Exploring Arizona and Zion

Last week, I took six days to do a little photography scouting trip of some new locations and of some that I hadn’t been to in over 30 years. Here are some of the results of that recon trip.

One thing that was a bit of a photographer’s “nightmare” was the fact that I saw only one, puny, wispy little cloud the entire six days I was in the area. Just one. Blue skies are okay, but a little interest in the form of white, puffy clouds would have been nice.

[Note: You can click on the photos below to open a photo carousel. If you want to see the images at full size, scroll down and click on the “full size” link at the bottom right.]

Sedona, Arizona

I had never been to the Sedona / Oak Creek area which is known for its amazingly colored rock formations. The rock formations didn’t disappoint, but what did was their proximity to civilization. It made getting photos without buildings in them a bit more challenging.

I did make it to Oak Creek Canyon north of Sedona, which I really enjoyed, but I didn’t make it to the west fork of Oak Creek, which I believe is quite epic from what I’ve heard. Next trip.

Grand Canyon National Park

My last visit to the Grand Canyon was in November 1981 when I was in the Navy driving my car from Newport, Rhode Island to Oakland, California so it could be shipped to Honolulu, Hawaii.

It was a brisk 21° F / -6° C when I arrived at the park on Wednesday morning, with constant 20+ mph / 32 km/h winds blowing. By late afternoon, the temperature warmed to a balmy 28° F / -2° C and the winds had died down, thankfully. The winds and extraordinarily dry humidity meant that there was little dust or haze in the canyon, which was fantastic.

Horseshoe Bend / Page, Arizona

This was my first visit to Horseshoe Bend near Page, Arizona, and I could have timed it a little better. I should have set my alarm about an hour and a half earlier to get there before the rising sun turned the scene into an exposure nightmare. Even so, I’m pleased with the way this image turned out under the circumstances. (This is a single exposure; not an HDR image.) Definitely bring your wide angle lens. This was shot on my 16-35 mm at about 20 mm on a full-frame camera.

I opted to skip nearby Antelope Canyon on this trip and will save it for a re-do of the Horseshoe Bend photo under better conditions.

Early morning at Horseshoe Bend

Zion National Park, Utah

The last time that I was in Zion National Park was on another one of my Navy cross-country trips in the 1980s, and it was just a quick pass through the park (in the days when you could drive your car all the way into the valley).

I entered from the east side of the park this time, and most of the images below are from that side of the park.

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