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Archive 2013 · Roadtrip to the Southwest... what not to miss?
  
 
PeakPhoto
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Roadtrip to the Southwest... what not to miss?


Hey everyone,

I'm heading down to the southwest (Utah, Arizona, etc) in early May as soon as school gets out. I'm mainly heading down to shoot, but the girlfriend is going with me as well so that should be fun as this is her first big adventure with me (we adventure here in Montana all the time though).

I'll be going for probably 9 days as I need to be back by the 18th as I have a shoot in Costa Rica. I'll be camping some of the time and getting cheap hotels other times. So any campground recommendations would be great too! Especially ones where I can night shoot from or near there.

I'm mainly a landscape photographer and I love doing night shots as well. If you want an example of the type of work i do you can visit my website http://www.peakphotographymt.com/.

I've been down to the Southwest a good number of times, but never as a photog. I rafted the Colorado through the Grand Canyon two years ago. And I visited Canyonlands when I was younger and loved it!

I'm thinking of hitting Bryce and Zion (never been) and Canyonlands but I'm really not sure. I have seen pictures of Antelope Canyon and it's always been a dream to go there, but I know there are a lot of regulations. Plus I have no idea where it even is ha. Any recommendations of where to go would be great! Both hikes and great drives.

What I'm bringing for gear: Canon 6D and Canon 60D. 16-35 F/2.8, Canon 70-200 F/2.8 IS II, Canon 24mm TS-E, Canon 24-105, Oben tripod, F-stop Tilopa bag.

I appreciate any and all advice.

Happy shooting,

Andy



Apr 06, 2013 at 11:45 PM
tommyc601
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Roadtrip to the Southwest... what not to miss?


I live in Gilbert, AZ (transplanted from the Bronx) and the southwest abounds in places to shoot. I'm hitting Bryce and Zion, as well as the North Rim in June. You really can't come out here, though, and not got to Antelope Canyon. It is just outside Page, AZ, about a 4 hour ride from Phoenix. The canyon is on Indian reservation so you must take a guided tour. There are a bunch of companies in Page that provide tours. Make sure you get the photographer's tour so that you will have a little extra time in the Canyon to shoot. It is chaotic and dusty but well worth it. You do need a tripod and a remote trigger, either wireless or wired. The ride to the canyon from Page takes about 30 minutes and we were in an open jeep with 6 others traveling at 70mph until we got to the sand dunes. Then he slowed it down to 60mph.

Not far from Page is Monument Valley. I think worth the trip. We stayed at The View Hotel, the only hotel in the park. Again, it's on indian reservation so they have the market cornered. That's not to say that the hotel is not worth it. Every room has a spectacular view of the valley and some of my best shots were taken from my hotel room balcony. Sedona is also a great area for iconic southwest imagery. Getting a bit commercialized now but the red mountains are worth the trip.



Apr 07, 2013 at 12:08 AM
alatoo60
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Roadtrip to the Southwest... what not to miss?


My suggestion would be to start with reading books by Laurent Martres, he has most of topics covered already.

As about Antelope Canyons, there are two, Upper has more visitors and you need a tour guide, in lower you are much more on your own - you can get 2-hour photographer pass just by paying regular admission fee and showing your cool camera. Take tripod and extra batteries, wear good shoes and do not change lens while down there - it's dusty.

Regarding campgrounds - not sure North Rim will be open, but I really like the campground over there, and last time I looked it was not 100% booked. South Rim is pretty good too.
Keep in mind that Rt.89 is currently closed from Bitter Springs to Page due to the storm damage, so plan accordingly.



Apr 07, 2013 at 12:33 AM
Dustin Gent
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Roadtrip to the Southwest... what not to miss?


Personally, I would rather shoot the Grand Staircase area over Antelope. Antelope Canyon is going to be wicked, crazy busy, and you will just end up being frustrated with all the people.


Apr 07, 2013 at 01:19 AM
PeakPhoto
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Roadtrip to the Southwest... what not to miss?


Thank you everyone for the great advice and starting points. I'll definitely check out the books by Laurent Martres.

Andy



Apr 07, 2013 at 05:03 PM
Greg Campbell
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Roadtrip to the Southwest... what not to miss?


If you've never been to Jackalope Canyon, it's arguably worth the drive. To avoid the worst of the Cattle Drive, I'd suggest you visit the 'lower' section. http://www.lowerantelope.com/ Get the two hour pass that allows you to wander w/o an otherwise mandatory guide. When you reach the climb-out ladder, reverse course and work your way back up. The light will have changed significantly....

Buckskin Gulch is just down the road from Page and makes a fantastic 1/2 day photohike.

Also near Page is Horseshoe Bend. Best by sunrise or sunset. (Don't do what most others do and visit after your Jackalope tour, during the harsh mid-day light -Yuk!) If you have time, stroll along one rim or the other to flee the tripod holes and crowds.

