A very short time ago, we ventured out west, taking a 2 week road trip around the southwest. Starting in Las Vegas, Nevada, we ventured into Arizona. The red rocks, vast skies, and dramatic lighting made us feel like the entire state was on fire. This was my second visit to the Copper State and I fell in love with it all over again. Click here to visit my new Southwest | Arizona gallery.
While I’ve mixed my old and new images, believing that the terrain is timeless, the vast majority of my new images are up front for your viewing pleasure. I will be sharing my Utah and Nevada images in a future post.
We initially stayed in Tusayan, right outside the Grand Canyon National Park. With only a 10 minute drive to the south rim,
Slideshow: Southwest | Arizona Photography Gallery
we had access to one of the most amazing views in the world. I knew that shooting the canyon would be a challenge.One of the most photographed locations in the world, it has become difficult to create a new, unique image. With only three days, I would not have time to “wait for the light.” Its vastness also makes it difficult to comprehend in my viewfinder. My cousin David recently sent me an e-mail that I think says it well:
The Grand Canyon is perhaps the most seductive, and at the same time most elusive, object of photography in the world. One is forced to take dozens and dozens of pictures, from different angles, at different times of the day, from different ridges, trying desperately to capture something of its majestic, unfathomable beauty, but it is always useless. The pics never ever come out even close to doing the canyon justice, no offense to Jason. But, I don’t think anybody ever really has, not even the ones who take those glorious slides you can buy in the gift shops. There is a certain TEXTURE and scale and depth that just can’t be captured. If cameras could capture the emotions of the people taking the pictures as they view that magnificence, then the pictures might come closer.
I feel that David’s statement has some truth to it, but misses the photographic mark. Thus, I responded:
I am inclined to agree with you that it is potentially impossible to capture the grandeur of the canyon. However, I believe that I, along with my fellow photogs, are humble enough to be satisfied with only capturing parts of it. The goal of a fine art photograph is not necessarily to capture all that is beautiful about the subject. We can only venture to do our own small parts. For instance, many portraitists may photograph the entire human body or a headshot, many others, such as Mapplethorpe, will find incredible beauty in a small curve, an interesting angle, even an elbow.
While you appear to lament the need to “take dozens and dozens of pictures, from different angles, at different times of the day, from different ridges,” in a desperate attempt to capture the canyon’s beauty, I believe to the contrary! The canyon is so giving and dynamic that it affords us the opportunity to continually take new and fresh images on a daily basis. I can sit here and photograph my calculator to death. Sure, some of them will be pretty unique from one another, but there is only so far I can go. The canyon provides us with exponentially more options and inspirations. There is no need to capture its entire essence. I am quite satisfied with photographing an inkling of its beauty.
We also spent a few days in Page, Arizona. While the civilization of Page is nothing to write home about, its location is spectacular. From its hillside, you stare right into Glen Canyon. How majestic! The town is also minutes from Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend and Lake Powell. The local food is also amazing! I had quite possibly the greatest breakfast of my life at the Ranch House Grille. Fresh eggs, tasty western hash browns, and a chicken fried steak to die for. I needed some serious hiking to burn all of that off. While I photographed the chicken fried steak for my personal collection, I have opted to share with you the incredible vast landscapes available in an around Page.
After a few days, we ventured along 89A to pass the Vermilion Cliffs and Marble Canyon before heading into Utah. The entire drive took a little longer so we could stop and take photographs along the way.
I hope you enjoy the gallery. When you finish looking at it, please come back here and provide your comments to this post!