From the Photographer:
Horseshoe bend was a highly anticipated location on my travel bucket list. This grand overlook was my first stop during my cross-country road trip from Arizona to Maryland. I actually drove by the Grand Canyon to make sure I had plenty of time to catch sunset!
Not many people willingly skip a visit to the Grand Canyon. Let me tell you, I made the best decision. I have been to the Grand Canyon three times, each a unique and amazing experience.That said, I knew a fourth visit to the Grand Canyon, to pop in and out, was not worth missing a stormy sunset view of Horseshoe Bend.
Hiking to the Horseshoe Bend overlook is relatively quick and easy. The deep sand is a little tiring on the way back, but well worth the extra effort.There was a mild storm rolling in my entire hike out to the overlook. Only a handful of folks, including myself, decided to make the trip to the edge, chancing getting caught in some rain.
I was traveling with my Nikon D7000 and chose the Nikon 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED for a wide-angle view. I mounted my camera on a Manfrotto tripod with ball head and used the self-timer for capturing photographs.
The impending storm added drama to the sky with swift moving clouds, bright colors and a little extra darkness once the sun dipped below the horizon.The colors and light were brief. Since I wanted a classic, head on view of Horseshoe Bend, I stayed in the same location the entire time I was shooting. I switched between landscape and portrait, zooming in and out, capturing different perspectives of my breathtaking view.
When the sky went dark, I turned on my headlamp and hiked back to my lonely car. As luck would have it, the first large raindrops waited until I was inside before racing down to the ground.
A few quick tips:
• A wide-angle lens is your friend.
• Use a tripod with a quick release cable, timer or remote to avoid camera shake.
• Clean your lens and sensor to avoid dust spots.
• Stick with one lens; Horseshoe Bend is a dusty place.
• Take time to enjoy the spectacular view with your own eyes, away from the camera!
• Be aware of the weather in the area and head back (or stay in) if necessary.
• Remember, sunset and sunrise come in stages. The light and view may be quite spectacular before, during and after the sun appears/disappears.
Alaina Ann is a nature and travel photographer, currently based in Maryland. Her favorite days are spent with a camera in tow and hiking shoes on her feet. Each year, Alaina spends months traveling throughout the United States, looking for new and familiar places to explore.
Her love affair with photography and travel led to the creation of Alaina Ann Photography in 2012. Many of her favorite photographs are for sale as fine art prints.