Jackalope is far from the only pretty canyon. Research some of http://www.americansouthwest.net/slot_canyons/map.html



In general, there are gazillions of pretty places to visit. The more locations you scout out, the less driving required to reach the next one (and, naturally, the more you'll see!) 7 days is a respectable tour, but is at the same time laughably insufficient. Don't try to 'hit' some bucket list filled with widely separated destinations. Suggest you spend some time with Google Earth or Maps, with the photos layer enabled so you can see what's what.

The Utah State Parks are superb, offering clean campgrounds, showers, etc.
Other than that, you can pitch a tent on most of the BLM or NFS land, usually for free.

Highway 24/12 between GoblinValley and Bryce is superb.
As is 95 between Hanksville and Valley of the Gods.
Burr Trail Road, east of Boulder. If road conditions allow, continue on to Notom Rd and Capitol Reef.
Cottonwood Canyon, Skutumpah, and Hole in the Rock roads all lead to fantastic scenery. All are dirt and all turn to owl poo when significantly wet. Keep an eye on http://www.usa-reporter.com/reporter/GSENM-Road-Condition-Report.pdf

GSENM has more stuff than you could see in a hundred trips. Start here
http://www.blm.gov/pgdata/etc/medialib/blm/ut/grand_staircase-escalante/photos/gsenm_visitor_information.Par.40678.File.dat/07brochurefinal05-02.pdf

Enjoy!



Apr 07, 2013 at 08:21 PM
 

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Greg Campbell
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Roadtrip to the Southwest... what not to miss?


As for 'gears,' a remote shutter release, be it a cable+button or wireless, may come in handy.

If you do a search for Antelope, you'll see varied advice regarding sky glare, study tripods, and a possible rain of sand and grit if the wind is blowing above. A big ziplock bag and a few rubber bands may come in very handy.



Apr 07, 2013 at 10:37 PM
PeakPhoto
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Roadtrip to the Southwest... what not to miss?


Appreciate the advice Greg. I forgot about Horseshoe Bend as I've seen tons of beautiful images there as well and have always wanted to visit. Great to hear it's nearby.

I've got to do some research as far as a new tripod. I really want a carbon fiber one, but every carbon fiber I've used have seemed like they aren't sturdy because of being so light. But my oben is just too heavy to packing around everywhere.

Thanks again Greg.



Apr 07, 2013 at 10:50 PM
PeakPhoto
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Roadtrip to the Southwest... what not to miss?


I really wanted to bump this to ask a couple question that hopefully someone could answer.

1. I really want to go to Antelope Canyon as I mentioned before, can anyone reccomend a good tour to go with? Googling just gives me endless results, so I thought I might be able to get some personal feedback.

2. What are some awesome places to night shoot that are accessible from the road? I'm thinking a few nights I'll probably sleep in my car while I pursue some great night shots. I'll be down when there won't be much moon so I cool canyons won't show up as much as if I can get next to arches etc.

I'm probably not going to make it all the way down to the Grand Canyon due to time constraints and almost all of my time in Southern Utah (dipping down to Arizona just for Antelope).

Any help would be great! I leave in a week.

Andy



Apr 28, 2013 at 03:19 AM
stanparker
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Roadtrip to the Southwest... what not to miss?


For such a short trip, I recommend you pick one area and thoroughly explore it. You can find plenty to do around Moab, around Page, around Zion, around Escalante or around Capitol Reef. Trying to see them all will frustrate you and you will not get the best shots. Most of these places have commercial campgrounds or government-run (cheap) campgrounds, which are often in the most scenic locations. Most of these places also have spots where night photography is good. Near Page is Alstrom Point and many spots along House Rock Vally Road.


Apr 28, 2013 at 10:02 AM
oldrattler
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Roadtrip to the Southwest... what not to miss?


Andy; We are camping at Goulding's ( http://www.gouldings.com/campground/ ) in Monument valley right now. We have been visiting Arizona for the last month and are working our way up to Moab ( http://www.moabvalleyrv.com/ ).. Southern Arizona is getting "Hot" now. Temps. 95-102. So I would avoid it. I agree with StanParker, "Do not try to see it all". From Monument Valley we have seen; Hovenweep, Valley of the God's, Natural Bridges, Gooseneck State park.. From Moab we will be after Arches, Canyonlands, Fisher Towers, Dead Horse Point, and Maybe Goblin State Park as an overnite side trip. Most state parks offer camping. Check out BLM areas as most allow camping, and finally and possibly the most important, Have Fun. If you turn it into a marathon you & your woman will not be cuddling at night.


Apr 28, 2013 at 10:57 AM
PeakPhoto
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Roadtrip to the Southwest... what not to miss?


Thank you both. I agree about not trying to do too much. This is the reason I cut out the Grand Canyon from my trip and I want to focus pretty much solely on Southern Utah.

Really not making too many plans and will mostly be going with the flow. It's all about having some fun as you said oldrattler. It's been a crazy semester at school so it's good to get out and live it up before I have to be back for football workouts. And the trip immediately after this is to Costa Rica, which will be fun no doubt. But it's a work photography trip shooting for Kelty Backpacks, so it's going to get a little crazy.

Thanks again,

Andy



Apr 28, 2013 at 08:50 PM





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