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Between a rock and a hard place

David Yarrow:

“The location scouting industry was arguably born in the South West of America. The grandeur and vast, harsh terrain of the American South West is unequalled, serving artists and early Hollywood directors such as John Ford as a canvas for over 100 years.


This image was taken 100 miles east of our flagship location in Monument Valley, Arizona, at Shiprock in New Mexico. Shiprock is a unique towering, bird-like volcanic rock formation, visible from all directions and rising vertically nearly 1,6000 feet above the high-desert plain of the Navajo. It’s as impactful as any location in America. The first question was how to make use of such a sight; we had to have a complementary narrative and also play the light to our advantage.


On a clear day at Shiprock, we learned that the light becomes too strong just 15 minutes after sunrise. The best plan is to shoot almost exactly at sunrise, allowing enough light for the characters in the narrative to have detail without much direct light on the rock itself. It was a fine balance to get right, but I think we achieved it”.

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