is featured in the blog is San Francisco de Assisi Mission Church which is part of an active parish in the Santa Fe Diocese, holding regular masses and festivals. The sculpted body and imposing stature have made this a popular church for photography. Georgia O’Keeffe painted numerous perspectives of the church and once described it as “one of the most beautiful buildings left in the United States by the early Spaniards.” Ansel Adams photographed it for his book.
The most popular view is the backside of the colonial-era church with its smooth and dramatic forms and buttresses.
Ranchos de Taos Pueblo
On the way back to Arizona, I couldn't resist heading to one of my favorite historic landmarks, the Tumacácori National Monument. Awarded this designation in 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt. The original mission was established by Jesuit Eusebio Francisco Kino and his party in 1691. This national treasure contains a plethora of history and three Spanish Missions, including the Mission San José de Tumacácori, which was built in the 1750s to replace the much older Mission San Cayetano de Tumacácori — the first mission in southern Arizona.
There is a museum on-site and daily tours available.
Above (top photo) Mission San José de Tumacácori (lower left) the front of the Mission, (lower right) back of the Mission where the cemetery is located.
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