Arizona

Sedona

Sedona Map Sedona MapINFO: Sedona is a city that straddles the county line between Coconino and Yavapai counties in the northern Verde Valley region of the U.S. state of Arizona.

YEAR: Summer 2010

STORY:  After our helicopter adventure we left the Grand Canyon national park and started our descend back to our start point in Arizona, Phoenix. We had planned to make a quick visit in Sedona and refuel our car and stomachs as well. First we had to drive for more then one hour to reach Flagstaff, and then change direction to Sedona. We didn’t expect to see so very much vegetation on this part of the trip since  we where on a similar road from Phoenix to Flagstaff. Flagstaff is situated about 2000 meter over sea level, and to reach Sedona we had to drive on a really small and speed reduced serpentine road. It was really interesting to see how vegetation and landscape gradually changed the closer we got to Sedona. In the area we saw a little stream which supplied the whole area with water,  making the vegetation and forest flourish. We passed a few view points on our descend, but due to plenty of cars in front and behind, we decided not to stop.

Sedona was a little and beautiful town located in a valley between big and reddish sandstone formations, well known as Red Rocks of Sedona. The formations appear to glow in brilliant orange and red when illuminated by the rising or setting sun. The Red Rocks present a breathtaking backdrop for everything from spiritual pursuits to the hundreds of hiking and mountain biking trails.

We parked our car with intention to find some refreshment and recharge our power. It was much colder than we expected, probably 5-10 Celsius less,  but still hot enough… around 35 C  (95F). It was late afternoon and we still had a lot off car driving to do and this made our stay quite short. We found a store with beautiful handmade Indian crafts and we bought a few silver and stone combined jewelry. On the way back just a few kilometer outside town, we made a stop on the first view point and Itook a few shots.

This short story completes our brief but eventful trip to Arizona. It is a wast land with so much to see and to discover,  and we will definitely return, and now we know exactly where to go and how long to stay…

EQUIPMENT:
• Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II

• Lens: Canon EF 16-35 F/2.8 L USM Mark II + circular polarizing filter

PHOTOS: Sedona Sedona

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon Map Grand Canyon MapINFO: Grand Canyon is a well known steep-sided canyon carved by the Colorado River located in the United States and the state of Arizona. The Grand Canyon is 446 km or 277 miles long, up to 29 km or 18 miles wide and attains a depth of over a mile (1.83 km) (6000 feet). It is a wast area and the easiest way to get a really good overview is to charter a helicopter and fly over the entire region.

YEAR: Summer 2010

STORY: We checked out early in the morning from our hotel in Tuba city. We had planned to drive towards Flagstaff and visit “Sunset Crater” and “Wupatki National Monument” and later continue on to Grand Canyon. After we finished our visit in previous mentioned parks we took a short break in Flagstaff for a lunch. Later out trip continued by entering U.S Highway 40 and then we turned right on 64 and continued all the way to Tusayan.  We spent some time to find a hotel, and to visit the park entrance in order to buy our entrance ticket for the next morning. We also visited the helicopter company which we had booked before hand and got some information in order to prepare us for our guided flight the next day in the park area.
Our guided helicopter adventure was set to start at 11:00 AM which gave us some extra time to visit the park before this in order to take some shots from the ground. It was a nice weather with a clear blue sky and a pleasant temperature. It was a really nice experience to stay at the edge of the canyon and observe the surrounding in the morning light. I saw a few birds and a squirrel jumping around looking for food and this enriched my experience even further. We visited a few view points and then it was time to leave the park and head for the local airport. The airport was located just outside Tusayan and very easy to see from the main road (u.s 64).
After a short briefing at the main building we where ready for start. A group of pilots arrived and started to collect the passengers who had been assigned to fly with them.  We shared our ride with three other persons and when the pilot had explained the rules for how to act inside the cabin, we where ready to enter the vehicle. During the flight the pilot explained everything about the canyons history and answered all our questions. I was sitting on the right side and had a nice free view through the panoramic window. I took plenty of shots using both my camera house’s with different lenses on. Our flight lasted around 45 minutes and it was really interesting and it covered both the north and south rim of the canyon. The whole flight was safe and comfortable without any kind of problems. I will post a few shots taken both from the air and from the ground.

