Between 22 November and 5 December I was lucky enough to travel to USA for second time in 2015. The trip focused primarily on the national and state parks found in Southern Utah and Northern Arizona. I’d travelled to the same area in the spring of 2011 and enjoyed it a lot. As with many of my previous trips to the US this one was arranged by Roger Reynolds at PhotoVentures. In total, the group was made up of 8 photographers from various parts of the UK, although we had all travelled together on previous occasions.
On the morning of our first day we spent a few hours near Sedona in Red Rock Park by the Oak River, the area may remind you of scenes from the film ‘How the West was won’ and the many other westerns that were filmed close by. It was a beautiful morning with glorious light mixing with the trees and late fall colours along the river.
Cathedral Rock, Oak Creek, Sedona
From Sedona we made our way via Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon National Park where we would close out the day photographing the canyon from one of the viewpoints near Grand Canyon Village.
Hopi Point Overlook, Grand Canyon National Park
The second day began with an early start photographing the sunrise and morning light along the Grand Canyon rim.
Vishnu Temple and Wotans Throne from Yaki Point, Grand Canyon National Park
Later that morning we visited Desert View before heading off on our journey to Page. Along the way we stopped at Cameron for few shots of the Little Colorado River Gorge. We passed through the outskirts of The Painted Desert, the towns of The Gap, Cedar Ridge and Bitter Springs before climbing onto the Colorado Plateau with its magnificent views of Page and Lake Powell in the distance. After checking into our hotel we travelled to an overlook above Waheap bay, which has spectacular views of Lake Powell. The sunset and afterglow was well worth the trip.
Navajo Power Station at Sunset, Page
Our third day was spent photographing Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon near Page. Originally, we had planned to split this over two days, but on arrival at the upper canyon we realised that this wouldn’t be possible due to the large number of visitors taking advantage of the excellent weather and Thanksgiving holiday.
Upper Antelope Canyon, Lake Powel Navajo Tribal Park
Our fourth day was spent photographing around the Glen Canyon Dam at Page and Horseshoe Bend then on to photograph the Toadstools of the Grand Staircase-Escalente National Monument.
Horseshoe Bend, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
The Toadstools, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
Having spent 3 day at Page it was now time to on to our next destination – Zion National Park. We travelled through spectacular areas such as Vermilion Cliff Wilderness and the Paria Canyon Wilderness. We also managed a short detour to the Johnson Canyon Movie set before travelling on to the town of Springdale near Zion National Park
Old Movie Set, Johnson Canyon
We spent the next 3 days photographing in Zion National Park. As with the previous days the weather and lighting was kind to us.
Lone Tree, Zion National Park
Watchman and Virgin River at Sunset, Zion National Park
On our last day at Zion we went into the park very early hoping for a few good sunrise photos.
Sunrise at Towers of the Virgin, Zion National Park
Having had a good breakfast we began out journey Bryce. This took us past Checkerboard Mesa to Carmel Junction giving us a final opportunity to capture images of the amazing rock formations and landscapes of Zion.
By this stage the weather was getting much colder, and we’d been told that there was heavy snow at Bryce. We arrived at Bryce as the light was fading having stopped along the way to photograph the hoodoos and snow at Red Rock Canyon.
Next morning we were made our way to Sunset Point to photograph the Sunrise (crazy, but true).
Sunrise, Bryce Canyon National Park
Ampitheatre in Morning Light, Bryce Canyon National Park
Having spent two full days at Bryce we made an early start on the third. We began our journey to Hanksville taking Route 12 through Tropic to Cannonville. We continued on to Escalante. Our journey was through the heart of Garfield County and its many photographic opportunities. Along the way we passed along the Escalante River and into the heart of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. This National Monument was only designated just a few years ago. On leaving the town of Escalante we travelled the 6 miles to ‘Hole in the Rock Road’ where we divert south to visit Devils Garden where we photographed the hoodoos.
Hoodoos, Devils Garden, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
From the Grand Staircase-Escalante we travelled on to Hanksville where we spent the night. Next morning we travelled the few miles from Hanksville to Frutia and into Capitol Reef National Park. We spent a good few hours in the park visiting amazing rock formations in various canyons and gorges.
Desert Varnish and Tree, Capitol Gorge, Capitol Reef National Park
Having spent just over a week in Southern Utah it was now time to head back into Arizona where we spent the next few days photographing in Monument Valley and then Canyon de Chelly.
Our first stop was Monument Valley. We arrived in good time for sunset, although the best shots were captured after the sun had dropped below the horizon. The red rocks glowed in the dying light.
Twilight, Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park
It was an early rise next morning to photograph the sunrise. Fortunately, I only needed to walk a few steps across the bedroom to capture them.
Sunrise, Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park
We spent the remainder of the morning in the park with a Navajo guide before travelling on to Chinle where we spend the next day photographing in Canyon de Chelly.
As with Monument Valley we had to arrange for a Navajo guide to take us into the canyon. As we travelled along the Chinle Wash the guide pointed out many of the Anasazi Cliff dwellings, Petroglyphs and Pictographs. The principal ruins are the White House, Antelope House, Standing Cow and Mummy Cave.
Ancient Cliff Dwelling, Canyon De Chelly National Monument
Frozen Creek, Canyon De Chelly National Monument
Having spent 13 days travelling through Southern Utah and Northern Arizona it was now time to make our way back to Phoenix via Flagstaff. We headed south along Route 89a for through Sedona to the town of Jerome. This amazing mining town appears to have remained unchanged since it was built in the previous century. From Jerome we took the short drive to the Gold King Mine & Ghost Town. This is an abandoned mining village. Here we were able to capture some the many classic american cars that are stored there.
Classic Racing Car, Gold King Mine Ghost Town, Jerome
Of course, we also managed to get a few photographs of the owner – Don Robertson.
Don Robertson, Gold King Mine Ghost Town, Jerome
All being well, I will post a more comprehensive photo gallery in the New Year
All photographs were processed using Adobe Lightroom 6.3 on my Apple MacBook Pro. Obviously, being a laptop the display is far from ideal for serious photos editing.