You can plan out a weekend with your buds to go storm chasing in Northern Arizona all you want, but that doesn’t mean mother nature is going to accommodate the monsoon for you. Well that happen to be the situation when a planned trip to Northern, AZ with fellow photographer friends Bryan Snider and Larry Reeves went bust. We booked our hotel, requested the time off from our day jobs, and got the approval from our wives months in advance. However, despite all of our planning we couldn’t find one storm in the sky. Was I bummed, of course. Despite that we had a lot of fun. We explored places we have never been and laughed till we cried. Sometimes you just have to make the best of a situation and we did. We soaked up the beauty of nature in places that make you realize just how small we are in this world of ours. Someday I’ll capture those epic storm shots that I’ve wanted over the Grand Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, Monument Valley, etc… and when I do it will be all the more rewarding. Until then, I will remember the good times we had on this trip.
After seeing Horseshoe Bend in person I realized that some of these sites I have only seen in pictures needed to be experienced in person to truly appreciate it. Horseshoe Bend was way more grand than I thought it was and Grand Falls was no different. I connected with Bryan Snider local storm and landscape photographer extraordinaire as neither of us have been to this hidden gem located on the Navajo lands just north of Flagstaff, AZ.
About 9 miles on a bumpy dirt road from the main highway and you are there. It’s not a bad drive until the last half mile or so where you would need an SUV or truck, but you can still park there and walk on over with no issues. There were very few people there which made it easy to maneuver around to get a shot. We quickly found an area where it looked like we could hike down and that’s when I found my composition. Oddly I’ve never had my composition just kinda hit me like that, but the way the rocks in the foreground framed the falls made me love it. Also the fact I haven’t seen a shot of the falls from this angle was truly inspiring. Most shoot the falls from the east side or down below.
As I setup my gear to time lapse Bryan hiked down to get a closer look at the falls. I was envious, but I was not comfortable leaving my camera all alone and I really wanted to capture the time lapse. However, there was a small peak you could climb up once you went down that was not to far at all that I reached and it was worth it. Leaning over a small ridge I was able to get another angle from the west side of the falls that I loved.
In short these falls do not flow all year around, so when the ice melts in the spring I suggest looking into checking them out. I’m glad we did.
Location: Grand Falls, AZ | CANON 5D MII | Rokinon 14 mm | ƒ8 | 1/30 sec | ISO 100 | March 13th, 2016
With this trip Bryan had this idea about hi-light day trip from Phoenix. Heck we even made it to Horseshoe Bend and back home in a day, which inspired him to start this series. I was happy to help and you can view the first episode with myself as the guest photographer. I’m looking forward to more episodes down the road and I hope you do too.