Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
03-19-2019, 06:28 AM   #1
Senior Member




Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: West Sussex
Posts: 127
Help a Brit! Monument Valley, Grand Canyon trip

Hi guys,

We're heading over to Phoenix for around 11 days this week and hoping to take in Sedona, Monument valley, Grand Canyon, Antelope canyon, Las Vegas and any other sights you folks recommend.

I'm bringing the K1, Pentax 15-30mm f2.8, Pentax 24-70mm f2.8 and am unsure if I need the Tamron 70-200 2.8 (though would prefer to leave it unless people think it will be very useful)

I've got my ND3.0 filter set - 150mm! and also a decent tripod.


Hoping to get some great pics but looking for advice on whether the the 70-200 is worth hauling around and some tips on best photo spots and times of day etc. Also are there any other stunning must see/photograph places we should go?

Hoping some fellow Pentaxians - especially Americans can comment!

Thanks in advance!

Jon

PS Having done California's West coast last March we found eating out hugely expensive by UK standards so any tips on places to eat cheap would be appreciated. Our £ isn't doing so well since all this Brexit nonsense kicked off! I'm hoping California was just expensive by USA standards and we might find it cheaper elsewhere in the USA. Even Starbucks wanted nearly $30 for 3x coffees and 3x sausage and egg muffins for brekkie and one of our breakfasts with omelettes and hash in a diner in San francisco cost an astonishing $70 plus tips for three. We did love Wholefoods hot food counters though and took stuff back in those cardboard boxes to reheat in the motel microwave which was great with a bottle of wine! Also Dennys seem to make the most awesome and well priced milkshakes but didnt try the food there yet.

03-19-2019, 06:36 AM   #2
Seeker of Knowledge
Loyal Site Supporter
aslyfox's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Topeka, Kansas
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 13,379
here are a couple of thoughts:

if you are staying at a private residence or don't mind picking up and dropping off at a local Fed Ex facility, consider renting gear here instead of hauling it with you:


Information on Businesses that offer cameras and lenses for rent - PentaxForums.com

_______

as to whether you need a telephoto lens, what are your anticipated " targets " ?

birds and animals - I would have one.

however, you may find your Tamron 70-200 2.8 to be too short for such " targets "

_______________

not from the area but if you can find a grocery store that offers cooked food, that might be a more affordable option for just getting some thing to eat

________________________

additional thoughts:

$80.00

NPS.govHome America the Beautiful Passes

America the Beautiful Passes

The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass Series

A pass is your ticket to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites. Each pass covers entrance fees at national parks and national wildlife refuges as well as standard amenity fees (day use fees) at national forests and grasslands, and at lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. A pass covers entrance, standard amenity fees and day use fees for a driver and all passengers in a personal vehicle at per vehicle fee areas (or up to four adults at sites that charge per person). Children age 15 or under are admitted free.

America the Beautiful Passes (U.S. National Park Service)

Last edited by aslyfox; 03-19-2019 at 10:39 AM.
03-19-2019, 06:41 AM - 1 Like   #3
Site Supporter
Site Supporter
Docrwm's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Somewhere in the Southern US
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 12,243
Can't help with the photo sites but eating out - Starbucks is a great place to pay $10 for a 25cent cup of coffee. For dinner in that neck of the woods a Mom&Pop Mexican or TexMex restaurant is typically going to be much more affordable (and often surprisingly good food).
03-19-2019, 07:34 AM   #4
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter
UncleVanya's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2014
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 15,157
Grand Canyon - north rim or south? I'm guessing south. If you go on any hikers below the rim, weight becomes becomes very tiring. A k1 and 15-30 is the most weight I could imagine lugging to a down to Ohh Ahh Point on the Kai Bab trail. I'd rather take something lighter...

On the rim the sea of people at the major points of interest won't thin out until you get past the main areas or until evening. Night shots will take advantage of the sensor and GPS of the k1.

HUGE CAUTION: if you are where there are no guardrails do not look through the viewfinder with a wide angle lens and walk closer to the edge!!!!

