7 August 2017

Our last trip in the 5th Wheel

The next few posts are from our trip last year that I never got around to finishing.

We have come back to North America to do one last trip in our 5th wheel. Lindsay really wanted to get some more bear pictures so the whole trip has been planned around going to Bella Coola and Likely in BC, Canada.

Antelope Canyon, AZ

I photographed Antelope Canyon in 2012 but wasn’t completely happy with my photos, so seeing as we would be in Page Arizona again to go to Horseshoe Bend Lindsay asked me if I wanted to try again. The only way into the canyons is to do a tour, but I didn't want to just do the normal tourist tour as there are too many people in the way and you can't use a tripod, so the only option is to do a photographic tour. Taking good photos inside the canyon without a tripod is difficult, I did that last time as I had trouble with my tripod and cast it aside. I wasn't going to make the same mistake again. When I first started looking for a vacancy three months ago, there were none, but Lindsay persevered and found a spot with another company.

Horseshoe Bend, AZ

While we have been to Page before back in 2012, we didn’t get to Horseshoe Bend which is just a short distance out of town. Around 11am is the best time to get everything bathed in sun, so we didn’t do sunrise or sunset shots as the bend is in shade. You have to get quite close to the edge to be able to fit everything in to the frame and a wide angle is the best. On the first day we did go there at sunset and as the sun started to drop I started to put my sunglasses in my camera bag, but Lindsay thought I wasn't doing it right and tried to help. The lens popped out of the frame and into the canyon. They were prescription glasses and replacing them on this trip was impossible as we were never in a town long enough for a new pair to be made up.

Monument Valley, AZ

Just as we were leaving Page, I remembered to grab the Road Atlas and put it back in the car. Checking our route to Canyonlands I could see that we would be driving right passed Monument Valley. We have been here twice before but hadn’t had very good experiences. The first time in 2012 on our first trip when we stayed in Goulding which is outside the park and Lindsay was too tired to drive me into the park at sunset. There was such as strong wind that we had to keep our van doors and windows shut to keep the red sand and dust out. In 2015 we came by again and stayed in the only campground within the valley. It’s not part of the park system as it’s on Navajo land. As they charge you a daily fee to go in and don’t open until after sunrise and shut before sunset, it is best to stay inside even though you get no hook ups and it’s usually hot. There was a huge storm and sand was flying everywhere, so again, not ideal for taking photographs. Maybe our third time would be more lucky.

We filled up with water on the way to our site and parked near the office so that we could get internet as there is no Verizon service anywhere for miles. We were very lucky to get one bar when we called an hour before we arrived to see if they had any vacancies as they only had three and we got one. When we arrived there was no-one else there so we were able to choose a campsite close to the office to be able to use their internet as cell reception is non existent.

Apart from doing the auto drive around the park, we went on foot to see if we could get better shots. At sunrise the buttes are silhouetted against the sunrise and at sunset the shadows quickly descend upon the valley, so you need to get your timing right to get the gorgeous warm light on the buttes before the shadows take over. No horrible storms came through so I was able to just walk a few hundred metres from our campsite to get both my sunset and sunrise shots.

6-12 August 2017

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