Monument Valley, Utah
This place is a must for any photographer, traveller or tourist, the buttes at Monument Valley (huge sandstone stacks) stand up to 1000ft high on the desert plain.
There is a place to stay nearby called Gouldings Lodge, where you can stay in the hotel, camp up or take a cabin. It's on an Indian Reservation so to prevent any discomfort (especially if you are Scottish), take your own alcohol as you can't purchase it there.
There is a shop, restaurant and museum (if you fancy some knowledge), the first time we visited here we took a cabin with the outlaws (the wife’s parents, suitably named for this region of the country) and had a barbecue, it was a great night.
It gets very dark out here, so night photography can also be achieved and I’m sure you could find some amazing backdrops with the rocks for composition.
It’s pretty dusty out there so keep your gear in you bag unless you are using it, put it away after a quick wipe when your done. Best way to get the images is later on at night and very early in the morning, there tends to be very harsh desert sun during the day and the red / orange landscape becomes quite burnt out. There usually isn’t much in the way of cloud activity unless you can catch a storm to add to the atmosphere so either use the blue sky as two thirds or one third of your image and a gradient filter wouldn’t go amiss.
You can access Monument Valley from the south (Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon etc) or from the North (Arches National Park, Canyonlands) and we have done it in both directions whilst travelling through Arizona and Utah.
I dare anyone to access it in the southerly direction through the Moki Dugway, which is possibly one of the worlds most terrifying roads to travel down, make sure your brakes work well!
If you get a chance you can also get to Goosenecks from here, just head back up to Mexican Hat and take a left, there are some amazing opportunity for photos there too. The last time we visited we stayed in Mexican Hat at the Canyonlands Motel (Mexican Hat Lodge), where they had a barbecue and half way through the meal their garage door opened to reveal a live band playing some good country tunes for entertainment. You can also choose to have a steak from the Swinging Steak barbecue which is something to experience in itself!