Arizona has breath-taking scenery and draws thousands of photographers every year. Both professional and novice photographers set out in search of the perfect shot and spend weekends traipsing through backroad territories trying to find it.
Before you head off chasing the light, assemble the equipment you need.
- Your camera. It seems self-explanatory, but double check your camera bag and make sure the camera is there. Check the memory card (and bring a back-up!). You will never regret having an extra, but will always regret having to stop shooting when your card is full.
- Extra battery pack. Better safe than sorry. The day you don’t bring an extra will be the day your battery dies.
- A tripod. Setting the camera up to catch the light as it moves through the desert, filters through the leaves or crests over the mountain range will be easier with a tripod.
- A notebook. Make notes of when, where and other details of the day. Jot down your thoughts about the pictures you’re taking, so you can refer to them later as needed.
Be Cautious of These Locations
Not all Arizona landscapes are easy to capture. When planning your adventure, be cautious of these locations.
Photographer Terry White cautions photographers about the drive to Bryce Canyon. Consult a map and carefully plan your route before venturing to this location.
Monica Cardone warns visitors about potential fraud issues in Show Low, Arizona. While credit card fraud isn’t usually an issue for photographers, it is a danger readers should be aware of.
Best Places for Landscape Photography
Wondering where to start in your search of Arizona’s perfect scene? Try one of these.
Overlooking the Colorado River, Horseshoe Bend is breathtaking at both sunrise and sunset. A short 15-minute walk from the parking lot will put you in the perfect spot for a panoramic view of the Grand Canyon and the river. The terrain is filled with loose rocks and sand, so wear appropriate footwear. The weather can be vastly different, moving from extremes in both directions.
San Rafael Valley
Outside Patagonia is the remote area of San Rafael. Cattle ranches and farms abound, but the valley is filled with a quiet beauty that provides you views of the sweeping landscapes Arizona is known for. If you’re lucky, you can capture some shots of the raptors that winter in Arizona. Make sure you bring your telephoto lens for capturing every angle.
Juxtaposing the beauty of the desert with the expanse of Cochise Lake gives photographers the chance to take photos in vivid colors. As a watering spot for migrating birds travelling through Arizona, you can catch some wonderful scenes of nature’s highlights. Monsoon season offers stunning views of lightning storms, so use both a standard and a telephoto lens.
London Bridge, purchased by Robert McCulloch, was reassembled in the city in 1971 and has drawn the attention of thousands of visitors. The best time to capture images at the bridge is during the blue hour –starting 55 minutes before sunrise or 15 minutes after sunset.
Finding the perfect shot is easy when the landscape is as beautiful as the ones offered by Arizona. Perhaps the most difficult part of capturing the best scenes in Arizona is trying to decide which one is your favorite.