03-19-2019, 08:05 AM   #5
New Member
TeeJay's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Huachuca City, Arizona, USA
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 4
There are plenty of reasonably priced places to eat in Arizona. One of our unique local concoctions is the Sonoran Dog:

7 Best Sonoran-Style Hot Dogs in Metro Phoenix | Phoenix New Times
03-19-2019, 08:25 AM - 2 Likes   #6
Pentaxian
photoptimist's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2016
Photos: Albums
Posts: 3,311
Most of the sights you mention benefit more from wider-angle lenses. Sure, you might spot some wildlife but then you'll find that 200 was still too short for anything more than snapshot quality and the heat of the sun makes the air so turbulent that sharp photos of distant fauna are impossible.

Also, with the possible exception of some fountains in Las Vegas and the river in the bottom of the Grand Canyon (only really visible after a very long strenuous hike) there are few water features to blur. I'd leave the ND filters at home unless you plan to use them to blur the clouds or maybe your fellow tourists.

As for places to see, Phoenix has a very nice Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona with 55 acres of stuff you won't find on your side of the pond (and might benefit from a lens with close/macro focus). And if you like modernish architecture, then Taliesin West | Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation just outside of Phoenix is a must see.

As for cheap eating, grocery stores are you best bet. A loaf of bread, a brick of cheese, and a nice salami may not be fine dining but replaces burned calories with a minimum of time and cost. Plus, we enjoy trying the various snack foods found in grocery stores in foreign countries.

Enjoy your trip!
03-19-2019, 09:48 AM   #7
Pentaxian




Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 1,659
I'm from Michigan and haven't been out west since visiting a friend during the late 1990's in Albuquerque New Mexico. Its been far longer since the Grand Canyon. Where ever you are in the US, there's likely to be at east a few nation-wide chain restaurants. For hamburgers there are McDonald's or Burger King for example. For complete meals, Applebee's, Friday's, Ruby Tuesday's, or Longhorn and Outback Steakhouses, or one of the buffet style all-you-can eat places which can be found across the states. Usually, prices are standard no matter where the location with such large chain restaurants. They generally always have the same menu regardless of location. The hotel can usually point out any of these places mentioned that may be near by. They should also know of local Mexican restaurants with reasonable prices and good food, if that is your desire.

I hope you will have a fine time during your visit and come away with many fine photos!
03-19-2019, 10:12 AM - 1 Like   #8
Site Supporter
Site Supporter
Fenwoodian's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Wisconsin, USA
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 2,095
.
First, be safe. Many of these sites could exposure you to dangerous falls. Not worth the risk. Last month a young lady fell 700 feet to her death at Horseshoe Bend in NW Arizona. I use special slip resistant mountaineering shoes when in these areas, you might want to to likewise.

If in the Phoenix area be sure to check out the Lost Dutchman Park and the Apache Trail. Use wide angle lenses or be prepared to stitch images together. Watch for rattlesnakes and don't touch or step on cactus plants.

I was in Arizona last week. Spring wildflowers are just starting. Given the good rains they received this winter, the spring wildflowers are expected to be spectacular.

I like Sedona better than the Grand Canyon. I find it difficult to get good photos at the Grand Canyon. However, I've always done much better at Sedona. Also, the native Sedona people are very interesting.

I was at Monument Valley a few years ago. It's owned by the Indians. For a small fee you can drive your car on the main road during designated visiting hours. But if you want unique images, hire an Indian guide like I did. We went to special, off the beaten path locations before sunrise (forbidden locations and times unless with a Navaho Indian guide).

Finally, all of the places you've mentioned have been photographed millions of times. Maybe think about how you might capture images that are different from the millions of others.


