King of Wings is a crazy hoodoo rock formation west of Nageezi, New Mexico, near the Bisti Badlands, De-Na-Zin Wilderness, Valley of Dreams, and Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah Wilderness areas. Photographing this unique feature rose to the top of the to-do list, and the planning started.
The first King of Wings photography challenge occurs during online research. "King of Wings" search results are primarily related to a chicken part covered in BBQ sauce. Adding location-related keywords easily resolved that problem, and considerably more challenging obstacles remained. Getting there was one of them.
The King of Wings trailhead (a generous term) is another long-drive-from-everywhere New Mexico location. The last roads (about 17 miles of them) are rutted, and the final drive is a rough two-track. This long slab of rock hanging about 10' (3m) beyond the pillar holding it is another GPS-guided two-mile hike across a non-descript trailless desert.
Based on scouting, this lens's focal length range had the optimal angles of view. This lens delivers superb optical quality, and the R5 is my go-to camera for nearly everything.
King of Wings is unique enough to be photogenic at any time of the day, but the timing goal for this shoot was such that the setting sun would cast a warm light tone practically upward as it set.
With only a few minutes of the ideal light color, it was imperative that clouds not be present. However, clouds in the background would be welcomed. The weather forecast indicating a clearing sky at sunset seemed optimal, and it was go time.
The long hike back to the SUV in the dark and subsequent drive to the airport were better with the knowledge that another goal shot was on the memory card.