Breathtaking Documentary Beauty

  Three Sisters - Monument Valley, Navajo Tribal ParkBreathtaking documentary beauty abounds! From the amazing pieces of Dark Art that I have discovered, to the supportive people and astounding landscapes, this journey has been unforgettable! For those of you who do not know, early last week I traveled to Chinle and Kayenta, Arizona, to film time-lapses of rocks, clouds, landscapes and the sun. Synchronicity landed me at a gorgeous Best Western, in a one horse town seemingly populated by 99% Navajo residents. Two hotels, five restaurants (if you include fast food in the restaurant category), and three gas stations made for simple amenities, but the “Junction Restaurant” in the parking lot of the Best Western made for easy, local meals. I have never encountered such an amazing and welcoming group of people! A twenty minute drive in the intense Arizona sun and I was ready to scout the perfect spot. After making my way down the side of a sheer 600 feet cliff, Canyon de Chelly - White House Ruinscovering one and half miles, carrying approximately 135 pounds of film equipment, I located the White House Ruins. While my camera captured the sun moving across red rock faces, behind which turbulent cumulous clouds spun spirals against cerulean blue skies, I chatted with a group of Navajo kids ranging from seven to twenty-two. They were taking a day off from ranching to help their grandmother sell art near the ruins. Knowing that the return climb would be far more intense than the descent, I lounged in the shade of a tree and enjoyed the stories of lightning and cattle wrangling, eagle spirits guarding the canyon and simple western life.  IMG_9140 After a late evening, sunset time-lapse near Rough Rock, I headed back to my hotel room to get some work done. The next day I checked out and traveled to Monument Valley in Navajo Tribal Park. I sought the iconic John Ford Point where Stagecoach was filmed in 1936, for the depth of field and late evening shadow play. Most people who see images of this place immediately have a contemporary reference for it, and truth be told, I think every filmmaker wants to shoot there! The morning yielded a beautiful time-lapse of the sun pushing shadows across a fifteen mile rock face. As I readied to pack up and find another spot, I encountered a Chirikawa guide, Martin L. Samaniego, who works for an intriguing Navajo woman with at least eight generations of family born on the spot where we stood. We set up camp near their fry bread stand and talked photography until evening time, when I was able to get a full sunset looking out from the classic John Ford Point. Rather than spend money on another night I hit the road and made the seven hour drive home under a bulging half moon, all the while ruminating over the exciting developments and my plans for the footage! IMG_9377With the patience and support of Chet Zar, I Like to Paint Monsters is taking an extraordinary form! In the mean time Chet Zar has offered up his iconic 16×20″ oil painting, “The Anxious Robot”, on a month long raffle to generate more funding for the documentary. The raffle will run until August 20th at 9am, with the drawing occurring at 11am PST, streaming live! Five prizes in total with unlimited $25 entries, and every raffle entry comes with an autographed I Like to Paint Monsters sticker! RAFFLE

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    Cristina Maria

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    …wow!!!! amazing….I do not have enough words to express my feeings when I have had the opportunity to read about your experience in the Grand Canyon County….
    All that I could say is that I m in loved about that place ….God’s Country…. the Great Spirit is there in Moniment Valey .
    As soon as could be possible I ll be back…
    With respect
    Cristina Maria Simplicean

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