View Full Version : Las Vegas - Where to for Landscape shots?

Jack Brady
16-Jun-2006, 14:02

I will be joining my wife who has a business conference to attend in Las Vegas the last week of June. I will be free from June 30th until July 5 and plan to focus on landscape photography.

I'll be renting a car and would like your suggestions on what locations you have enjoyed photographing that are within a 6-7 hour maximum drive from Vegas.

I'm aware that the early part of July can be quite hot and uncomfortable for hiking and toting a 4x5 in a backpack. Thus, any sites that are "cooler" will be given higher priority, that is unless the beauty of a hoter site makes it worth being miserable!

Your suggestions would be appreciated.


Eric Leppanen
16-Jun-2006, 14:52
A 6-7 hour maximum drive from Las Vegas encompasses much of the most scenic territory in the Southwest! I would suggest a grand tour, something like Vegas-to-Zion/Bryce-to-Moab/Arches/Canyonlands-to-Monument Valley-to-Canyon de Chelly-to-Grand Canyon-to-Vegas. Of course you'll have time to explore only a fraction of these destinations so you'll have to prioritize.

I suggest reading buying Laurent Martres' wonderful guidebooks Photographing the Southwest (http://www.phototripusa.com/). I believe Laurent based many of his trips to this area out of Vegas. Volume 1 has recently been revised and now includes an attempt at rating the various scenic locations by photographic as well as touristic interest. These books will neatly identify your options and help you narrow down what you want to do. Highly recommended!

Bob Hitchman also writes an excellent photographic newsletter called Photograph America, and he actually has an issue covering a grand tour out of Las Vegas (http://www.photographamerica.com/issue77.htm). His proposed grand tour takes two weeks, but still provides some excellent ideas on what to see.

You could try to stay at higher elevations to stay relatively cool (Bryce, Cedar Breaks, etc.) but you'd be missing out on a lot of neat stuff. There are a lot of good photo targets in the hotter areas which are only a short distance from the car, and I think these would make a good compromise.

Hugo Zhang
16-Jun-2006, 16:10
Death Valley is only two hours away.

Robert Oliver
16-Jun-2006, 21:19
the easter slope of the sierras (bishop, mammoth etc...) are about 7 hours.

Just out side of vegas is Red Rock conservation area (http://www.nv.blm.gov/redrockcanyon/) looks cool from a distance.

meant to go there last trip, but after an all-nighter losing my shirt at 3-card poker I didn't make it the 10 miles to the park.

Juergen Sattler
16-Jun-2006, 21:21
If you want something really close by, go to the Valley of Fire Statepark- it is only 30minutes from Vegas and has some beautiful rock formations. One could easily spend a week there!

16-Jun-2006, 21:52
I would definitely stick with desert as suggested above, but Sierras are within the range if you are after some cool.

If it's Death Valley, I'd strongly recommend renting a truck (PU or real off-roader SUV) to get to some of the best places (and back). Also, it might be a good idea to leave a will in case the rental vehicle breaks down or gets stuck...

Eric Biggerstaff
16-Jun-2006, 21:54
Red Rocks is a beautiful place and about 20 minutes from downtown. I have spent alot of time on the side of those cliffs over the years and it is beautiful. I great place to go in the evening and there is a one-way paved road that will take you close to the most scenic areas.

Zion is a few hours away, Valley of Fire is also beautiful and as Juergen said about 30 minutes from downtown.

You already know that Death Valley is close and the time of year you are going make sure to arrive REAL early and leave soon after.

There is A LOT of area around Vegas and you would be well advised to get one of the books listed above to maximize you time. I would suggest finding an area close so you don't feel rushed and take your time. You can't see it all in a day so pick a place you really have wanted to go to for a long time and go!

Have fun!

David A. Goldfarb
17-Jun-2006, 14:22
I'll echo the suggestions above and add the Mt. Charleston area, particularly if it's really hot when you're in Vegas. It's not a long drive, and there's some beautiful scenery up there, and it's often about 25 deg. F cooler up there.