EQUIPMENT:

• Camera: Canon EOS 1D Mark IV

• Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II

• Lens: Canon EF 16-35 F/2.8 L USM Mark II + circular polarizing filter

• Lens: Canon EF 24-105 F/4 L IS USM + circular polarizing filter

PHOTOS:

Flagstaff Area

Flagstaff Map Flagstaff MapINFO: Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument is a U.S. National Monument in the north-central part of Arizona, intended to protect Sunset Crater, a cinder cone that is part of the San Francisco Volcanic Field. It is maintained by the National Park Service in close conjunction with nearby “Wupatki National Monument” rich in Native American ruins.

YEAR: Summer 2010

STORY: We rose and shined early from our hotel in Tuba city. We had planned to drive towards Flagstaff and visit “Sunset Crater” and “Wupatki National Monument”.  Those two places are located around 35 km (56 miles) north-east from Flagstaff. After just a little over one hour drive we entered the park area from road 89. You can enter the park from two different entrances and we choose to take the first entrance (if you are driving from Flagstaff) and visit the crater area first, and the Indian ruins secondly. I took a few shots of the crater and its surroundings, and then we continued our trip to the ruins. During the short drive we noticed that the land was reddish and dry, and vegetation was very scarce. Wukoki Ruins was first in line to visit and had some really interesting ruins mounted on top of a big stone. I snapped a few shots and then switched to another camera hoping to capture a bird or a reptile. I guess it was a bit ambitious of me, expecting to see them at this hour of the day considering how hot it was. Luckily there where a few small birds flying around which I actually managed to capture. I also found a very colorful lizard resting in the shade by the ruins, which I however didn’t manage to capture.

Next place was a Wupatki ruins which was bigger and much more complex than the other, it even had a visitor center and guides. We where approached by one of the guides who where quiet an enthusiast, and had lots of interesting facts to share with us regarding the ruins. She explained that in the ruins the ancient indians had created a room which actually had air conditioning, and it was connected to something which she called an air-hole, located several meters below the ruins itself. Standing by the small air-hole, if you placed your hand on top of it, you could actually feel quite a strong draft coming out from it. Building such a thing was quite an accomplishment considering that it still works to this day. While walking along the ruins, a bird of prey was hoovering above us, creating quite a feeling and an ancient atmosphere. I managed to capture it while it was sweeping the air above us. I believe it was a Red-tailed hawk, but I am not sure.

EQUIPMENT:
• Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II

• Camera: Canon EOS 1D Mark IV

• Lenses: EF 16-35 F/2.8 L USM Mark II with circular polarizing filter

• Lenses: EF 100-400 F/4.5 – 5.6 L IS USM

PHOTOS:

Monument Valley

Monument Valley Map Monument Valley MapINFO: Monument Valley or “valley of the rocks” translated from Navajo: “Tsé Bii’ Ndzisgaii” is the part of the Colorado Plateau streaching over the southern border of Utah and northern Arizona. The valley lies within the range of the Navajo Nation Reservation, and is accessible from U.S. Highway 163.

YEAR: Summer 2010

STORY: After leaving Page, our next destination was Monument Valley, which is another part of Arizona. We had to drive less than three hours, around 215 km (133 mi) to reach there. It was a really hot summer morning with a few clouds and not to much traffic on U.S. Highway 98. Entering U.S. Highway 160 the traffic started to build up a little. We had planned to make a stop after the little town Kayenta when we turned left and entered U.S. Highway 163. My plan was to photograph Agathla Peak or El Capitan which is a well known view point just a few miles after Kayenta. The entire passage from Kayenta to Monument Valley offers so many interesting view’s to photograph which made the drive take a little bit longer than expected.