Last edited by Fenwoodian; 03-19-2019 at 10:26 AM.
03-19-2019, 10:18 AM   #9
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter
UncleVanya's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2014
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 15,157
While 11 days seems long, I can't imagine it being enough time for what you have planned. The distances between things is more than you might realize and travel between locations can take significant time. Careful planning might keep you on schedule - build in some scrap time.
03-19-2019, 10:23 AM - 1 Like   #10
Site Supporter
Site Supporter
mattb123's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Colorado High Country
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 8,997
I haven't been to these places in a long time but I found the city of Las Vegas was not my cup of tea. It just seems so fake and sleazy everywhere you look. It was interesting for a day and then I was more than ready to move on since I'm not interested in gambling or all that comfortable in big crowds. If you do like fake stuff, gambling, and crowds then that town is for you!

BUT Red Rock Canyon just outside of LV is truly beautiful and has been my sanctuary when I have had to spend a week in Vegas for work.
03-19-2019, 10:33 AM   #11
Site Supporter
Site Supporter
Fenwoodian's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Wisconsin, USA
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 2,095
QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
While 11 days seems long, I can't imagine it being enough time for what you have planned. The distances between things is more than you might realize and travel between locations can take significant time. Careful planning might keep you on schedule - build in some scrap time.
I agree! If you want typical "tourist I was there photos", no need to spend much time at any one location and best to run from one location to another.

However, if you want unique, artistic, fine art images, consider focusing your entire visit to just one or two locations. Get to know them, and spend hours studying them from many vantage points.

Also, do you research ahead of time. There are excellent photo tour guide booklets you can purchase on each of these locations.
03-19-2019, 02:38 PM   #12
retired sw engineer
Loyal Site Supporter
reh321's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: South Bend, IN, USA
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 12,738
QuoteOriginally posted by jonlg Quote
Hi guys,

We're heading over to Phoenix for around 11 days this week and hoping to take in Sedona, Monument valley, Grand Canyon, Antelope canyon, Las Vegas and any other sights you folks recommend.

I'm bringing the K1, Pentax 15-30mm f2.8, Pentax 24-70mm f2.8 and am unsure if I need the Tamron 70-200 2.8 (though would prefer to leave it unless people think it will be very useful)
In my last trip to that area, which was over ten years ago {}, personally, I found the wildlife to be some of the most interesting sights. (*) Squirrels are very friendly at some Grand Canyon picnic sites. California Condors are giant birds that sometimes drift over crowds at the canyon edge itself. Personally, I found the Grand Canyon Railroad and some of the older 'historic' structures to be of interest. Photographs of these things may not be artist quality, but they are well worth attention by a visitor, and the presence of crowds may be what separate one record of these sights from another.

(*) From your list of gear, I gather that scenery is much more interesting to you than it is to me; personally I would take the 70-200 lens and not the 15-30. "The West" is very large; with a K-1, 24mm would be plenty wide for me.
03-19-2019, 06:11 PM   #13
Senior Member




Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: West Sussex
Posts: 127
Original Poster
Some great tips here and I'm so grateful. One of the reasons I love visiting America so much is that apart from its incredible scenic wonders the people have always been so welcoming to us Brits and I always feel very comfortable there.


I agree that there is so much to see that 10 days will doubtless prove not enough. Only tonight a work colleague was saying I should also visit the Minuteman museum near Tucson and check out the Apache trail so I will add these and the suggestions above to the planned itinerary to see how much we can fit in. It's interesting that some of you mentioned the Grand Canyon being hard to photograph effectively so that will be an interesting challenge. You are right to deduce that my interest lies more with capturing the stunning vistas and landscapes on offer than for example birds in flight. I've booked 2 nights at the view Hotel because Monument Valley under different light is top of my list. I last visited in 2004 with my Pentax MZ-5n and am keen to go back and shoot the scenery on the K1. I genuinely think it is one of the most awe inspiring places I have ever seen.

The Grand Canyon was shrouded in fog on that visit so I never actually saw it properly so hoping for better weather this time.

As for the safety I'm particularly keen to guard against accidents, especially as my 14 year old daughter will be with us so need to keep us all safe, especially her. I will ensure that everyone is warned of the dangers of these locations. Sounds like we may want to cut short our Las Vegas trip as it may be a bit plastic. The 3 days we planned to spend there were really tagged on as a benefit to my wife so she can lounge by the pool for a few days at the end of a busy week on the road!

