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USA Landscape Photography Road Trip


“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” Arthur Miller

After my first road trip around the American South West with my wife in 2008, I was hooked by the immense landscapes this region has to offer.digital photography holidays holiday vacations tour tours workshop workshops to America USA American South West Canyonlands hosted by Stephen Studd

I spent all of that first trip photographing the landscapes for an agency, I was captured  by the changes in light and magnificence of the vistas. I knew this part of the world would be one that I would return to over the years.

My most recent trip here was in September 2017, spending 3 weeks photographing the landscapes for a commission and another 2 weeks leading a group of photographers on a photography tour I run. My circular route which started in Las Vegas, took me on roads that are as straight as the eye can see to small friendly towns, and through some of the world’s best desert scenery in the world

Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada is aptly named, the red sandstone formations give the area a warm fiery colouring even in bright sunlight.USa 2017 Valley of Fire Nevada digital photography holidays holiday vacations tour tours workshop workshops to America USA American South West Canyonlands hosted by Stephen StuddIt can get pretty hot here too, but the warm hued landscapes are worth the heat, especially near to sunset when the place comes on fire.

Just a couple of hours drive from the Valley of Fire is Zion National Park, one of my favourite places for photography. In the lower part of Zion you literally get neck ache looking up at the towering peaks of the mountains from the Virgin River which flows through this immense scenery.USA America Nevada Utah Arizona south west travel landscape photography tours workshops holidays vacations 2018 2019 with Stephen Studd

However the top part of Zion is my favourite spot. I took a series of photo’s of the Navajo sandstone rock formations back in 2008 which won an award in the landscape category of the International Photography Awards.

Since then I have spent much time photographing in this area as I am fascinated by the unique Navajo sandstone landscape.

digital photography holidays vacations tours workshops to America USA American South West Canyonlands hosted by Stephen Studd

Another few hours drive away sees you at Bryce Canyon which despite its name, is not a canyon, but a collection of giant natural amphitheaters. Bryce is distinctive for its hoodoos, formed by frost weathering and stream erosion of the river and lake bed sedimentary rocks. Bryce sits at a much higher elevation than Zion and is much cooler as the rim at Bryce varies from 2,400 to 2,700 m, due to the remote location it doesn’t get the crowds that other parks do.

digital photography holidays holiday vacations tour tours workshop workshops to America USA American South West Canyonlands hosted by Stephen Studd

Sunrises here are particularly special.

USA travel landscape photography tours workshops holidays vacations 2018 2019 with Stephen Studdas the hoodoos glow in the morning sunlight.

USA America Nevada Utah Arizona south west travel landscape photography tours workshops holidays vacations 2018 2019 with Stephen StuddAs Utah is +1 hour ahead in time from Nevada and Arizona, sunrises are at a very comfortable 7.00am in September, no excuses for getting up for these views.

digital photography holidays holiday vacations tour tours workshop workshops to America USA American South West Canyonlands hosted by Stephen Studd

Horseshoe Bend near Page in Arizona is another favourite place for the landscape photographer, especially at sunset.

USA America Nevada Utah Arizona south west travel landscape photography tours workshops holidays vacations 2018 2019 with Stephen Studd

Again in Page is Antelope Slot Canyon in Navajoland, a place that is really high on the photographers bucket list. Places are limited to just 6 people for the photography tours in Upper Antelope Canyon, with only 2 tours a day they can sell out years in advance. I have been lucky to have photographed here twice and already have a booking for 5 places for the September 2018 tour.

Photographing Antelope Slot Canyon has been one of the highlights of my professional photography career, the images you capture here are truly awesome, with the ever changing light bouncing around the canyon walls that have been weathered into beautiful shapes and patterns over eons of time.

Just 120 miles from Page is Monument Valley Tribal Park in Utah, the sacred heart of the Navajo Nation and a place I had always wanted to visit from an early age, it doesn’t let you down once you get there and it’s easy to see why it became an iconic symbol of the American West. My first visit was in 2008 when there was no hotel there, we camped under a cloudless sky looking at the Milky Way all night and I knew it was a place I would return to again and again.Monument Valley USA American travel landscape photography tours workshops holidays vacations 2018 2019 with Stephen StuddThe skies here can be outrageously moody.USA America Nevada Utah Arizona south west travel landscape photography tours workshops holidays vacations 2018 2019 with Stephen StuddIn a very synchronistic way that always seem to happen on Navajo Land, I have teamed up with a Navajo friend who has taken me way off road to a place only accessible with a Navajo guide, this has been the highlight on the photo tour I run here. The drive is totally amazing going over terrain that only a local would be confident doing, but once at the top of one of the mesa’s the panoramic views of the sandstone formations from a distance bathed in warm evening light are breath taking.Monument Valley USA American travel landscape photography toursAs for the desert night skies high up from this vantage point, you can see the Milky Way and a billion stars as there is no light pollution here. The sunrises from up here too are a landscape photographers dream.

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It’s always hard to leave Monument Valley and the amazing landscapes, but 180 miles drive away you reach yet another photographers bucket list location the Grand Canyon from the East side with its jaw dropping views.USA America Nevada Utah Arizona south west travel landscape photography tours workshops holidays vacations 2018 2019 with Stephen StuddThe Grand Canyon is world famous for the light, which photographs well whatever the weather conditions are. I personally prefer real moody scenes as they really add drama to photographs,USA America Nevada Utah Arizona south west travel landscape photography tours workshops holidays vacations 2018 2019 with Stephen Studdthe same scene can change within a very short space of time, making it worthwhile to stop and photograph the ever changing views that appear in front of your lens._MG_3669.jpgThere are so many great turn outs to stop at along the south rim meaning that you don’t have to walk far for stunning photographs.

