View Full Version : Need advice, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon

3-May-2010, 23:03
Hello there.
I just decided to be a part of "crazy" trip. We are arriving LV, NE Wednesday night, leaving back to Chicago following Saturday.late afternoon. I take with Canon 5D MarkII and Sinar 8x10. I've never been over there, and regarding 2 days only for trips - time is a big issue. Regarding limitation of luggage in the planes I will have 3 holders only, changing bag, and maybe 10 negatives extra. I suppose to be the only driver, and rest of our party agree to wait until I will take pictures.
I have some questions.
1. How to prevent 8x10 negatives from destroying by X-ray scanning at airports.
2. Where to go in Great Canyon to take good landscaping images? We will rent SUV to be independent. We want to leave LV before sunrise to stop by Hoover Dam driving East. In canyon we'll pass this time Skywalk a matter of photography restrictions. Is any point of interest by the road from LV to canyon? Or anything around Las Vegas. Maybe Death Valley? Please, help me find some hints. What do you think about Hualapai dances and demonstrations?
Thank you in advance.

3-May-2010, 23:59
1) Don't worry about the x-rays (as long as holders and film are not in the checked-in baggage). Ask for hand inspection if you are worried about it.

2) Valley of Fire -- 55 miles from LV


Grand Canyon -- anywhere along the South Rim -- lots of viewpoints. But the chances are high that your images will look like everyone else's GC photos from the South Rim...somewhat unavoidable. Hope for clouds.

4-May-2010, 22:10
Thank you very much Vaughn for your information. I will follow it.

John Kasaian
4-May-2010, 22:29
Interesting architecture nearby: the new parking garage at Boulder Dam. Really!

Jim Becia
5-May-2010, 04:52
Zion (my personal favorite) is only a 2.5 hour drive from LV. Death Valley is about the same but I would guess temperatures might be getting a bit warm (at least for me) at this time of the year. I have always found the north rim of the Grand Canyon to be more enjoyable than the south rim, however, it adds considerable driving time to get there. Whatever you choose, I'm sure you will have a great time. Jim

5-May-2010, 05:53
Thank you again for your help, hope would be able to post some fine pictures. So far one from Lake Forest, IL - view for front of Library building (sinar p 8x10)


5-May-2010, 05:59
Do not underestimate the distances involved in that area. Grand Canyon Village, on the South Rim, from Las Vegas is 250-300 miles. And things in the village move slowly.

Valley of Fire State Park, which is off of I-15 north of Las Vegas, and Red Rock Canyon, off Charleston Street maybe 20 miles west of Las Vegas, are close enough so that you can spend more time actually photographing than driving. If you want mountains, drive up to Mount Charleston, which is a ski resort but pretty quiet when there is no snow. Those three will fill up two days completely, especially if you are making 10 images using an 8x10. If you run through those too fast and have time left over, do Hoover Dam. Highway 167 leads along the north side of Lake Mead from Valley of Fire. It connects to Highway 147, which runs into U.S. 93 just west of the dam. That is a nice scenic drive that will give you a real flavor of the Great Basin desert area.

Save the Colorado Plateau for when you can devote a week.

Rick "warning that you'll waste a whole day on the Skywalk, which is no better than a tourist trap" Denney

5-May-2010, 06:00
Crazy trip? Only a couple days for the Canyon? Be truly crazy and get out of the SUV.
Walk an hour or so down one of the Canyon trails - use your friends as pack mules to help haul that honkin 810 down (and back up). The South Kaibab trail to Cedar Point would be my choice for a quick LF destination but the choices are endless and none of them would disappoint. A side benefit? - the stunned, confused and fascinated expressions on the faces of the digital herd when confronted by a real camera:p . Beware - that hour or so walk down the trail turns into a two hour or so slog back up unless you are very athletic. As Vaughn said, hope for clouds - and start early. -Chris

Dave Jeffery
6-May-2010, 03:49
The north rim of the Grand Canyon is usually closed until mid May. The south rim of the Grand Canyon is about a 5 1/2 hour drive from Vegas and I would not recommend making the diversion to go to the west rim skywalk thingy on short time constraints. There are lots of places along the south rim to stop and shoot many pictures. If you can time your travel to watch the sunrise at a spot at the Grand Canyon that you have never been to before it's great to see the hills in the distance light up and the light slowly fill in the canyon. Magical!

There is still lots of snow on the trails at Mt. Charleston and there is not much to shoot there when the trails are not accessible and there are so many better places at this time of year.

The Valley of Fire is close by and the wildflower bloom is still on a little there and it's 50 miles north of Las Vegas on I-15. Hike around the White Domes area. If you go there for a few hours you can get back on the I-15 and continue up to Zion National Park in Utah which will be less than another 2 hour drive from the Valley of Fire turn off. Zion is amazing and well worth the drive. Make sure and drive up through the tunnel in Zion but you can turn around at Checkerbaord Mesa and stop at the next few pull outs on the right returning into the park. The drive from Zion to Bryce NP is also beautiful (2 hrs.) but Bryce will still be cool at night @ 8400 ft.

If you have the option to drive at night and enjoy more time at your locations during the day do so as you will not miss much looking at miles of desert along the way. I always drive at night whenever possible as it's cooler out, the roads are always dry and in great condition and there is less traffic. There are not a lot of highways out here so navigating at night is easy.

If you like to have a fire at night and you are going north into Utah you could pick up some firewood in Las Vegas as a lot of firewood sold in Utah is wet birch which doesn't always burn well. If you are going to go to more than two US National Parks in a year you may as well buy a year pass which is about $60?

Tough call between the south rim of the Grand Canyon and Zion etc. If your friends don't mind the 5 1/2 hour drive and you can safely do it at night the south rim is great. You can't go wrong either way though and maybe just check the weather when you get here to see if the conditions might make the decision more obvious. Usually it's just hot sunny and dry.

Death Valley is great but it's the second largest park in the U.S. and the drives inside the park are long.

You'll have a great trip.

Dave Jeffery
6-May-2010, 04:02
There can be a lot of deer near, or on, the roads as you get about 40 miles away from the south rim of the Grand Canyon in the early morning.

Richard Raymond
6-May-2010, 08:16
Sounds like an interesting sprint. Current sunrise in Las Vegas is around 05:30. If you do leave before then on Thursday morning the traffic will be light. If you stop for 30 minutes or so at Boulder Dam then you should be able to make it to the Grand Canyon by lunch. This will give you time to check in and do some sight seeing and photos along the south rim for the afternoon and evening. Arizona is on the same time as Las Vegas during the summer so sunset will be a little earlier than you would normally expect. The moon will be just past New Moon phase so the skies will be dark. Stay overnight in your motel and get up VERY early for sunrise photos. Sunrise will be a little before 5. Photograph in the morning and then head back to LV in the afternoon. It will take about an hour longer to get back because of the weekend traffic coming into Las Vegas. Party Friday night and back to Chicago on Saturday. The only item from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon that you may be interested in is the scenic train that goes from Williams up to the canyon.