Weathered and twisted Juniper tree (Juniperus osteosperma) at dawn on rim Green River Overlook, Canyonlands National Park Utah

Fall Southwest Photography Tour 2022

Autumn along the Virgin River, The Watchman in the distance, Zion National Park Utah Virgin River Zion National Park #09187   Purchase

Fall is here and the air is finally free of wildfire smoke! So after delaying several summer photo trips we’re excited to get back on the road for a lengthy photo tour. This year the bulk of the trip will be to locations in Red Rock Canyon Country and National Parks of Southern Utah. Listed below are some of the location on the itinerary, generally in order from beginning to end.

If you have any locations or subject matter which interests you in, and we can include in our itinerary, let us know. Also let us know if you will be in any of these ares in October, it would be great to meet up with you!

  • Craters of the Moon National Monument
  • Grand Teton National Park
  • Flaming Gorge
  • Dinosaur National Monument
  • Arches National Park
  • Canyonlands National Park
  • Cedar Mesa/Bears Ears Wilderness, Anasazi Ruins
  • Capitol Reef National Park
  • Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, slot canyons and arches
  • Bryce Canyon National Park
  • Zion National Park
  • Great Basin National Park

*This is an ambitious trip so some locations may be omitted due to time and weather considerations.

Buckhorn Wash barrier style pictographs, San Rafael Swell UtahBuckhorn Wash Pictographs, San Rafael Swell Utah #42086  Purchase

Sandstone Monoliths of the Upper Cathedral Valley in evening light, Capitol Reef National Park UtahCapitol Reef National Park #2901  Purchase

Weathered and twisted Juniper tree (Juniperus osteosperma) at dawn on rim Green River Overlook, Canyonlands National Park UtahCanyonlands National Park  #27457  Purchase

Want to learn more, or have a professional photographer guide you in the field? Then take your Creative Photography to the next level with  Private Instruction and Guided Photo Tours.

All photos appearing in Photographing Paradise Meadows Mount Rainier are available for Commercial Licensing and Fine Art Prints. Click on any image to purchase, or contact me for more info!

Bisti Badlands, New Mexico

Bisti Badlands New Mexico

Bisti Badlands New Mexico

Egg Factory Bisti Badlands, New MexicoThe Egg Factory, Bisti Badlands New Mexico  #57385  Purchase

Bisti Badlands New Mexico is one of those places that has an otherworldly beauty and mystique to it. Situated in the Four Corners area of Northwestern New Mexico, the Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness is a land of layered sandstone, silt, shale, mudstone, and coal. Years of erosion by water and wind  have turned these layers into strange and whimsical rock formations, hoodoos, wings, fins, and mushroom shaped spires, seemingly straight out of a fantasy or science fiction story.

Desert Beauty

Always on the search for new locations offering dramatic landscapes, and being a big fan of geologic oddities, I was drawn to Bisti’s beauty many years ago after seeing some photos of it in a magazine. However, it wasn’t until this spring that I had my first opportunity to visit and photograph this wonderful wilderness. I had put off visiting this and other sites in New Mexico to photograph other more famous Southwest icons, such as Zion, Arches, Joshua Tree, and the beautiful Sonoran Desert, to name a few. So it was with great excitement that on this trip I was finally going to see one of the greatest concentrations of badlands in the Southwest.

Bisti Badlands, New MexicoEvening storm over Bisti Badlands #57421  Purchase

Bisti Badlands doesn’t flaunt it’s beauty like many of the well known and sought after locations in the SW. It’s one of those places where you’ll drive for miles on empty roads in a seemingly desolate landscape. Only to arrive and wonder what the big deal is and where is all the scenery? It’s true that the Bisti Wilderness is in an arid, dusty, nearly flat and featureless high plain. Arriving at the main parking area you are greeted by not much more than a wide dry wash framed by a few interesting hillsides. But there is much more to see.

