So I finally kind of finished going through my photos from my trip with my dad to the southwest this past March. It was a lot going through all of the photos I had taken and trying to find the best ones from each spot, especially because it was my first time in the region and I really fell in love with it. Besides you can never fully capture the feeling of a place with a photo, but you can try.
We flew into Las Vegas on a Thursday, which ended up being a Friday because of a Delay, and got a hotel outside of the city around 2AM local time (which was about 5AM our time). I didn’t take any pictures of the city, we drove down the strip just to see it but we were both exhausted and really just wanted to find a place to sleep. The next day I got my first glimpses of the southwest landscape, and honestly just driving through it was one of my favorite parts about this trip. Our first stop was Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam. I didn’t take too many pictures that really stood out to me here, but the one below looking over the spillway at the dam was kind of cool.
After that we spent most of the day driving through Arizona towards the main overlooks of the Grand Canyon. We spent another night near the park entrance and went in first thing the next morning. It was amazing seeing this for the first time, and really demonstrates how hard it is to capture something as impressive as that in a photo. My favorite was from near the Desert View Watchtower (I believe that’s part of Navajo Point). It’s the first image in this post.
We drove out of the Grand Canyon park and stopped at the Little Colorado River Navajo Tribal Park. I loved this spot because it was so quiet and peaceful (hardly anyone was around) and yet you still had a really spectacular view. I don’t feel like I got anything too great here, I was mostly focused on enjoying it for myself, but this is about what it looked like.
And there was this tree there that I liked.
We left sometime in the mid afternoon and headed north towards Page Arizona and Horseshoe Bend. Horseshoe Bend is something I’ve wanted to see for a long time, in fact I probably would have been happy if it was the only thing I got to see. It’s just outside of Page so we decided to get a hotel in the city and go out a little before sunset. It’s a cool place, completely free (which seems weird to me coming from New York) you just park in a dirt lot on the side of the road and walk about a half mile over a slightly hilly path to the edge of the canyon. It was drizzling on and off which will often bring out some pretty cool features in the sky, like this rainbow I saw on the way.
And then we made it to the edge. Definitely one of my favorite views, and again the picture is nothing like being there. I found a pretty good spot before the crowds started to come. It’s a popular place (probably especially being a Saturday night). I didn’t want to lose my spot before the light got just right so I ended up sitting on the edge for about an hour while my dad paced around nervously a few yards back. I just wanted a simple wide angle shot with a little atmosphere and color in the sky, and I feel like I got it. I especially loved how clear the reflections in the water were coming out.
The next day we basically just relaxed in the area around Page. There’s so much nearby and you could really spend a lot more time there than we did. We drove up by Lake Powell which is where I got the picture below.
After I took this I wanted to go down into that little cove you can see in the picture, and from where we were it didn’t seem too far and the climb didn’t seem that steep. I started working my way down and quickly realized that the look of this hill was deceiving. I made it down though, and tried to take a picture to show how steep it was. It didn’t look that impressive in the pictures I was taking from the bottom but I was able to get an overview shot later on when we were looking out over the lake from the Glen Canyon Dam.
You should be able to see the road winding around near the top and a car parked, that’s where we were. I climbed straight down that in flat sneakers and only tripped once when I was already at the bottom. Now I feel better about myself. Below is the picture I went down there to take.
Now we moved on from Lake Powell and took a ride down 98 to see the area. I saw this mesa (or butte, not really sure) and had this idea for a shot. We pulled over and I set up my camera to take a series of images (with paying special attention to frame it without the fence that was right in front of me).
I stitched the photos together after I got home and the following is what I got. I was really happy with this, it’s always a good feeling when you have a vision in your head and your able to produce just that.
That night back at the hotel my dad found this balcony down the hall from our room that had a pretty awesome view of the north side of the city. It was especially awesome having the road there winding down towards the canyon. I set up my camera there around sunset and was able to get this sun-star shot with my wide angle lens.
And about a half hour later the colors in the sky really came out and I took this one with my 60mm lens.
The following day (Monday) we headed out of Page and into Utah, the main plan here was to go to Zion National Park but I wanted to see if there was anything cool to stop at along the way. I noticed about midway between Page and Zion there was the ghost town of Paria Utah and I thought that sounded pretty awesome. There’s a memorial kind of thing telling you about the town on the side of US 89 where a dirt road takes you in. We followed that and it was pretty smooth for a few miles before we turned a corner and both sides of the road seemed to just drop off. That’s where I saw the following image. This is technically part of the Grand Staircase National Monument and something about all of the colors in the mountains made me think of Dr. Seuss. I did a wide angle panorama which gives this a nearly 180 degree view (If I had to guess I’d say 160 degrees). You can see the road on the far left and just a little past the right edge is the other side of the road. By the way the actual town was a few more miles down the road, and I guess for some reason I thought there would be buildings or something down there. It was just a cemetery and a few plaques designating the site. I’m happy we went though.
The next image I really liked was this one from the northern section of Zion. We went there before going to the main section of the park because it’s a lot less crowded. This was cool because besides a few hikers every now and then we were completely alone. This is a panorama I took with my 60mm lens from off of the Hop Valley Trail. You can see Red Butte in the mid ground and Black Ridge in the background. At least I’m about 90% sure that’s what you can see, sometimes I’m bad with mountains. I love the contrast between the two very different mountains.
That was one of the last images I took on this trip. We did go down to the main part of Zion after this. After about an hour and a half of walking and bus rides we made it to the start of the trail towards the Narrows, it was closed at the time because of flooding but I wanted to see the start of it. So we went down the trail and found a cool spot so I took off my backpack to get my camera out. Unfortunately I had never put my camera back in my bag after we left the northern section. So I was more than an hour bus ride from my camera in a place I had wanted to go to for quite some time. I had my phone but it just wasn’t the same. I took that as a sign to just enjoy being there. I did use my phone for a few shots and videos just to have and we walked down the rest of the trail to the Narrows as it started to rain. I’m glad we did it, if for nothing else to say we saw it. Below is the proof :)
After that we headed back to our car and spent a night in St. George before driving back to Las Vegas in the morning for our flight home. All in all one of my favorite trips. We saw so much in a relatively short period of time and still felt like we had enough time to enjoy it all. I do want to spend some more time there in the future, but now I have a list of all the things I missed.