Located inside the park area where a visitor center, a souvenir shop, a restaurant and a hotel, all orientated towards Sandstone buttes which characterize Monument Valley. We decided to have lunch while enjoying the view and gather power for the off road drive insid the park. The drive through the park was a long, dusty and very bumpy experience with endless magnificent scenery’s and objects to view and photograph. It took us  approximately three hours to drive through the whole park (27 km or 17-mile) with our rented Grand Cherokee Jeep.  We had a tight schedule for our Arizona trip and decided to continue to Flagstaff and Grand Canyon the same day.

EQUIPMENT:
• Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II

• Lens: Canon EF 16-35 F/2.8 L USM + circular polarizing filter

• Lens: Canon EF 24-105 F/4 L IS USM + circular polarizing filter

PHOTOS:

Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon Map Antelope Canyon Map (upper part)INFO: Antelope Canyon is located on Navajo land near Page, Arizona. It includes two separate canyon sections known as Upper Antelope Canyon and Lower Antelope Canyon. The Navajo name for Upper Antelope Canyon isTse’ bighanilini, which means “the place where water runs through rocks.” and was the place of my visit.

YEAR: Summer 2010

STORY: After a long trip by car from Flagstaff we arrived in the little town Page. It was the day before we had planned to visit Antelope Canyon. After a short drive around the town we decided to find a place to eat and sleep. Our plan was to spend two days in this area and on the third day continue our trip to the next destination. Antelope Canyon was located approximately 10 km from Page and it was easy to find by following the signs or using a GPS.  We arranged to take part in the “Photographer’s Tour” which would provide some benefits, but of course was double in price than the regular ticket.

We arrived at the entrance of the canyon the following day and there where a large group of tourists waiting. It was a really hot day and almost the entire group tried to squeeze in under the small tree roof just outside of the little ticket shop hoping to find some shade. Our tour started around 10:30 AM and we where divided into different groups. Our group comprised of twelve participants including the two of us. In order to reach the entrance of the canyon we where transported by little trucks for about 5 km. It was already lots of people inside the canyon because of several other companies operating at the same time. I got the feeling that this place was really exploited, and I was told by another guide that around 1500 visitors pass through there every single day during the season.
Temperature inside the canyon was a lot cooler than outside, but still hot enough 🙂  We hurried through the canyon which gave us quite a small window of time to take our shots. Our guide explained that we where going to return to some parts of the canyon later on and take shots of the well known light beams. Beams occur most often in the summer months, as they require the sun to be high into the sky. There where several other groups of photographers beside ours, and this meant very little space to set up your equipment, at least for us who had cameras on a tripod. The beams only appear and passes through the canyon for a few minutes, and so there is not so much time to make the perfect shot. You have around two to three minutes to make your shot and then you need to leave your position to another group of photographers.

Inside the canyon it was quite dark and when the light beams appeared we could see them clearly, but not as you can see them on many shots on the Internet. The way to make them look like they are glowing is by throwing sand into the beams, then they start to glow for a few seconds or while the dust is still in the air. The sand throwing technique performed by the guides takes a few minutes every time, and this makes your time to photograph even shorter, and also it is not very healthy for your photo equipment.  Considering all circumstances I have few words of advise:

– You need some sort of camera and lens protection

– Chose only one lens, since it is not a good idea to switch lenses in a dusty place

– It’s not so much space inside and therefore a UW lens is a good option, I used EF 16-35mm L USM II

– EF 24-105mm L IS USM can work too if you like to zoom on smaller areas

– It is quite dark inside and usage of flash is not allowed,  and you need a tripod if you want to use low ISO between 100 and 200. I used ISO 100, F/8 and a few seconds of shutter speed depending on light (when light beam was present)

– It is plenty of visitors inside so make sure you are in the front of your group, otherwise you will loose the opportunity of shooting when the guides have temporarily cleared the passage

EQUIPMENT:
• Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II

• Lens: Canon EF 16-35mm F/2.8 L USM Mark II and Manfrotto tripod and head.

