Photos from the Arizona Desert

Sat, Nov 27, 2004

Last weekend I spent some time down near Page, AZ photographing some beautiful southwest scenery.  Since I don't have the time or experience to plan something like this myself, I went with a group of people led by Steve Kossack from f-8 and be there.  Steve takes people out on photography workshops to places that he knows very well.  It is amazing what a difference an experienced leader can make to an expedition.  I had a great time and got some amazing images from the trip.

My flight to Phoenix on Thursday got in around 1:30 pm.  Steve and some of the other participants picked me up at the airport baggage claim.  We were then immediately off on a pretty long drive up to Page.  Page is right on the border between Arizona and Utah.  It's on Lake Powell, a huge serpentine lake made by the Glen Canyon Dam.  The Glen Canyon dam is on the Colorado upstream from the Grand Canyon.

Once at page, we checked in to a hotel and started our 3 days of intense field photography.  A typical day would be getting up early enough so that we could be at a good spot for sunrise.  Up in the high desert this was pretty cold this time of year.  Lows at night were somewhere around 35-40 degrees F.  We would then photograph the sunrise.  After that we would spend the day in locations that work well with overhead light.  For this trip we photographed both upper and lower Antelope Canyons.  These are amazing slot canyons that really have to be seen to be believed.  As the day wears on we would travel to another amazing location for a sunset shoot.

Besides the wonderful landscapes, the other people on a trip like this make it a very enriching experience.  It is refreshing to me to be out with people who enjoy photography so much.  It takes a certain type of person to get up at 4:30am in the cold so that you can travel two hours to be in time for the morning light.  One part of the workshop that I particularly enjoy is the print discussion.  Steve encourages everyone to bring some prints of their work.  Then, after living with each other for a couple of days, we get together to admire and discuss each others' work.  Steve also brings some of his best work for us to look at.

If you are interested in an experience like this and have a passion for photography, give Steve a call.  His upcoming Grand Canyon rafting trip looks like a trip of a lifetime.  I won't be able to make this one, but it looks like he has a couple of spots left.

As for the images that I got -- here is a start:

Horseshoe Bend at dawn

This is famous Horseshoe Bend on the Colorado river.  The river carves a perfect circle as seen from the cliff overlooking the canyon.  This was our first sunrise of the trip.  I'm always a little rusty when starting out on something like this, but I'm happy with this result.  The mountains in back (catching the sun first) are called the Vermillion Cliffs.

Technical details: 20 images stitched together (3x7) shot from my Canon 20D with the 24-70mm f/2.8L at 34mm.  Exposure was 1/25th second at f/11 and ISO 200.  I haven't done the full stitch yet (this is a small version) and so I don't know the final resolution.

Look for more images in the coming weeks as I sort through the boatload of data I captured.  As a point of reference, I ended up with ~14GB of raw data from this trip.  I'm going to run out of disk space!