Like many hidden wilderness gems you have to get out and do some legwork. It’s easy to spend the day exploring hidden canyons buttes and washes. This is where doing your homework and researching literature maps and photos comes into play. There are several key areas of interest to discover. However, without some clues as to where they are you can spend many hours wandering about. These days many people rely on GPS technology to guide them quickly to the best spots. However, I feel this really takes away from that satisfying experience of discovering something on your own.

Desert Light

Another way in which Bisti Badlands keeps it secrets is the light. You can wander about for days checking out all the best the Bisti has to see. Although if all your time is spent during the middle of the day, you’ll miss out on the real magic. I was incredibly fortunate on my first trip to encounter some truly spectacular lighting conditions which made the badlands come alive with just about every adjective in the book. On my second day the weather was very cold and windy, with a solid grey sky that made even the most interesting hoodoos look dull and lifeless. Like a good photographer, I stuck it out and spent the time exploring and lining up compositions for when and if conditions were more favorable.

Bisti Badlands, New MexicoSandstone Wing, Bisti Badlands #57500  Purchase

To my surprise, the clouds began to break up in the west about an hour before sunset. The time many photographers refer to as the “magic hour”.  In the eastern sky was the remnants of a passing storm. Sheets of rain and snow flurries stood out against a dark grey background. As the setting sun broke through the clouds the eastern sky lit up like on fire. Truly an experience that I will always remember. Of course in the midst of all this drama I was working in high gear to find and compose as many photographs as I could reach before it all ended. The next evening was more tame. Waiting around until dusk brought some interesting light on the badlands as alpenglow softly illuminated the formations.

Bisti Badlands, New MexicoBisti Badlands #57505  Purchase

Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument

Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument

Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument

Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument New Mexico Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument #57013 Purchase

On my recent photo trip to the Southwest I made a point of including, among my subjects, sites of Ancestral Puebloans. Several years ago I began visiting and photographing ruins, pictographs, and petroglyphs in the Cedar Mesa region of southern Utah. Finding these sites to be very intriguing and educational I wanted to explore more of them on future trips. On this latest excursion, my first stop was Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument in western New Mexico.

Gila Cliff Dwellings National MonumentGila Cliff Dwellings National Monument #57023 Purchase

A Home in the Cliffs

Gila Cliff Dwellings, near the Gila River, was home to the Mogollon people around 1200 AD. It was thought to be inhabited until the early 1300’s. Like most of the ancestral ruins on and near the Colorado Plateau, the inhabitants mysteriously to abandon their homes and villages near the end of the thirteenth century. Within the boundary of the monument there are many preserved sites. The main dwellings consist of around 46 rooms among five cliff caves. You can visit in around an hour. Although it would be a shame to drive this far without making it a leisurely visit. At the main cliff caves a very knowledgeable ranger is stationed to answer all your questions and explain in detail the history of the Mogollon people.

If you decide to visit the monument be aware that it is a long drive. Silver City New Mexico is the nearest town. The distance is only 44 miles but the road follows a winding route through the mountains. Making the time traveled from Silver City around two hours. The monument has some primitive camping available. There are also a few national forest sites nearby along, with some natural hot springs.

Gila Cliff Dwellings National MonumentGila Cliff Dwellings National Monument #57009  Purchase

Gila Cliff Dwellings National MonumentGila Cliff Dwellings National Monument #57008  Purchase

White Sands National Monument New Mexico

New Southwest Images

New Southwest Images

White Sands National Monument New MexicoWhite Sands National Monument New Mexico #57137b  Purchase

All of the new images from my recent Southwest trip are now online and ready for viewing and downloading. A selection of 100 images from a total of over 1000 have been added to my New Images Portfolio. To view even more  from any of the locations listed below you can use our Search feature or contact us for a custom portfolio.

