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Author Topic: America Southwest trip  (Read 14103 times)
marcmccalmont
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« on: July 21, 2012, 03:09:09 PM »
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It looks like I have the month of September off so I'd like to take a photo trek through some of our national Parks in the South Western US. I'd probably rent a SUV and drive to most of the parks. I've never been to any of the National Parks in this region so any help planning this trip would be appreciated. I don't know where to start! Specific sites for spectacular images would be a great help.
Thanks
Marc
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Marc McCalmont
Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2012, 03:56:29 PM »
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One thing I did: fly to Las Vegas, rent a car, do a 3000 miles road trip: Grand Canyon NP, Monument Valley, Arches NP, Capitol Reef NP, Bryce Canyon NP, Zion NP, back to Las Vegas. I did it in about two-three weeks, staying for about 2-3 days in each location. I used a National Geographic guide to national parks.
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marcmccalmont
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« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2012, 04:04:21 PM »
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I'll pick up one of those guides. Anything you would do different? Marc
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Marc McCalmont
Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2012, 04:49:22 PM »
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... Anything you would do different? Marc

Ah, yes... wouldn't take my (then) two and a half year old kid along, nor my (then) wife, who happened to have uncontrollable hunger and thirst attacks precisely during the half an hour window of opportunity that sunset provides. Wink Sunrises were ok though... they were soundly sleeping through it.
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Johnny_Johnson
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« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2012, 04:59:13 PM »
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Go to Amazon and order the two volume set "Photographing the Southwest" by Laurent Martres.

Later,
Johnny
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Johnny Johnson
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« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2012, 05:23:48 PM »
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Make sure you plan for enough time. There are huge distances between lots of great places. Do the North rim of the Grand Canyon ONLY if you can get lodgings there, otherwise rooms available are 70+ miles away.
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marcmccalmont
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« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2012, 05:35:40 PM »
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Ah, yes... wouldn't take my (then) two and a half year old kid along, nor my wife, who happened to have uncontrollable hunger and thirst attacks precisely during the half an hour window of opportunity that sunset provides. Wink Sunrises were ok though... they were soundly sleeping through it.
Problem solved got a divorce and the kid is in college! Marc
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Marc McCalmont
marcmccalmont
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« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2012, 05:36:55 PM »
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Go to Amazon and order the two volume set "Photographing the Southwest" by Laurent Martres.

Later,
Johnny
Done, now a 3 volume set Thanks Marc
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Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2012, 05:58:24 PM »
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Slobodan's list pretty much hits (arguably) all the high points.  You couldn't go wrong by following his itinerary.

Another recommendation for the Laurent Martres books, too.

Lisa
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bill t.
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« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2012, 08:12:55 PM »
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Or just go to one location, toss the keys in a drawer, and do some damned fine photography.  In the higher altitudes especially, September brings rapid changes in foliage and light as Summer morphs into Autumn.  That's an interesting and oft neglected subject in its own right.  But don't listen to me, I hate odometers and despise gas stations.
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degrub
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« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2012, 09:40:09 PM »
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for an off the beaten path spot - Coral pink sands state park, just outside of Kanab, Utah between Zion, Bryce, and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon NP.
http://stateparks.utah.gov/parks/coral-pink

http://maps.google.com/maps?oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&q=coral+pink+sands+state+park+utah&fb=1&gl=us&hq=coral+pink+sands+state+park&hnear=0x874c6bc78f13f9cd:0xbddf4aa56cd7463f,Utah&cid=0,0,7506807474767646771&sa=X&ei=TmQLUOOzEqX02wWphOUx&ved=0CJEBEPwSMAM

You will want to have reservations most places, particularly in the NP lodges, although i usually got lucky on cancellations by calling at 3pm or so each day, unless you want to tent camp :-)

Frank
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Schewe
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« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2012, 03:27:50 AM »
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It looks like I have the month of September off so I'd like to take a photo trek through some of our national Parks in the South Western US.

Don't know where you'll be starting at nor finishing but...this is a great trip...
Zion
Bryce
Escalante (along Route 12)
Capital Reef
Canyonlands
Arches

Each area is worth a few days (if not more) and the more time you have to explore and get off the beaten path the better. You would be close to Antelope Canyon and Monument Valley (a bit of a drive depending on how you get there but worth the trip is you have time). If you get near Monument Valley, go...it's metaphysical...but also not too far from Mesa Verde in Southwestern, Co.

This is a great place to shoot...but expect long drives and long days with sometimes few places to stay...plan on filling up whenever you see a gas station...


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marcmccalmont
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« Reply #12 on: July 22, 2012, 04:44:05 AM »
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Don't know where you'll be starting at nor finishing but...this is a great trip...
Zion
Bryce
Escalante (along Route 12)
Capital Reef
Canyonlands
Arches

Each area is worth a few days (if not more) and the more time you have to explore and get off the beaten path the better. You would be close to Antelope Canyon and Monument Valley (a bit of a drive depending on how you get there but worth the trip is you have time). If you get near Monument Valley, go...it's metaphysical...but also not too far from Mesa Verde in Southwestern, Co.