PHOTOS: 

Aditional photos can be found in the main gallery

Horseshoe Bend

Horseshue Bend map Horseshue Bend map INFO: Horseshoe Bend is the name of a horseshoe-shaped meander of the Colorado River. The place is located 6 km south of Page, Arizona.  The bend is locally known as “King Bend” and is located slightly downstream from the Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell (see the the map for more info).

YEAR: Summer 2010

STORY: Horseshoe bend was on my list to visit during the summer trip to Arizona. We spent a few days in the little town Page in one of the many hotels located on the main street. The weather was really hot giving us only two options of visiting the place, early in the morning or late afternoon.  July 12, 2010 was the day when we decided to visit. It was a hot afternoon (over 40C) with some clouds and chance for rain.  After 15 minutes of driving we reached the parking area with lots of parked cars. To reach  final destination we had to walk around 1 km following a little sandy road. After 15 minutes of walking a truly amazing view appeared. There was a few points where you could take pictures  with different angles, and I made a few test shots to find the best position and best setting for my camera. I always use manual settings and sometimes it can take a little bit longer to find the best possible solution. I took about 50 images before the sun reached really low, creating strong shadows and the rays was pointing directly towards me. We decided to explore the area and make a few more shots before leaving. If jou plan to wisit the place during summer, then I strongly recommend that you bring water, a hat and comfortable shoes.

EQUIPMENT:
• Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II

• Lens: Canon EF 16-35mm F/2.8 L USM Mark II with circular polarizing filer; Canon EF 15mm F/2.8 Fisheye;

PHOTO: Horseshue Bend Horseshue Bend

Meteor crater

Meteor Crater Map Meteor Crater MapINFO: Meteor crater is a meteorite impact crater located approximately 69 km or 43 miles east of Flagstaff, near Winslow in the northern Arizona desert. Meteor crater lies at an elevation of about 1,740 m (5,709 ft) above sea level. It is about 1,200 m (4,000 ft) in diameter, some 170 m deep (570 ft), and is surrounded by a rim that rises 45 m (150 ft) above the surrounding plains. This site was #1 on our Arizona trip list, and most unique.

YEAR: Summer 2010

STORY: After we landed on Phoenix International Airport, we collected our belongings and caught the bus to the car rental pickup. We planned long distance drives on all types of roads and therefore we rented a four wheel drive. It was late afternoon and we enjoyed a beautiful sunset on the way to the hotel. The outside temperature was unbearable, it was slightly above 42 degrees C (108 F), considering we are from Scandinavia and used to a much cooler climate, we almost started to doubt our choice of destination.

We head off early the following morning and found our way to the Meteor crater by using our previously programmed GPS. We stocked up with  plenty of water and snacks and started our adventure. First we had to drive North all the way to Flagstaff and then turn to the East and continue on the U.S Highway 40 for about 70km (112 miles). It was pretty easy to find even without a GPS.

When we first saw the crater, we where really astonished to see how large it was. It must have been an enormous meteor that crashed in order to create such a large crater. It made us realize how small we humans really are against the forces of the universe. They offered guided tours where one could walk around the rim of the crater, but unfortunately we came a bit late so the last tour had just left. We spent some time taking photos from the other panoramic view points instead. It was really hot outside and we decided to spend some time inside the air conditioned visitor centre. They offered a short movie explaining the history of the place based on scientific research performed in the crater,  and also a brief description on what happens when a meteor enters Earth’s atmosphere. It’s lots of things to see inside the museum located inside the visitor centre as well, including a big lump of the original meteor. After having spent a few hours in the area we decided to drive back to Flagstaff and find a new accommodation for the night.

EQUPMENT:
• Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II

• Camera: Canon EF 16-35 F/2.8 Mark II and circular polarizing filter.

PHOTO:  Meteror Crater Meteror Crater panoramic view