View Full Version : must see areas of Arizona.

Robert Skeoch
21-Jan-2006, 20:13
I might be able to combine a work trip with a few days off shooting in Arizona. I would be traveling in Feb. Is there 3 or 4 spots I should really try to get to?
I plan to shoot b&w 8x10 landscape. Last year I had a chance to get to Zion and really enjoyed it, so I guess I'm looking for "the grand landscape"...... but am open to other suggestions. Including ruins.
Sorry for sounding so ignorant of the area... but I've never been. I'll be flying into Phonex.

-Rob Skeoch

Josh Z.
21-Jan-2006, 20:38
I'd highly suggest the western section of Saguro National Park in Tucson. It's not far from phoenix and the entire park is accessible and has good landscape possibilities. Sedona area is always a possibility and is about an hour and a half from phoenix. The Wupatki National Monument is just north of Flagstaff and is pretty famous for its ruins as well, about two and a half hours from phoenix. If you really felt like traveling, then about 5-6 hrs east of tucson is White Sands NM. There are plenty of places, you might want to pickup a copy of Arizona Highways as well.

John Kasaian
21-Jan-2006, 20:42
The Grand Canyon, of course!

For ruins, you might want to try Walnut Canyon outside of Flagstaff (a great place for a heart attack if you're carrying an 8x10) Check the Natioinal Park website for info on Walnut Canyon.

South of Tucson you might like Bisbee, a replica of a Bavarian village that Phelps Dodge built to make the miners feel at home(in the middle of the desert) and, if you can get clearance to photograph there, the cantonment area at Ft Huachuca (very close to Tombstone.) Ft. Huachuca still has quite a few historically significant structures (I used to have an office in one of them).

Nogales has(had? Its been awhile since I was there in the early 80's) a very funky looking main street with railraod tracks that ran into Mexico, blocked by a rusty fence.

Theres also the Territorial Prison in Yuma, which I've never been to as a tourist (or inmate) but I understand it is something worth seeing.

IMHO you can go to just about anyplace in AZ and find something beautiful to photograph, except maybe in Payson.

Michael Gordon
21-Jan-2006, 21:08
It's not too late to get Laurent Martres' 'Photographing the Southwest, Vol 2'!

Craig Wactor
21-Jan-2006, 22:21
Jerome is fantastic! It is an old mining town turned artists' community North of Phoenix on the I-17. Tuzigoot National Monument is right outside Jerome. It is a cool Anasazi ruin. Montezuma's Castle is nearby too.

From there, Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon are a short drive. That is a very scenic (and often photographed) area.

The drive up 89a from Oak Creek Canyon to Flagstaff is really nice. From Flag, you can head North to the Grand Canyon, but don't miss Sunset Crater on the way. It is a really surreal landscape created by volcanos. Wupatki Ruins are nearby. The entire painted desert is a very nice place to shoot (where Sunset Crater and Wupatki are located).

Or, you could go East from Flag, and hit Walnut Canyon. It is a serious hike up and down, although it is on a paved walkway. Don't miss Route 66, where you can find yourself "standing on a corner in Winslow Arizona". Lots of Americana in Winslow.

Canyon DeChelley is not far from there, and if you go, the White House Ruins are worth the 1 mile hike down.

Hope this gives you some ideas. You may want to stay longer after seeing this awesome state.

Eric Leppanen
21-Jan-2006, 22:51
For a 3 day trip, in my mind you have two main choices:

- Keep near the I-17/US 89 corridor, which includes Sedona, Jerome, Oak Creek Canyon, Montezuma's Castle, Tuzigoot, Walnut Canyon, and of course the Grand Canyon.

- Hustle out to the four corners area and cover Canyon de Chelly and Monument Valley. Spectacular area, but will require some hard driving if you only have three days. I'd suggest spending an afternoon at Canyon de Chelly (White House ruin, Spider rock, Mummy Ruin if you have time), then a sunrise shoot at Monument Valley (the Totem Pole at sunrise is a good one). Teardrop arch at Monument Valley is another classic for late afternoon if you have time. You have to hire Navajo guides to photograph the really good stuff at Monument Valley; I was happy with Tom Phillips (www.monumentvalley.com/Pages/english_tours.html (http://www.monumentvalley.com/Pages/english_tours.html)) who has also been recommended by Robert Hitchman (author of the Photograph America newsletters).

I heartily second the recommendation of Laurent Martres' Photographing the Southwest.