This is a great place to shoot...but expect long drives and long days with sometimes few places to stay...plan on filling up whenever you see a gas station...



well I have the month of September off w/o a schedule, I'll be leaving from Kona (a lot of miles to use from Hawaiian Airlines!) so I thought I'd fly into vegas and rent a SUV. Would there be a better place to start from? I've got friends to see in Colorado Springs and Ojai California. Since I have no schedule if a place is magical I'll spend more than a few days. I'm an east coast boy so It's kind of a dream trip for me never been to these National Parks ...ever. Marc
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Marc McCalmont
degrub
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« Reply #13 on: July 22, 2012, 10:12:20 AM »
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If you have never been to the SW, this is a physically demanding environment. i've backpacked it for years. Heat and low humidity make carrying water your #1 concern. Keep some in the car and with you. 1-2 qts. per day for light to moderate activity level. If  you are visiting the heavily traveled areas, you shouldn't have any issue, but if you go off  on a trail by yourself, you need to be prepared. It can get cold at night. Depending on elevation, temps can range between below freezing at night to above 90 F  during the afternoon. Check out the NPS site for each park for the climate history. www.weatherunderground.com is another good source. Talk with the rangers at the station about your plans if you intend to hike.
You will be at 6-8000 feet much of the time north of the grand canyon while you are on the Colorado plateau, so everything takes a little extra effort. http://cpluhna.nau.edu/Places/places.htm
An annual entry pass for $80 can be a good deal depending on your plans.
http://www.nps.gov/findapark/passes.htm

Cell phones do not generally work except along some of the highways, but it somewhat depends on the carrier. Inside the parks can be spotty at best.
Frank
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #14 on: July 22, 2012, 02:07:39 PM »
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About trip difficulty: I am a creature of comfort, and not a backpacker, so my experience may not be applicable to everyone, but I found the trip to be rather easy. After all, I had a two and a half year old daughter in the car all the time. I had a simple sedan, not SUV. One of the main attractions of U.S. national parks (for me) is that everything is within 200 yards from the nearest parking lot, and that was the extent of my hiking as well. One thing I did have in the car all the time is a lot of water bottles.
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Scott O.
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« Reply #15 on: July 23, 2012, 04:29:16 PM »
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Go to Amazon and order the two volume set "Photographing the Southwest" by Laurent Martres.

Later,
Johnny

I agree completely, except there are 3 books.  Get the one which covers Southern Utah as hopefully this is where you will be going.  I also 2nd Jeff Schewe's list of suggested places.  All are epic.  If you go to Monument Valley, plan on staying 2 nights and taking a full day guided tour on the full day you are there.  Led by a local guide, it is the only way you can get off the "beaten path".  I will be in Boulder (Hwy 12) in the middle of September...I'll keep a look out for you.  Be sure to stay at the Boulder Mountain Lodge if you can get a reservation and eat at the Hell's Backbone Grill at the Lodge.  Southern Utah is just an amazing place.
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Dan Berg
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« Reply #16 on: July 23, 2012, 05:30:03 PM »
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Marc,
As a lifelong corporate aviator I have flown into Vegas several dozen times for company trade shows.
Vegas is a great staging point but many hundreds of miles and weeks of time required.
Here is a short list of many of the places that are a must see and how I got to them.
You might want to plan one big circle to hit as many of them as you can.

West out of Vegas to Death Valley then over the mountains to 395.
North on 395 to Bishop ,Lee Vining and then Monolake.
West over the Sierras to Yosemite.

Southeast from Vegas down to route 66. East to Williams then north to the Grand Canyon.
Northeast to Page and Antelop Canyon. East a few more miles to Monument Valley.

Northeast out of Vegas on Route 15 to Zion and Bryce Canyons. If time permits further northeast to Moab.

A month is needed to hit all these spots.

Have a great trip.

Ps. After reading my post all the north,south,east and west directions look a little out of place.
Only another pilot would understand. Smiley
When my wife and I are on one of these road trips she often asks me why I spend so much time looking at the skyline and the ridges. I just tell her position awareness. She knows what that means.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2012, 05:50:50 PM by Dan Berg » Logged

Schewe
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« Reply #17 on: July 24, 2012, 04:04:06 AM »
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Would there be a better place to start from? I've got friends to see in Colorado Springs and Ojai California. Since I have no schedule if a place is magical I'll spend more than a few days. I'm an east coast boy so It's kind of a dream trip for me never been to these National Parks ...ever. Marc

That's tough to say...I would suggest either flying into Los Vegas and generally going East or Denver and generally going West. If you want to hit Colorado as well, I suggest planning on driving an US 70 which is the best US Interstate highway in the US. There are lots of places to hit in Colorado including Leadville (Google it), Independence Pass, Durango and US 550 as well as US 50 both East & West. 550 is called the million $ highway. There's also Mesa Verde west of Durango and on the way to Monument Valley.

Most of Utah sucks except along US 12 generally between Red Rock Canyon/Bryce and Moab/Canyon Lands (which could be worth a long visit–I've never had the chance).

I agree with the fact that distances are deceiving...while the trip between Bryce and Moab doesn't look long as the crow flies, there's a ton of stuff to stop and see/shoot along the way. In many cases, waiting till near dark will mean no room in the inn. There's not always a place to stay and you may end up catching Zzzz's in the car because you stopped too late to get a place to sleep. Also note that gas stations can be few and far between and close early (meaning not open 24/day) unless you are along an Interstate...

Be sure to get good maps and a GPS and don't blindly trust the GPS...out west GPS locations and directions are notoriously sub-optimal...
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marcmccalmont
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« Reply #18 on: July 24, 2012, 06:56:17 AM »
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Ps. After reading my post all the north,south,east and west directions look a little out of place.
Only another pilot would understand. Smiley.

"Roger left 280, 250 Kts" Smiley
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Marc McCalmont
marcmccalmont
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« Reply #19 on: July 29, 2012, 02:03:20 PM »
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Thanks for the advice, one more question. I'll be starting the trip early September and finishing up the end of September. Would I be better off making the trip counter clockwise ( AZ, NM, CO, UT) or clockwise (UT, CO, NM, AZ)? Weather, summer to fall seasonal change, lighting considerations.
Thanks
Marc
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Marc McCalmont
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