A few times a year there's an interesting shadow play that takes place in Monument Valley (that familiar place on the Utah/Arizona border where John Ford made all those great John Wayne westerns). The sun sets in such a position that it casts the shadow of one of the Mitten Buttes on the other. It's a scene I've long wanted to photograph, and happens around my birthday each year. (And again roughly six months later.) Well, I decided that the possibility of combining the Monument Valley Mitten Butte shadow with this year's perfectly timed moonrise was just too good to pass up, so I made a banzai drive down there Sunday. I totally misjudged the time it would take to get there from Colorado Springs, and even leaving at 10am, I got to Monument Valley at 6:40pm, only 20 minutes before moonrise. Phew! Close call! It was killing me going through the San Juans in southwest Colorado with clouds hanging all over the place and lots of stormy weather all around, but I was so determined to get to MV in time that even if Elvis riding a unicorn had crossed Highway 145 right in front of me, I would've kept on truckin'. Didn't really matter, since the moon was a little farther right than I had thought it would be, just left of Merrick Butte, and there were thick, lightning-spitting clouds all around that prevented the infamous shadow scene from appearing. Oh well. I tried to get some lightning shots, because it was popping off all over the place, but failed in that attempt. This is just about the only scene I came away with for my 500 miles of trouble. As always, click the image to see a larger version.