Category Archives: Southwest USA

Southwest USA – March 2011

I made my first National Park visit and first photo specific vacation this past March. I met up with two other photographers, the first was Jeff Swanson of Interfacing Nature Photography. We both met up in Las Vegas, Jeff flew in from California and I flew in from Minnesota. We got the keys to our exotic rental, which was a sleek black ford fusion with nicely stained seats. We started the beast up and began heading  north, making a quick stop at Valley of Fire State Park. We briefly walked around a couple different areas, but the light had already started fading and a major storm was rolling in so we continued North.

Here is Jeff hanging out on the cliff side edge at Horseshoe Bend on the Colorado River in Page, AZ.

The second photographer was Lonnie Shull of Landshape Photography, he is from the Salt Lake City area and drove down to meet us at our hotel near the entrance to Zion National Park. Lonnie was familiar with the area and offered to be our chauffeur and tour guide. Over the course of 4 days we explored Zion NP, Bryce NP, Upper Antelope Slot Canyon in Page, AZ as well as Horseshoe Bend on the Colorado River. Both photographers were super down to earth, easy going and fun to hang out with. I hope to meet up with them again in the future.

Before I left on my trip, I decided I wanted to rent a telephoto lens in case I saw wildlife or wanted to reach out and catch some details in the mountains. I was going to order through one of the many online rental services that are on the internet when I was introduced to Ryan of iRentPhoto who runs an awesome camera gear rental service which happens to be local to Duluth, MN. Fortunately they had the lens that I wanted to rent, the Canon 100-400 F/4.5-5.6 L USM. Renting from iRentPhoto not only allowed me to support a local business, but I was able to pick it up and return it locally which eliminated the extra shipping charges.
I should mention that iRentPhoto does ship nationwide and although they don’t have as large of a gear selection as some of the other online rental outlets, they do carry top of the line gear and their customer service is extremely professional, friendly and fast.¬† Their rental service is geared towards rentals that require shipment and thus have a 4 day minimum rental period. For locals, rental periods can be much more flexible (even one day), but in order to set it up a local rental, you should just give them a call. All others can rent online through their website.

Here is Lonnie, taking a photo of Jeff.

This is us ripping through the Zion NP switchbacks in Lonnie’s Tribeca.

For the majority of the trip, the weather was gray and overcast making for very flat light. One day we experienced every season, with some rain, snow, melt and sunshine.
The sky finally opened up after the first couple days and gave way to big white puffer clouds with windows of blue sky. Taking trips like this, you make the most with what weather you get.
It was a phenomenal trip overall, I met two new friends, talked photography, made some new images, saw some amazing sights and even have a few local brews. I can’t wait to do it again.

Here I am, looking real tough in front of the entrance to Upper Antelope Canyon to give you an idea of the scale.

Enough Rambling, here are the photos. Please contact me if you have any questions. I am always happy to talk photography and help out when possible.

– Shawn

I almost forgot, I reviewed the Think Tank StreetWalker HardDrive backpack while I was on the eastern Plateau in Zion.
I hiked around for 4 days with this bag while in Zion National Park. it was extremely comfortable and never strained my shoulders or my back. If you are looking for a bag that is large enough to carry a couple camera bodies, several lenses, misc gear, laptop, tripod and is airplane carry on friendly, this might be the bag for you.

Purchase the StreetWalker HardDrive bag using this link – and when you order $50 or more of Think Tank gear online, at checkout you will be able to select an accessory to receive for FREE.




Also posted in Landscape, Travel