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Archive for January, 2011

Last year my wife and I went on a trip to photograph the southwest desert. We went to Sedona, AZ, the Grand Canyon, Page Arizona where we went to Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon. Then we were off to North Coyote Buttes to hike to “The Wave”. After that we ventured north-west to Zion National Park in Utah. Once our fun was done in Zion we headed back to San Diego via an overnight stay in Las Vegas.

 

Sunset Sedona Arizona

Sunset in Sedona Arizona

We were lucky enough to arrive in Sedona right at sunset. I captured this right off the side of the road.

 

Grand Canyon Sunset

Grand Canyon Sunset

We went on this great hike in Sedona which put us a little behind schedule but we were able to race to the Grand Canyon and make it just in time for sunset.

 

Grand Canyon Sunset

Grand Canyon Sunset

From the Grand Canyon we drove to Page, Arizona to spend the night. The next morning I woke up for sunrise to shoot Horseshoe Bend.

 

Sunrise Horseshoe Bend
Sunrise Horseshoe Bend

Just to give you perspective if you’ve never been there before that white trail in the water to the bottom left is a boat and it’s wake driving down the river.

I had a scary moment at Horseshoe Bend that morning. I was walking on the uneven rocks in my hiking boots and tripped. I wasn’t anywhere near the ledge with the 1000′ drop off (however far it is, not sure exactly but it’s far) luckily. However I did manage to fall off of a 3′ or 4′ ledge and in the process got twisted in the air and knew I was going to land hard. Falling towards the hard rocks hip first all I could think was NOOOOOOOOOOO as I saw my tripod and camera sailing through the air towards the rocks. I hit so hard I couldn’t walk for about 5 minutes (ended up having a huge purple bruise covering my left hip). Expecting the worst I edged over to my camera thinking I would find the lens snapped of the body or a shattered front element of the $2000 24mm tilt shift (pc-e) lens I had attached.

To my  amazement everything looked fine. I was thinking to myself “how…? what…? No Way!!!”. After closer inspection it turns out that the L-bracket I had attached to my camera body (used to quickly attach to your tripod in either horizontal or vertical position) took the brunt of the impact. Right on the bottom corner of the L the camera hit the rocks. In fact it hit so hard it actually bent the L Bracket 1/2 an inch. Quite something considering they are machined from aluminum. Camera equipment and lens were fine and functioning.

L-Bracket

L-Bracket

 

After breakfast back at the hotel in Page we were off to Antelope Canyon to see the slot canyons.

These have been photographed a lot, and for good reason they are absolutely beautiful.

 

Antelope Canyon Photo

Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon Photograph

Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon Photo

Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon Photograph

Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon Photo

Antelope Canyon

 

The following day we headed West towards Utah for our next leg. We were headed to “The Wave” in North Coyote Buttes” Wilderness area. This was the place that spawned this whole trip. The Wave is basically a crazy rock formation that is actually petrified sand dunes. It’s in the middle of nowhere and you can only go to see it if you have a permit. BLM only give out 20 hiking permits per day to go there. 10 they give out 3 months ahead of time via lottery (which is how we got ours). The other 10 they give out the day before in person only again via lottery system.

Once you get your permit you still have to get there. It’s a fairly rough dirt road for 7 or 8 miles to where you park. Then you have to hike about 3.5 miles one way with no marked trails over loose rocks, sand and hard sandstone rocks. Map and compass skills are a definite plus unless you have a hand-held GPS. A little over halfway on our hike it started snowing HARD!!! My wife wanted to turn around “it’s like a blizzard out here they’re going to find my frozen popsicle body out here, this is not safe!!!” Oh did I mention she was 3 1/2 months pregnant? Somehow I convinced her to keep going, something like “I checked the radar before we left and it’s going to blow over in no time”.

 

The Start of the Heavy Snow
The Start of the Heavy Snow

Click image to view larger

Shortly after the snow started
Shortly after the snow started
Trekking through the snow
Trekking through the snow

 

The snow definitely made it more difficult to navigate because it turned everything white it all started looking the same. We did manage to find our way and as soon as we hiked the last hill. Which by the way is a sand dune on the side of a steep hill and while slightly wet and covered with snow made it a little challenging or should I say tiring. No sooner than we got to the top than lo and behold the sun broke through the clouds and the snow stopped!!! Of course I turned to my wife and said “see I told you it was just blowing over”. She still wasn’t buying my in-depth Meteorologist skills.

 

Entrance to the Wave

Entrance to the Wave

THE WAVE

THE WAVE

 

The sun came out and there was still snow on the ground. I was extremely excited because I personally haven’t seen any pictures of “The Wave” with snow (I’m sure they’re out there).

 

 

North Coyote Buttes Photograph

North Coyote Buttes

The Wave Photo

The Wave

Melted snow later in the day

Melted snow later in the day

After an exciting day and one to always remember we were off once again. Tomorrow’s destination Zion National Park.

 

 

Zion National Park Photograph

Zion National Park

Zion National Park Waterfalls Photo

Zion National Park Waterfalls

 

If you look closely there are actually 4 waterfalls in the photograph (might be harder to see with this size image).

Heading back to San Diego we made a pit stop in Las Vegas for a night then back home to Sunny San Diego. I believe we did 1800 miles in 8 days and saw many great places. I was amazed at how much we were able to fit in. It definitely helped planning everything out ahead of time and the best routes to take. Until the next adventure enjoy.

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I just redesigned my website.

www.JFennellPhoto.com

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