Extended Weekend in Arizona

I visited Arizona for the first recently. It was everything I hoped it would be. I got to see a cactus, some canyons and even a desert. Two of those three were also firsts for me. Having grown up on the east coast, these were not common sights for me. Having photography as a hobby means I’m acutely aware of what I’m missing. The issue was, I figured I’d need several weeks to make a trip like this worthwhile. This trip, however, I would only have time for an extended weekend, and it would have to start in Phoenix.

Originally, I was planning on just seeing the Grand Canyon. In researching, I discovered Page is nearby and it was home to two photography bucket list destinations: Horseshoe Bend & Antelope Canyon. Monument Valley is also on my list, but it just wasn’t in the cards for this trip.

My trip spanned 4 days and roughly 750 miles. We flew to Phoenix and drove to Tusayan, did a day trip to Page, did a day in Grand Canyon National Park, and then returned to Phoenix via Flagstaff & Sedona.

South Mountain Park

South of Phoenix is a South Mountain Park. Entrance is free, and the park is beautiful. Rolling hills and cacti make for, what I would consider, a classic western landscape. To complete my childhood, while in the park, but not at the same time, I also saw a roadrunner and then a coyote.

At the park, you have great views of Phoenix and the surrounding landscapes. I got my photo of a cactus, and then finally is a view of 16th Street heading north from the park.

After my afternoon in the park, I hit the highway and headed north for Tusayan. Shortly after my start, the sun set and it got dark. Living in a city, going dark is more of a figure of speech. North of Phoenix it gets really dark. Another facet that I was unaware of, was the elevation. We saw the signs as we passed 5,000 feet, then 6,000, and then 7,000.

Drive to Page

The next day started with a stunning sunrise, but of course I wasn’t prepared or anywhere with a worthwhile composition, so I just got to admire the colors from my room. Then we headed out to Page, which involved driving through Grand Canyon National Park. The first views are incredible, they aren’t unlike the pictures one sees, but the pictures really don’t prepare you for being there in person. The sheer size is just hard to comprehend.

But after taking a scenic drive through the park and exiting out the east side, I continued East on Arizona 64, until heading North on Highway 89. Along the way were some stunning landscapes. I enjoyed how much the landscape would completely change along this route.

Glen Canyon

We arrived in Glen Canyon with a few hours to kill before our tours. We started at the Glen Canyon overlook, and then went for a closer view of the dam.

Secret Canyon

Slot canyon so much fun in person. Although the pictures came out okay, I do wish I had used a traditional tripod to reduce the amount of glare. I was also moving through pretty quickly to not annoy everyone on the tour.

Horseshoe Bend

Again, another sight that despite having seen the pictures you just don’t feel like you were prepared when you first see it in person.

Sony Alpha 7R IV | Sony 16-35mm GM II | 35mm | ISO 100 | f/11 | 1/320 sec

Grand Canyon

This was mostly an overcast day, but I was fortunate to get some views with some light. We went in for the sunrise, then drove to Desert View, and then worked our way west to Hermit Trailhead. We hit every view point along the way.

San Francisco Peaks Valley

On our final day, we drove out early in the morning. Took a very scenic route to Flagstaff, then on to Sedona before picking up I-17 to Phoenix. While working my way through the San Francisco Peaks, it was snowy and wintery and then I found this gem.

Sony Alpha 7R IV | Sony 100-400mm GM | 374mm | ISO 100 | f/11 | 1/800 sec


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