Well we are really in Utah just a mile from the Arizona Border, but hey who’s counting. We have had an amazing time here in Page, AZ. It is a really nice little city built to serve those wanting to see it’s amazing sights. With in a few minutes of Page you can feast your eyes on some of the most beautiful sights that the desert southwest has to offer. We did the hike to the famed Horseshoe Bend, a place where the Colorado river seems to defy logic and physics. The river takes a 270 degree turn on itself and presents the viewer with an absolutely jaw dropping and mind altering view. Few words can describe the feeling that I had when my eyes peered over the thousand foot drop and saw what was laid before me. I could not help but get excited like a school boy as I readied my tripod and camera. I took several hundred photos to ensure the chance of getting the one, the shot that would make my year.
When I retuned home, I knew I had it. I immediately opened Lightroom and loaded the images. I was in awe of what mother nature had provided me, a picturesque landscape that was more of a work of art than a geological marvel. She was amazing in all of her glory and I feel truly grateful that she allowed me to capture her in her best light, sunset.
But the Arizona desert was not done, she still had tricks up her sleeve, she still aimed to amaze. The next morning I woke up with a nervous anticipation, a knot was in my stomach. Because I would have a great personal and well as artistic struggle laid before me this morning. I was going to attempt to capture an image at Lower Antelope Canyon. This posed to issues for me. One, as some of you may know I am pretty claustrophobic. Now I am okay in things like elevators and small rooms but I do not far well with tunnels and small places that make it difficult to move my body. I knew that this slot canyon would produce fears and anxiety, but I calmed myself with the mantra that dead people are bad for tourism, so it must be safe.
The other challenge is capturing the unique landscape in a way that does it justice. The canyon provides a bevy of difficulty capturing the perfect image from low light to mixed exposure to random tourist walking in front of your 30 sec shot. I decided that I would pay the extra few dollars and go on a Navajo led “photography” tour. The main difference is that on the photo tour you are allowed to bring a tripod, a huge asset in these low light situations. My guide was a younger guy named Braiden, he was knowledgeable about the canyon and boosted about his own abilities as a photographer, sharing amazing images from his phone while we walked to the canyon entrance.
As I peered down the steel staircase that descended into the canyon below I saw the walls getting closer and closer. There was that nervousness again…. “dead people are bad for business….” I repeated that as I took step after fearful step. Once on the floor, the beauty of the canyon melted away my anxiety and calmed my fears. I was in awe, almost speechless. As we twisted and turned our way through the slot stopping often to setup for the next amazing shot, with one view more amazing that the last, I was astonished by the shear power of mother nature. She carved this canyon with water like a chef carves butter with a hot knife. Twisting and turning this raw but amazing beautiful landscape that from the air seems like nothing more than a laceration in the crust of the earth. From inside you can see her true majesty, the ribbons of flowing colors cascaded along the walls begging for photo after photo. Before I knew it we had transversed the 400m canyon and approached the exit. I was sad but at the same time excited to see the images that I captured.
As I powered up the Macbook Pro and loaded Lightroom I was once again like a school boy waiting for Christmas morning. I was amazed by the colors the camera was able to capture, even more impressive than what I witnessed with my own eyes. This canyon did not disappoint, that is for sure.
It was not possible to select just one image, but the ones above moved me in a way that provoked thought and deep examination of this worlds landscape and made me grateful for this experience that my family is on.
Last but not least was our front yard, yep Lone Rock Beach was more than a “campground” it was a landscape waiting to be captured. The sky lit up like the forth of July after the sun went to bed and the stars were endless. Zoey and I setup on the first chilly night with my camera and captured some really neat star scenes.
I finally was able to capture this place with a camera that way that I wanted to see it. But it was from a whole other type of tripod. A “skypod” pardon the pun but I was able to capture this lonely rock from the air with my Phantom 3 Pro. I have never really used the Phantom to make still images, I have always been consumed by it’s amazing video. But I knew it was more than capable. I was able to take 1.6 second shots from the air, in the wind. They turned out really well, but they also showcase something that cannot be seen from the ground and that is what is truly amazing. These images were taken just after sunset, when the light was long and soft.
Well that wraps up what has been an amazing photographical experience here in Page, AZ and Big Water, UT. But more than the images that were captured is the memories made. We met new friends, had new experiences, I over came personal fears, and we grew closer as a family. It was also our first real long term boondocking test, one that I must say the coach and family passed with flying colors. Worry not, for the best is yet to come, today we head to Zion a place that is sure to impress, and render me speechless once again.
P.S. I have to thank Tim Clark, a photographer that I met during my stay in Fenton, MO. Page was not even on our radar, he opened our eyes to it. Thank you Tim because without your advice, this would have been lost to us.
Author: Zachary Rackovan
I am a 33 year old father of two amazing daughters! I am lucky to be married to the most amazing wife in the world. I am a retired Detective and currently pursuing my dream of living on the road with my family, while working as a professional photographer. My work can be found at www.abi-photo.com/art