I've never been one for meticulous planning and organizing. Spontaneous, poorly planned trips always make for a better adventure in my eyes, so when I had an opportunity to fly out and visit the Southwestern United States, I jumped on it. My friend Dave and I had been tossing around the idea of flying out to Las Vegas and road tripping through Utah and Arizona, visiting as many National Parks as we could along the way within a week for a while, so we just went for it.
Zion National Park was our first stop in a long list of National Parks, and ended up being one of my favorites. I would have loved to spend another week or so in Zion, there's so much to explore. I'll definitely be back soon.
The best part about trips like this isn't always the destination though. Sometimes it's the people you meet and the stories you make. Zion really embodied that feeling for me. When we arrived to our shooting location, there were other photographers there. We ended up becoming friends with them and spend the night shooting together. Photography is great for a lot of reasons, and making friends is definitely one of them. It's so easy to approach another photographer and talk to them. You instantly have something in common and it's always awesome to hear their stories, where they like to travel, and how they are shooting the same scene. It's seriously my favorite thing.
The next day at Zion I attempted to conquer my fear of heights with a quick stop at Observation Point. I'm still definitely freaked out by heights, but I feel like I took a good step in the right direction. There's definitely a joke in there somewhere..
After a long drive we arrived at Bryce Canyon National Park. I was totally blown away by the scale and magnitude of this place. Photos do not do it justice at all. It's an incredible sight to see. It also has some of the strangest landscapes ever. It seriously felt like Mars the entire time we were there, and the rocks are alien like. We ended up also shooting Milky Way photos here, but I wasn't entirely happy how they turned out. Maybe I'll share them in the future though, who knows.
Seriously, how strange does this place look. It's a poor mans Mars. Why travel hundreds of thousands of miles when you could just do a short drive to Bryce Canyon?
We didn't have much time to spend in Bryce Canyon, but we did manage to snag a sweet sunrise shot from above the canyon the next day. It was crazy seeing the sun blast through the valley and light up all the trees. Again, photos totally don't do it justice.
Arches National Park was next, and it was not what I was expecting at all to be totally honest. When we first decided where we'd go, I was the most excited about this park, but now that I look back, I think it ended up being my least favorite. Don't get me wrong, the arches and landscapes are breathtaking, but it's the overwhelming amount of people that really bum me out. We spent the whole first part of the day just exploring and scouting where we'd be shooting and it seemed like every location we stopped at there was someone either climbing all over the rocks, or littering. It was extremely disappointing. I think this is a great time to say, if you ever have the chance to visit these beautiful parks, please, PLEASE don't litter. We need to take care of these parks as best we can so people can continue enjoying them. Anyways, when we finally made our way to Delicate Arch, I couldn't believe how many people were waiting there to take photos while standing in the arch. It made it INCREDIBLY difficult to shoot sunset, so I ended up turning my attention elsewhere.
It's funny because while everyone was so focused on the arch, there was a crazy light show happening right to the right of it. So, I set up where there wasn't any people, and shot the valley. I love the way this image turned out more than my photo of the Milky Way within the arch to be honest.
After the light show, we stuck around, set up a good composition for the Milky Way, and waited. We had a few people stick around to shoot as well, all of which were really awesome. We spent the night talking and joking around with everyone. Which if you couldn't guess from before, made me very happy.
I only shot this image that night. I was having so much fun talking with everyone that I kind of just enjoyed the moment. I still love the way the image turned out though. It reminds me of a portal.
So that was it for the first couple of days. I'm going to split this trip into two blog posts so it doesn't get too wordy or image..y? Yeah imagey. So stay tuned for the second leg of the trip, and let me know what you think so far in the comments, on Facebook, on Instagram, or email. If you want, you can even yell at me in the street and let me know what you think.
Talk to you all soon!
Shameless Instagram plug @evan_nowak_
Shameless Facebook page plug @evannowakphotography
All images on this website are subject to Copyright © by Evan Nowak © 2018