Whirlwind Photography Trek: Arizona & Utah - Part 1

April 07, 2012  •  1 Comment


Lake Powell, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Arizona-Utah Border In January, 2012,  we made a whirl wind photo trek to Havasu Falls, the Grand Canyon, Lake Powell, Lower Antelope Canyon (slot canyon) and Horseshoe Bend.  I'm still sorting through lots of images, both of landscapes and people.  Over the next few weeks, we'll post some photos and videos from the trip.

Having visited lots of other parts of the country, I know all too well that it's hard to map out these kind of photo expeditions, to make lodging reservations, etc..  As photographers, we all want to cover as much ground as possible, while still allowing some time for exploration and unscheduled photo shoots.  It's our hope that the travel information shared here may be of help to other photographers and hikers. 

Havasu Falls 2, Arizona The travel itineary for this Arizona-Utah trek was one of our most quick paced to date, involving a bit more driving time than I would prefer for such a brief trip. At the same time, we managed to hit all of our photography destinations on schedule with ample shooting time. It was also a great opportunity for my nephew and niece to experience many different facets of the great Southwest.

Our guiding principles in landscape photography trip planning:

  • Map out photography destinations and logistics in the early trip planning, taking into account lighting conditions and hiking times. 
  • Be in position - "on the scene" - to capture  photos during the Golden Hour, both in the mornings and evenings. 
  • Schedule automobile travel from to mid-mornings to mid-afternoon and during the darkness of night. 
  • Carry lots of nutritious snacks and water in the vehicle and backpacks, allowing the team to hike and photograph through regular meal times.         

Our schedule for this most recent 4.5 day photography trip to Northern Arizona and Utah: 

  • Wed evening: Travel to a hotel in Seligman, a small town approximately 85 miles from Haulapai Hilltop (trailhead for the hike to Supai Village)

  • Thur AM: Travel to Haulapai Hilltop (trail head) and hike 9 miles to Supai Village, check into lodge and have lunch

  • Thurs PM: Hike 2 miles for photo shoots at Havasu and Rock Falls

  • Friday AM:  Hike 2 miles for photo shoot at Rock and Navajo Falls

  • Friday Noon: Helicopter back to trailhead parking lot

  • Friday afternoon: Travel to the Grand Canyon (Hopi Point), South Rim, for sunset photos

  • Saturday AM: Sunrise photos at Grand Canyon (Yavapai Point)

  • Saturday AM: Travel to Page for photography in Lower Antelope Canyon 

  • Saturday PM: Off road drive into Utah to Alstrom Point, for sunset photos of Lake Powell

  • Sunday AM: Photography at Horseshoe Bend, outside of Page

  • Sunday mid-day: Return trip to Phoenix

  • Sunday evening: Family barbeque, sharing of unedited photos on I-pad and war stories "from the field," with color commentary from my brother and fellow photographer, Brian Reinkensmeyer. 

Havasu Falls and Canyon Wall Reflections 1, Arizona In retrospect, although this photography trip was one of our most productive, an extra day or two would have been ideal.  Our tight schedule did not permit us to visit Mooney or Beaver Falls. Also, as luck would have it, lighting conditions during our one afternoon at Havasu Falls were not ideal. One extra day in Supai Village would provide ample time to visit the more remote waterfalls and to photograph the falls under different lighting conditions throughout the day.  

Additional time at the Grand Canyon would also be desirable, allowing time for some day hikes on the Kaibab or Bright Angel Trails. Here again, a longer stay at the canyon also increases the likelihood of some interesting cloud formations or weather, making for unique canyon images.     

In planning this trip and other Arizona-Utah photography expeditions, we've found Laurent Matres' book, Photographing the Southwest: A Guide to the Natural Landmarks of Arizona, to be a most valuable reference. The updated version of the book (2nd edition) includes many colored landscape photos, detailed travel directions and practical shooting tips.  

More about our whirlwind photography trip to follow shortly, in Part 2:  Havasupai Falls.

Hopi Point, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona (5)


Grand Canyon, South Rim, Hopi Point

Related posts: Antelope Canyon, Snow Laced Grand Canyon and Havasu Falls

For more Arizona images and hyper focal landscape photography techniques, see Autumn Colors: Hart Prairie Road, Flagstaff, Arizona and West Fork Trail, Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona: Part 2 - Autumn

Murphy's Law can create some unforeseen travel challenges, despite the most careful trip planning, Yosemite Winter Landscapes: Photography Field Notes













Len Cicio(non-registered)
Hi Marcus,

I'm a fine artist living in Inwood Manhattan and your photographs are beautifully other worldly. Would I be allowed to do my own interpretations of your photographs but also mention your name as the photographer on my art website? let me know if that could work for you. hard for met to travel out there right now. Your presentation is also nicely done.
No comments posted.

Landscape photography techniques, photo expedition travel planning and hiking tips.  

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