I am thrilled to show off my newest piece from Monument Valley! "House of the Dying Suns" took about 5 hours to photograph from sunrise to noon on October 14th. You may have heard that the park was closed at Monument Valley because of cultural reasons, which was true, unless you had a campsite or hotel room at The View. We were lucky enough to have an incredible campsite right on the edge and this was our view right from our tent.
I booked the campsite about a year in advance to make sure we were all setup for the eclipse. As usual, I utilized the app #photopills to plan it all out. After checking, yet again, when we arrived there to make sure I knew what the plan was, we got the campsite setup. The eclipse was set to start at 9:10 and end at 12:01. However, I ended up waking up about 6:00 and really didn't want to leave the comfort of the warm sleeping bag. But when the tent filled with a warm glow, I knew sunrise was encroaching and I had to get set up. This was the first time I got to utilize my heavy-loading kit for my Polarie so that I could use a 500mm lens to capture the sun. It was freezing cold before the sun rose (surprise) and rapidly declined in temperature once the eclipse reached its peak. Truly, it was a site to behold over such a majestic landscape.
How I got the shot: To capture the eclipse I actually used two cameras and stacked all the images together. First, I set up my Nikon D750 with a Nikon 200-500mm 5.6@500mm on my Polarie with the heavy-loading kit to counter that massive lens weight. Next up was my second camera: my good old Nikon D7100 with a Nikon 17-35mm 2.8@22mm on my other Polarie.
The D750 caught all the close-up shots of the eclipse so I could later use the higher quality eclipse shots in the final image. Where the D7100 was getting the wide-field so I could catch the right size and arch of the eclipse. Once I finally got home to edit it all together, I stacked the wide-field shots to see where each part of the eclipse happened and then I added a sunrise picture from that morning on my D750 and chose one where the sun just started to peak over the horizon. After that, I added the higher-quality eclipse shots over where they originally went and that is how this composition came together.
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