15 Days in Southwest USA
The Canyons Tour
Photo tour led by David Metcalf and Mark Rayner
This photo safari with David Metcalf and Mark Rayner will be an incredible experience for those interested in photographing some of the most beautiful landscape scenery in the world. Author Edward Abbey, a frequent visitor, described the Canyonlands as “the most weird, wonderful, magical place on earth — there is nothing else like it anywhere.” Sunrise at Mesa Arch will be one of the highlights of this adventure. It is simply stunning ...
Highlights of the Adventure
Touring SouthWest USA is absolutely ideal for the photographer, with the light and shadow playing off hills, trees, gullies and horizons. We will walk a lot but this is not trekking, as it is still a photo tour. You will learn and practice several photographic techniques: composition, street photography, unusual angles, portraits, film/shutter/aperture combinations, depth of field, using light and many others. Photo skills will be reviewed "as-you-go" and also at the end of the day so you get the best from these opportunities. Almost everyday we will start the trip before dawn, to be in time of sunrise and the sky’s beautiful orange blue color, and ended up after sunset time for the golden and blue hours. At the end of the day you will also have something to see and enjoy, always with photography in mind.
Zion is the first of our many canyons. It does not disappoint. Zion National Park is located in the near Springdale, Utah. A prominent feature of the park is Zion Canyon, which is 24 km long and up to 800 m deep, cut through the reddish and tan-colored Navajo Sandstone by the North Fork of the Virgin River. You’ll visit Weeping Rock with views back down the canyon, the delightful Emerald Pools and numerous vantage spots on the Virgin River. Keep an eye out along the way as Mule Deer abound and you may see the odd Bighorn Sheep balanced precariously on the canyon walls. Sunrise taking in the the Temples and Towers of the Virgin and the Altar of Sacrifice will have you spellbound. We travel from Zion across the Zion-Mt Carmel Highway which is one of the most scenic drive you’ll ever do. It is a one hour drive across to Bryce Canyon, our next destination but we’ll probably take around four hours to make the trip. There are just way too many landscapes begging to be photographed along this route. First though we pass through the incredible tunnel. 1.8 kilometres long. Stunning!
We spend two nights at Bryce Canyon to give us ample time to take in the splendour of this place. It is known as a ‘sunrise canyon’ so we’ll have a couple of early mornings but sunset is quite spectacular too. Bryce Canyon, despite its name, is not a canyon, but a collection of giant natural amphitheaters along the eastern side of the Paunsaugunt Plateau. Bryce is distinctive due to geological structures called hoodoos, formed by frost weathering and stream erosion of the river and lake bed sedimentary rocks. The red, orange, and white colors of the rocks provide spectacular views. We’ll explore the rim and take in Sunrise Point, Sunset Point, Inspiration Point, Bryce Point and Rainbow Point. You get the point? There will be many opportunities to photograph the Hoodoos and you’ll see the first of our arches at Natural Bridge. With a couple of days here we’ll give you some rest time to help make up for those early starts too.
From Bryce we make our way to Moab, the gateway to Arches National Park and Canyonlands National park. These places are spectacular! We’ll spend plenty of time exploring both and could even take in some star trails with the incredibly clear skies. Arches National Park is located on the Colorado River 6.4 km north of Moab, Utah. It is known for containing over 2,000 natural sandstone arches, including the world-famous Delicate Arch, in addition to a variety of unique geological resources and formations. Amongst many other features you’ll be able to photograph Balanced Rock – a large balancing rock, the size of three school buses. You won’t believe how much it weighs! Delicate Arch – a lone-standing arch which has become a symbol of Utah and the most recognized arch in the park will also be on the agenda.
Author Edward Abbey, a frequent visitor, described the Canyonlands as “the most weird, wonderful, magical place on earth—there is nothing else like it anywhere.” Sunrise at Mesa Arch will be one of the highlights of this adventure. It is simply stunning.
Our next major destination is Monument Valley. This place really is landscape overload. Wide angle lenses as well as telephoto for compression effects will be in order here. Monument Valley or Tsé Biiʼ Ndzisgaii (Navajo), meaning ‘valley of the rocks’ is a region of the Colorado Plateau characterized by a cluster of vast sandstone buttes, the largest reaching 1,000 ft (300 m) above the valley floor. It is located on the Arizona-Utah state line. The mesas here are truly huge and are difficult to describe in a way to give them justice. We’ll make our way onwards to Page and finish this amazing day with an awesome sunset shoot over Horseshoe Bend on the Colorado River. Wide angle lenses and tripods and a good head for heights are in order at this magic landscape location.
A treat waits next as we spend all day exploring the incredible slot canyons of Arizona. We’ll visit four slot canyons with our own private Navajo guide. We will have exclusive access to Mountain Sheep Canyon, Owl Canyon (inhabited by a family of owls) and Rattlesnake Canyon. We’ll then join the masses and visit the famous Antelope Canyon. These slot canyons have the most incredible patterns and colours carved into them over the eons by raging waters and flash floods. This will be a day when you’ll need to make sure you’ve got plenty of memory cards on hand.
Finally, the Grand Canyon is ours to explore. It is another place which defies description and once you’ve arrived you will be spellbound by its immense grandeur. Stretching as far as the eye can see this is just astounding. It’s hard to believe that the Colorado River way down below has been carrying away, creating this marvel for 17 million years! Even more astonishing is the fact that there are 2 billion years worth of earth’s geological history exposed right there in front of us. Amazing! You’ll have the opportunity to fly through the canyon on an optional helicopter flight for a once in a lifetime experience.
Reserve your place on this tour
Once we receive your request we will call and email you to confirm details.
- Fees are exclusive of your own travel to and from Jakarta.
- Fees do not cover international travel and medical insurance.
- 50% to be paid on confirmed booking.
- Balance of 50% paid at least 45 days before the tour start date.
- By credit card or bank wire transfer.
- 100% refund if made 30+ days before the tour start date.
- 50% refund if made 15+ days before the tour start date.
- 25% refund if made 7+ days before the tour start date.
Just to be clear, filling in and sending this form does not commit you to anything or any payment until the booking is confirmed, which will be done with the photographer directly after you both have spoken and agreed everything.
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Originally from New Zealand, David's passion for photography started when, 19 years old, he bought his first Kodak camera. David is an insightful tutor who inspires you to put the manual down, engage with the subject, access your creativity and capture the essence of a photo. He is the author of three cultural photography books and is a spokesperson for the indigenous Dayak people of Kalimantan. David’s tours connect you with travel and culture, opportunities that take you to a higher level of seeing and feeling.
Mark hails from Brisbane in Australia, but his photo tours span the world. Fully accredited as a professional photographer in Australia (AIPP), Mark is an established wedding, portrait and commercial photographer, for which he has been awarded several commendations including "2012 Shoot the Architect" competition sponsored by the Australian Institute of Architects. He is also expert in post processing, re-touching and workflow.