Doug Dolde
21-Jan-2006, 22:57
West Fork of Oak Creek Canyon...about 8 miles noth of Sedona on the way to Flagstaff. You don't have to hike very far to get to the good stuff.


Brian Vuillemenot
21-Jan-2006, 23:34
If you make it to the southwest part of the state, I'd recommend Organ Pipe Catus National Monument. The desert should be starting to bloom around then. Of course, all the sites all ready mentioned are world class photographic destinations, but one trip to Arizona (unless very long) would not be sufficient to see them all. Southern AZ will be quite a bit warmer than the northern part of the state, so if you're going to be in Phoenix, you might want to do Saguaro and Organ Pipe.

Aaron van de Sande
22-Jan-2006, 08:24
If you want to avoid having to deal with tripod holes in your photos just get a map and drive around. There is plenty to photograph out here wherever you go.

Allen Quinn
22-Jan-2006, 10:39
...the Minutemen near the border with their lawn chairs and binoculars would make an interesting project (:

Duane Polcou
22-Jan-2006, 15:14
Rob - check out www.americansouthwest.net, and click on your state of choice. More photo ops listed than could fill a lifetime of vacations.

Wayne Crider
22-Jan-2006, 20:40
The West Fork of Oak Creek Canyon is considered one of the most scenic trails in America; Well maybe in the spring when the leaves are out. The problem is, is that the AZ land is so much prettier in the spring then in winter, not that is is so much a slouch now, it's just nicer looking with some rain on it. I had just visited again in December and wasn't to enthralled because of the lack of rain which had been in short supply till I left in early January, and if that continues the spring flowers will probably not look as good this year. One place that I really enjoyed photographing tho is the Vulture gold mine out in Wichenburg, about a hour and a half west of Phoenix. Great buildings, machinery etc. Good place for B&W. check out http://www.jpc-training.com/vulture.htm

If you have time and have not been, the Grand Canyon is my favorite. Sedona is a must see, just for the experience. Overall the state is extremely photogenic, so sometimes it's just fun to jump in the car and go. Check out the local travel section at the Barnes and Noble and see what wets your appetite.

William Mortensen
22-Jan-2006, 22:36
From Tucson, a note to anyone considering a trip to southern Arizona to photograph the wildflowers this spring: We're getting close to the end of the winter "rainy season," and we've gone over 100 days without measureable rain. The desert is looking pretty stressed, and it promises to be a flowerless spring.

bob woitaszewski
24-Jan-2006, 16:02
So many places, I can't believe that you guys left out Monument Valley, The Goosenecks, Mexican Hat, UT, Page, Lake Powell, Coyote Buttes, the ruins at Waputki just NE of Flagstaff,
Petrified Forest in Winslow in NE, AZ.
The issue is pick a geographical area. from Phoenix to the Gand Canyon visitor's Center is 5 hours or so. If I had 3 days, I'd
1) Do the ruins at Waputki not Walnut Canyon,
2) Do Monumant Valley adn the Goosenecks. The scenery arounf Mexican Hat, UT is fantastic,
3) Do Canyon De Chelley - BUT in early spring U will need to shoot mid-day
4) Approach the Grand Canyon from the EAST thru Cameron, AZ. that way you can stop at the Watch Tower and several scenicpull-outs before you hit crowds at the South Rim.
The sunrise and sunsets at the South Rim are just majic, color ot B&W

Mike H.
25-Jan-2006, 11:50
Add to the above: Hour or so east of Phoenix to Globe/Miami area for old mines, buildings, ruins, etc. Same south of Tucson to old Spanish mission named Tumacacori. Hour west of Phoenix for Eagle Tail, Hummingbird Springs and Big Horn wilderness areas - but those require good maps and 4-Wheel drive for access. Then you could just stay in the downtown Phoenix area and wander the alleys or talk to the homeless people - never can tell what you might find to photograph. Or, one hour north to the Agua Fria National Monument and old indian ruins - not as spectacular as Montezuma's Castle, Montezuma's Well or Tonto National Monument, but very original and a challenge to get to or find - along with lots of petrolglyphs in the same areas. Sedona has quite a few well publicized petroglyph areas, by the way, in addition to the stunning red rock vistas. Our LF class goes frequently to the Westfork area above Sedona. IF the weather is good, the Flagstaff area, around the east side of the San Francisco Peaks is great. Wander that area and you'll find Sunset Crater and Wupatki National Monument (both already mentioned) and then only a few miles north you'll wander into the Navajo Indian Reservation - which provides a totally different type of vista. You could spend YEARS photographing here. Only two or three days? How sad ...