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ADVICE: Sedona, Anyone?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by sarhento, Aug 8, 2005.

  1. Hi Folks,

    I have a week to spare in the Fall and my wife and I have decided to go to Arizona. Here are some concerns for which I hope the good folks around here would be able to offer some advice.

    1. Is it a good time of year to visit (October - November)?

    2. We are flying to Las Vegas and drive from there to Flagstaff

    3. Flagstaff will be our "base" and hope to be making daily trips to nearby attractions such as Sedona, Grand Canyon,etc.

    4. Any other attractions we should not miss?

    5. What lenses should I carry?

    Thank you in advance, everyone.
  2. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005
    Carry as many lenses as you can muster, especially your 12-24! October is the *BEST* time to visit northern Arizona, as the foliage will be in full color.

    Sedona, Oak Creek, Williams, the telescope in Flag, San Francisco Peak, the Navajo Nation, Four Corners, Lake Powell, Lake Mead, Painted Dessert, Petrified Forrest, Flagstaff itself, the lakes around Flag, the woods around Flag, Prescott, Jerome, the old Route 66, ... can I stop now?
  3. You have picked an outstanding time to visit that area. It will be warm with cool evenings and mornings. Chris has given you some excellent tips as to the scenic areas. Be prepared to do some walking.
  4. WoW guys, thank you.

    I wish I could stay for more than a week. There are so many places to visit. Thanks, Chris and Gary. Gary, the links you shared are fantastic.

    How far are these places from my "base"?
  5. eng45ine


    May 11, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    Hi Sarhento,

    My youngest daughter and I traveled to AZ last June for a photography vacation and had a blast. We based out of Chandler but traveled to the Canyon and Sedona, each for day trips. The one attraction that I would wholeheartedly recommend is taking a guided Jeep tour in the desert with Adventure Company Jeep Tours http://www.sedonajeeptours.com/jeep_rentals.html This company may be the only Jeep tour company that allows you to drive the Jeep yourself and it is worth every single hard-earned penny. They will let you drive a Jeep Wrangler and you follow a guide in another Jeep and you stay in touch via two-way radio. He talks to you by radio and lets you in on any significance in the region. We were out almost 4 hours and the photo opportunities were endless. I was concerned about dust, which ended up not being much of a problem...bring a large re-sealable bag to keep your entire camera bag in while driving and everything should work out fine.

    The only other recommendation...bring plenty of memory. Without exageration...a day in Sedona alone could very well be a 1,000 image day. Between the two of us in a four day trip, we shot 62 rolls of 36-exposure film...thankfully, my friend owns the processing lab.
  6. That trip must have been during your pre-digital days, eh, eng45ine? :) 

    Thanks for the info on Jeep Tour - that looks like fun.
  7. Micah


    May 8, 2005
    Flagstaff is an excellent base camp. Sedona is approximately 50 miles south of Flag and you will be going through Oak Creek Canyon to get there. In the heart of Oak Creek Canyon is the West Fork. It costs $5 bucks to park all day there and the hike back in is pretty easy. I have bad knees and I make it just fine. Be prepared to get wet or hop the creek several times to get back into the best parts of the canyon. Early November is probably the best time to visit here. The colors should be outstanding by then.

    The San Francisco Peaks just north of Flag should hit peak color in October. The aspens are truly spectacular.

    Monument Valley is 2-3 hours north and east of Flagstaff. $5 bucks to get in and their campground which sits right on the edge of the park is most accommodating. If you camp out, ask for space 26. It's a group site, which will cost you $20 bucks for the night, but you will get one of the neatest views of the mittens for both sunrise and sunset.

    Antelope Canyon is just outside of Page, which is 2 hours north of Flagstaff. A photographer's tour, which is 2ish hours long will cost you about $30 bucks and $6 to park. It's at least 10-20 degrees cooler in the canyon itself, so it should be very nice. You won't get the shafts of light in there at that time of year, but the cool blues reflecting on the warm red sandstone should give you some wonderful shots.

    The Painted Desert and Petrified Forest are about an 1 1/2 hours east of Flagstaff. Mostly a sunrise or sunset area here, and no green trees for miles.
    Haven't been there is soooooo long, that I can't give you more detail than that.

    Any other questions, let me know, and I'll see what I can dig up for you.

    Hope this helps.


    p.s. Zion and Bryce Canyons in southern Utah are but a mere 4-5 hours from Flag. Their fall colors should be popping about October. Of course, there's the Grand Staircase too...so many choices. Have fun!
  8. Thank you, Micah.

    You gave me the impression that you know the area pretty much like the palm of your hand :lol:
  9. Would you folks recommend I carry a tripod? If so what? Something light but sturdy would be nice.
  10. Micah


    May 8, 2005
    If you are going to the slot canyons, aka Antelope, you will surely need a tripod. Most of my exposures were in the 30 second and up range. The upper canyon you can just walk into and the lower canyon, you have to climb down a ladder to get into it. Both canyons are different from each other and are run by different families and therefore, each charges to get in.

    Another thing that I am thinking about is a jeep tour to Hunts Mesa in Monument Valley. Haven't been on a tour, but I hear once you are on top of this mesa that overlooks the valley, you will never forget. It's been compared to an aerial view of the Valley.

    If you have a CF tripod, I would highly suggest bringing it along. Not only for the slots, but also the canopy in Oak Creek canyon can be pretty dense in places. If I had an extra one I would be happy to loan it to you while you were here.

    Anyway, as I think of things I'll post them here for you.

  11. general


    Apr 30, 2005
    Monument Valley

    Monument Valley is surely worth the time. Five dollars for entry and a self-guided tour (about 15-18) miles through the park. If you arrange for a Navajo guide in advance (for considerably more money), you can have access to sites that are not accessible on the regular tour (Ear of the Wind, Totem Pole, etc). The regular self-guided tour is definitely worthwhile. Whether the personal tour is worth it is a personal decision.
  12. Initially, when I thought of going to Arizona, I thought of wide angle lens right away. Will there be opportunities for macro photography - such as desert flowers as subject? How useful would my 80-200 lens be? I don't want to carry a lot of lenses for obvious reasons.
  13. Ron H

    Ron H

    Jul 5, 2005
    You have picked a great time to visit. Jerome, an old copper ghost town situated halfway up a mountain, is close to Sedona and worth the drive. It's not quite a ghost town now as many artisans have moved in. There are several restaurants and even a winery. Bring memory!

    The Grand Canyon will be beautiful then. If you're in decent shape, the views from within the canyon are more spectacular than those from the rim. There are several trails to hike part way down, including Bright Angel, South Kaibab, Hermit, and Grandview. Grandview out to Horseshoe Mesa and back would be excellent. Here are some photos taken inside the Canyon: http://www.pbase.com/ronhrl/inside_the_grand_canyon_

    Have a great trip!
  14. Ron, thank you.

    I spent some time browsing your gallery to get some inspiration.
  15. A couple of other places near Flagstaff include the giant meteor crater near Winslow, AZ and the Painted Desert near Holbrook, AZ, both within a couple hours of Flagstaff. Seriously though, Sedona is so beautiful and photogenic that you could spend your entire time there and get all the photos you'd ever want just hiking a single canyon. The Grand Canyon is beautiful too but can be (saddly) smoggy at times making for hazy looking photos. I'd expect your 12-24 would get the most use, and yes bring a tripod.
  16. Thank you for the tip Transmit. Concerning a tripod, I am looking at a carbon fibre one because it is light.
  17. Ron H

    Ron H

    Jul 5, 2005
    Forgot to mention Montezuma's Castle, an ancient Indian ruin, is near the area too.
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