Grand Teton Photography and Field Guide
Stormy Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon Storm, I love bad weather
Custom Private Southwest Tours

 

Autumn in Zion
Autumn in Zion

Growing up on the coast of Central California, it took me a while to appreciate the desert.  Initially I viewed it with a prejudiced eye as “dead country” bereft of life giving water.  Later I became a photographer and learned to see photographically, this focused my silly preconceived notions.  Legendary photographer Galen Rowell wrote a revelation somewhere stating how since the desert landscape is largely bereft of forest; it reveals the shape of the land;  (poorly paraphrased). Of course, I was drooling over the photos that accompanied the explanation which was a huge exclamation point. Today I find the many incarnations of the red rocks of the desert country simply mesmerizing.  I am thankful to Galen for opening my eyes making my tires hit the road

The American Southwest is a land of extreme harshness, most sublime, and culturally evocative landscapes on Earth. Temperature is the most obvious extreme element; there is intense heat, especially in the lower elevations, but with cool to cold nights and winter snow at higher elevations. This is why I don’t go there in the summer unless I need monsoon photos of storm clouds and lightning. The natural landscape is stark but striking, filled with bright blue skies, brown and tan sand, and the dusty greens of the sparse foliage. Water is scarce, but where rivers run, or pools form, they provide the welcome relief of an oasis of green and the juxtapositions of the oasis is a marvel to capture.

Sands of Time, Antelope Canyon, Page Arizona
Slot canyons are amazing

When it comes to unique landscapes, it’s hard to top the American Southwest. Surreal rock formations reveal a diverse and ancient geology and a rare perspective into the evolution of the planet. Zion Canyon, sometimes called, “Yosemite all dressed in red is graced with the Virgin River winding through the bottom often offers amazing leading line for the 2,000 foot towering cliffs the river carved.” Bryce Canyon, a fairytale amphitheater of spires, columns and pink pinnacles, known as hoodoos when the light is right can be mind blowing.  The iconic Grand Canyon a monumental gash in the earth; hence, its worldwide acclaim is a destination that could keep a photographer busy for years. The unreal sandstone arches scattered across the Colorado Plateau with a special concentration in Moab’s two National Parks, Canyonlands and Arches, remarkable photo elements when captured well.  The geological sculpture in the slot canyons scattered throughout are a pleasant assault on the senses. The scale of Monument Valley, and the cinematic memories it triggers is a bucket list item for any John Wayne or Forrest Gump fan. The list is endless.

As a mountain lover, I especially appreciate a characteristic that our deserts share with our Rockies. The deserts of the Colorado Plateau are uncommonly mountainous, the light is crystalline, and brilliant, making deep shadows and sparkling highlights. The juxtaposition of desert and snow covered mountains beyond are seasonal treats.  The colors of the Southwest’s autumn are just incredible when you catch them, and the textures can border on surreal, and that is the reason I return time after time.

Bryce Canyon Sunset, Bryce National Park, Utah
Bryce Canyon Sunset

I can customize a tour to your wants and needs, in 2018 I led a 10-day introduction to the Southwest tour that was very successful, we hit most of the major highlights and now am working on a tour so they can spend more time they liked best.

This tour starts with an AM pickup at a Phoenix hotel then we head to Sedona for a sunset and a sunrise.   Then off for 2 day at the Grand Canyon.  Then a day at Page Arizona for slot canyons, Horseshoe Bend and Lake Powell.  Then we were off for a sunset and sunrise at Monument Valley.   Moab was next one the list for an overview of Arches and Canyonlands National Parks for two days.  Bryce canyon was next for a sunrise and sunset.  The last night was in Zion Canyon.  From there I can drop off back at Phoenix, Denver or Las Vegas. Of course I can pick up in Las Vegas or Salt Lake City just as well.  A short tour can start right in Moab Utah, they have flights. Booking in mid October increases chances of autumn color in Sedona, Arches and Zion National Parks. March is a good time for a snowy Grand Canyon as well as snowcapped mountains throughout the tour, snow on the desert floor is a gift from above.

If you have more time or less time I can work up a plan. Book now.

Horseshoe Bend Sunrise, Colorado River, Page Arizona
Horseshoe Bend Sunrise


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