  • States:  California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, Utah
  • National Parks and Monuments: Carrizo Plains National Monument CA, Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument NM, White Sands National Monument NM, Carlsbad Caverns National Park NM, Guadalupe National Park TX, Chaco Culture National Historical Park NM, Aztec Ruins National Monument NM, Canyon de Chelly National Monument AZ, Hovenweep National Monument UT, Mesa Verde National Park CO, Canyonlands National Park UT, Arches National Park UT
  • State Parks, Recreation Areas, Wilderness Areas: Anza-Borrego Desert State Park CA, Kofa Mountains Wildlife Refuge AZ, Lost Dutchman State Park/Superstition Mountains AZ, Angel Peak Scenic Area NM, Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness NM, Valley Of The Gods Utah

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park wildflowersWildflowers, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, California #56856  Purchase

Borrego Badlands, California

Southwest Photography Trip

Southwest Photography Trip

Borrego BadlandsBorrego Badlands from Fonts Point #56810   Purchase

Well, I’m finally back home and catching up on business after six long weeks on the road, photographing throughout the Southwest. It’s good to be back home. Althought the mountain of work facing me won’t give me any rest for quite some time. Not to mention the fact that being a photographer I’m also faced with the fact that now that we’re well into Spring I need to somehow get back out on the road and trails ASAP!

This trip started out with a goal to photograph spring desert wildflowers. However it gradually turned into an epic adventure.  Visiting and photographing as many locations as I could fit in. In the end, I visited lots of new locations. Three new states were added to my photo library, New Mexico Colorado and Texas. I also greatly expanded my coverage of Ancient American ruins and culture. I also added depth to my coverage of some classic Southwest National Parks, Canyonlands, and Arches in particular.

Accompanying this post are two new photos from the trip, one from Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in California and the other from Kofa Mountains Arizona. That’s about all I can find time to add right now. Below are some of the totals from this trip. Check out a selection of images from any of the listed locations.

The Details

  • Days out: 38
  • Miles traveled: 6402
  • Total photos: (before editing) 4200
  • States where I photographed:  California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, Utah
  • National Parks and Monuments: Carrizo Plains National Monument CA, Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument NM, White Sands National Monument NM, Carlsbad Caverns National Park NM, Guadalupe National Park TX, Chaco Culture National Historical Park NM, Aztec Ruins National Monument NM, Canyon de Chelly National Monument AZ, Hovenweep National Monument UT, Mesa Verde National Park CO, Canyonlands National Park UT, Arches National Park UT
  • State Parks, Recreation Areas, Wilderness Areas: Anza-Borrego Desert State Park CA, Kofa Mountains Wildlife Refuge AZ, Lost Dutchman State Park/Superstition Mountains AZ, Angel Peak Scenic Area NM, Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness NM, Valley Of The Gods Utah

Stay tuned as I will be posting images and more info on this trip as soon as I can!

Kofa Mountains sunsetKofa Mountains Sunset, AZ  #56864  Purchase

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

Southwest Trip Spring Wildflowers

Southwest Trip Spring Wildflowers

Organ Pipe Cactus National MonumentOrgan Pipe Cactus National Monument Arizona #35416  Purchase

I’m very excited to announce that on Monday, March 7 I will be leaving for an extended trip to the Southwest. As usual for spring trips, the main subject matter will be centered around desert wildflowers. This tour will encompass many new locations, as well as several others that I have visited in the past. Listed below are the main areas and subjects I will be photographing. It’s a long list, and I’m hoping that 4-5 weeks on the road will enable me to cover everything. However, weather and time constraints force me to forego some subjects.

California:

Carrizo Plain National Monument / Antelope Valley

San Gregorio Pass Wind Farm

Anza Borrego State Park

Algodones Dunes Wilderness

Arizona:

Kofa Mountains

Superstition Mountains

Saguaro National Park

Canyon De Chelly National Monument

New Mexico:

White Sands National Monument

Bisti Badlands

Colorado:

Mesa Verde National Park

Utah:

Cedar Mesa Anasazi ruins sites

Arches National Park

Canyonlands National Park