Forum Login

The Southwest

In addition to the photographs and commentary below this site contains several major photography / travel articles featuring locations in the American Southwest — Arches & CanyonlandsMonument Valley & Canyon de Chelly, Zion National Park, Death Valley, and Joshua Tree National Park.

Sculptured Dunes Sculptured Dunes — Death Valley CA, 1997

The sand dunes east of Stove Pipe Wells in Death Valley have one major problem — footprints.  Unless you are lucky enough to be there just after a high wind wipes them clean you will find the dunes littered with thousands of tourist's footprints.   Rather than fight it I decided to see if I could integrate the wind blown patterns and the footprints into a cohesive image. 

Photographed with the Rollei 6008 and Schneider 40mm f/3.5 Super-Angulon on Provia 100 film.

After Sunset After Sunset — Monument Valley, 1999

An other-worldly sight in Monument Valley.  About 30 minutes after sunset we were driving out of the valley when we came over a rise and saw this scene.  The pink colour of the talcum powder textured sand is real — not a digital enhancement. Here is another photograph taken that same evening.

Taken with a Canon EOS3 and Canon L 100~400mm IS zoom, at 400mm. A 30 second exposure on Kodak VS.

Biblical Scene Biblical Scene— Monument Valley, 1999

Our Navaho guide was driving us to a sand dunes area within the valley for sunset when we came across these sheep and goats being herded in the distance.  There was no time to set up a tripod or do anything other than jump from the jeep, zoom to maximum extension and take a couple of frames before they disappeared around a rock face.

The Image Stabilization technology of Canon's IS series lenses allow for hand-holding at shutter speeds 2-3 stops slower than would otherwise be possible.  Without it, this shot would not have been possible.

Taken with a Canon EOS3 and Canon L 100~400mm IS zoom, at 400mm handheld at 1/125sec.

Click here for a photographic travel guide to Monument Valley.

Yellow Stripe Highway Yellow Stripe Hwy, outside Monument Valley, 1999

Taken with a Canon EOS3 and Canon 24mm L T/S f/3.5 lens on Provia 100.

Photographers spend so much time traveling down the highway that they sometimes forget that the highway itself can be the subject.

West of Monument Valley the road seems to stretch away into infinity.  Only one lens could have captured this shot — the Canon T/S 24mm (tilt / shift).  By laying down in the middle of the highway (with a friend standing over me watching for cars from behind) I placed the camera on the ground and used the tilt (Scheimflug) function to create a focal plane with depth of field from the lens-hood to infinity.

The only digital manipulation was to slightly enhance the yellow colour of the highway stripe.

This photograph was taken with a a Canon EOS3 and Canon L 24mm T/S L lens on Provia 100.

Cactus & Butte Cactus & Butte — Monument Valley, 1999

Hiking through the dunes at Monument Valley, this scene with its wonderful textures and depth presented itself.  The Canon 24mm Tilt / Shift lens once again proved its mettle.  While a view camera could have captured this image, only this versatile lens allowed such a huge plane of focus when working in 35mm.

Photographed with a Canon EOS3 and 24mm L T/S lens on Provia 100.

View From Zion Bridge View From Zion Bridge — Zion NP, 1997

One of the most photographed scenes in the western United States.  Zion Bridge in Zion National Park is so popular that the Park Service has actually marked out spaces for photographers to stand!   It's usually a sunset view but seen here in mid-morning.  I almost expect Hobbits to appear.  A clich├ęd view, but still worthwhile.

Taken with a Mamiya 645 Pro and 55mm lens on Provia 100.

Dead Branches on Sandstone Dead Branches & Sandstone — Arches NP, 1997

Arches National Park in Utah is one of my favourite shooting locations.  Read the feature article on Arches and Canyonlands National Parks for more information on these amazing locations.

Taken with a Nikon F4 and Sigma 70~210mm f/2.8 lens on Provia 100.

Antelope Canyon Antelope Canyon — Arizona, 1998

One of the most magical places on the planet, Antelope Canyon in Arizona has by now been photographed countless times by tourists and artists alike.  It's hard to make a bad image in Antelope Canyon.  For an excellent article providing the photographic history of the canyon try and find the Fall '97 issue of Lenswork Quarterly magazine.  It is by Bruce Barnbaum, the man who discovered Antelope, titled — Antelope Canyon: Then and Now.

Photograph taken with Rollei 6008 and 90mm f/4.0 Schneider lens

Joshua Tree Sunrise Sunrise — Joshua Tree NP, 1996

Joshua Tree National Park is about a 45 minute drive from Palm Springs CA, and might as well be on another planet — it is so removed from the urban glitz of that fair town.

Fortunately, 20 minutes north-east of Palm Springs lies the quiet little town of Desert Hot Springs, and just outside of it lies a wonderful spa and resort called Two Bunch Palms.  We often vacation there because not only is at a quiet and relaxing place to chill but it provides easy access to Joshua Tree NP.

On at least one or two mornings while there I rise a couple of hours before sunrise so as to be at the park for the best morning light.  I'm usually back at the hotel by 10 or 11am ready to join my family and friends for the day.

I've now explored the park on numerous occasions and always find something new and exciting to shoot.  A full travel article on Joshua Tree is located HERE.

Photograph taken with a Nikon F4 and 85mm f/1.8 lens on Provia 100

Clouds Under Dead Horse State Park, 2000

The site contains two sections on Canyonlands and Arches National Parks, as well as Dead Horse State Park, all in Southern Utah. The first is a travel article written after my first trip in the mid-'90s. The second is a portfolio from a winter trip in early 2000.

Click HERE for references to two fascinating and important books on the Desert Southwest

Filed Under:  

show page metadata

Concepts: Colorado Plateau, National Park Service, Utah, Camera, Mojave Desert, Photography, Zion National Park, Digital single-lens reflex camera

Entities: Palm Springs, Canon, Nikon, Kodak, United States., Joshua Tree National Park, Arches National Park, Zion National Park, Monument Valley, Monument Valley., Antelope Canyon., Park Service, Michael Reichmann, Schneider, Joshua Tree, Scheimflug, Bruce Barnbaum, Desert Southwest, Southern Utah, Utah, Arizona, CA

Tags: national parks, Monument Valley, Provia, Joshua Tree, arches national parks, Antelope Canyon, Nikon F4, dunes, canon 24mm tilt, Palm Springs, Joshua Tree National Park, Provia 100 film, travel article, photograph, powder textured sand, high wind wipes, mamiya 645 pro, Joshua Tree NP, Canyonlands National Parks, Schneider lens, Image Stabilization technology, Zion National Park, favourite shooting locations, quiet little town, Desert Hot Springs, Palm Springs CA, Horse State Park, photographic travel guide, versatile lens, zoom, other-worldly sight, photographed scenes, Pipe Wells, Death Valley, pink colour, 2-3 stops, shutter speeds, highway stripe, major problem, Kodak VS