USA America Nevada Utah Arizona south west travel landscape photography tours workshops holidays vacations 2018 2019 with Stephen Studd

There is also an excellent free shuttle bus that goes to the main view points, that start way before sunrise, which is excellent news for photographers.

Historic Route 66 was my next stop on the circle route back to Vegas, which takes in USA America Nevada Utah Arizona south west travel landscape photography tours workshops holidays vacations 2018 2019 with Stephen StuddAmericana and old-school kitsch._MG_4040-EditHackberry stores literally in the middle of nowhere is sure worth a stop on the way back,USA America Nevada Utah Arizona south west travel landscape photography tours workshops holidays vacations 2018 2019 with Stephen Studdas is the strange little town of Chloride, those that have been there will know what I mean!USA America Nevada Utah Arizona south west travel landscape photography tours workshops holidays vacations 2018 2019 with Stephen Studd

Taking this 14 day circular route from Las Vegas it is possible to photograph every day of the road trip, spending a few nights at the best locations, with plenty of sunrise and sunset shots along the way. There are relatively short drives on quiet roads, the longest drive I ever did in between locations was 3 hours, but still stopped on the way for some unique American shots.

digital photography holidays holiday vacations tour tours workshop workshops to America USA American South West Canyonlands hosted by Stephen Studd upper antelope canyonThe one thing you will need for a two week road trip is plenty of storage space to back up all the photographs you will take. USA America Nevada Utah Arizona south west travel landscape photography tours workshops holidays vacations 2018 2019 with Stephen StuddInstead of heading back to the madness of Vegas after this nature immersion I like to stay in Boulder City, Nevada. On the way you pass the Hoover Dam, worthy of a quick visit. Boulder is a small compact city that you can walk around and has some fantastic places to eat and craft beer micro breweries. From here it’s only a short drive to Las Vegas airport to fly home.USA America Nevada Utah Arizona south west travel landscape photography tours workshops holidays vacations 2018 2019 with Stephen StuddThere’s great value to be taken from photography road-tripping as they are not only full USA America Nevada Utah Arizona south west travel landscape photography tours workshops holidays vacations 2018 2019 with Stephen Studd

of wonderful adventures, but also give you space for new ideas and help you improve your landscape photography skills, and you’ll come away with powerful compelling photo’s and a whole new way of seeing the world.

CAMERA EQUIPMENT ESSENTIALS: Sturdy tripod as it can get windy, remote release, ND soft graduated filters, ND filters, spare memory cards, selection of lenses with lens hoods, including a fast wide angle lens if you intend to do any astro-photography. Plus of course back up hard drives, laptop/tablet.


I RUN LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY ROAD TRIPS in South West USA each September, the next one starting on September 9th 2018. Maximum 4 guests only, with just 1 place left. Full details and itinerary can be found on my website HERE

I also lead travel and landscape photography tours and workshops in Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, Wales & England: www.digitalphotographyholidays.com


STAY CONNECTED:
Facebook: DigitalPhotographyHolidays
Instagram: @digitalphotographyholidays
Twitter: @PhotographyHols
Google +: +Digitalphotographyholidays

 

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New for 2014: Travel Photography City Break holidays to Paris, Prague, Venice & Marrakech

I have just added new travel photography city break destinations for 2014 on my Digital Photography Holidays website.

Digital Travel photography holidays holiday vacations vacation tours workshops workshop tour City Breaks to Paris, Prague, Rome, Venice  Marrakech Burma Myanmar Angkor Wat Cambodia Bangkok Thailand hosted by Stephen Studd

Travel Photography Holidays

The photography city breaks will take us to fantastic iconic photographic locations and the time away will be packed full of photography. The photography city breaks are aimed at all levels of photographer as I tailor the photo shoots to your individual needs.

All the hotels I have hand picked to be in the centre so you won`t have to waste time travelling long distances as there are great photo opportunities as soon as we leave the hotel door. As with all my photography holidays there is no single person supplement and non-photography partners are welcome. The holidays, dates and itineraries can be found at www.digitalphotographyholidays.com

Subscribers to my newsletter are always the first to hear about new photography holidays and they also receive voucher codes for special offers. (In January 2014 I will be announcing brand new UK photography retreats, workshops and courses)

To sign up for the newsletter please follow the link: http://www.digitalphotographyholidays.com/466457/newsletter/

I look forward to welcoming you on one of my Digital Photography Holidays “may the light be with you”


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Photo Tip Friday, invest in a compass

One of the most essential accessories in my kit bag is a compass. It has travelled the world with me to some amazing locations over the years.

I use it when scouting locations to see where sunrise and sunset will be and is particularly useful when skies are dull and overcast. With the use of the compass you will then know if a location is good for sunrise or sunset light.

For the UK a sun compass can be used which tells you where the suns position will be throughout the year, great for location finding and advanced planning.

If you have a smartphone there are apps for this too, though I still stick to my trusty battery free simple compass which I`ve had for 20+ years.