I'm also curious about visiting one of the aeroplane graveyards (I am a pilot) - I'm beginning to think a month wouldn't be enough! I think I will take the 15-30mm and 24-70mm and a tripod and filter system and leave it at that. Not planning to hike far as I have dodgy ankles so it will be mostly a car trip.

Many thanks so far!


Jon
03-19-2019, 06:56 PM   #14
Pentaxian
bobmaxja's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Laval, Quebec Canada
Posts: 1,906
I just complete a trip in these area, I have 2 camera my KP and a LUmix DSC100, most of the time I have my wide angle.

Grand Canyon is a must but not necessarly the best for photo . Anteloppe canyon , we decide not to go as this is a big tourist trap with bus unloading horde of peoples. Monument valley is OK , better photo from outside of the reserve. If you go inside, dont do the jeep tour a waste of money.

You can do and see my site with ton of photos, in french but most attraction are easy to understand
Voyage Ouest 2018


I do a lot of hiking and was able to visit place were not a lot of peoples go

Here a proposed trip , very easy to do , reserve in advance for Arches, Bryce and Zion.
Google Maps

Start in Phoenix and go north to Sedona and Jerome , old copper mining town,

Région de Sedona, Arizona
Next Grand Canyon South but not is less crowded and higher in altitude but will add a lot of mileage
Stop in Page if you want to see Antilope but on your way, otherwise pass Page and go direct Monument Valley on your way to Moab but stop at Gooseneck SP , who is way better than Horseshoes in Page area where you have 2 marvellous national park Arches and Canyon land and a great SP Dead Horse. But make sure you
Monument Valley, AZ et Gooseneck Point SP, Utah
Parc National Arches et Moab
Then from there take the I70 to go to Bryce but if you want to see one of the most US scenic road instead take the Utah 24 and 12 and you can visit Canyonland NP and if you like something realy better tnan Antilope with no crowd go to Grand Escalante NM. On that highway 12 , you will have to decide were to stop as there so many incredible view.

Parc National Grand Staircase Escalante NP
And then you hit Bryce Canyon and be sure to be their at sunrise
Parc National Bryce Canyon et sa région
Next Zion NP be prepare for the crowd there but enter from the EAST GATE and get out at Sprindale, I am unable to show on the Google map as that road is close in winter.

Ok here the road in summer from Bryce,beautifull ride
https://goo.gl/maps/RQurZTqqvKC2

La région de Zion

Finally go to Vegas and next Hoover dam and back to Phoenix. I guarantee you, that will be the best trip of your life.
Phoenix et sa région













And finish in Phoenix
Phoenix et sa région

Last edited by bobmaxja; 03-19-2019 at 07:02 PM. Reason: Add link
03-19-2019, 07:55 PM   #15
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter




Join Date: Dec 2012
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 119
K1 with 28-105 and 15mm limited (for wide angle). Weight will be an issue when hiking at Grand Canyon or other desert sites. If you really feel you’ll need tele for birds, then perhaps the 60-250 or 300. Anything heavier will restrict your mobility. Ps: McDonald’s coffee is pretty good, and a lot less expensive. Have a safe vacation!
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
camera, canyon, dawn, deer, dslr, f2.8, food, jon, minutes, monument, morning, park, path, pentax, phillips, photography, post, rim, scan, shots, standards, thanks, tips, tour, tours, uncle, usa, valley
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Which lens should I rent for Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Sequoia trip postal33610 Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 15 06-12-2015 07:22 PM
Landscape Grand View of the Grand Canyon... mtgmansf Pentax K-3 Photo Contest 9 06-02-2014 05:44 PM
Landscape Vegas Baby! Valley of Fire & Grand Canyon FrancisK7 Post Your Photos! 10 03-05-2014 11:31 AM
K20 one or two lenses for Grand Canyon Trip Don Boyd Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 12 02-21-2008 05:21 PM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 05:22 AM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top