Canyons Photography in the American Southwest
Iconic Vistas & Amazing Light—Capture Stunning Images of Bryce, Zion & the Grand Canyon
The striking desert landscapes of the American Southwest have long captivated photographers who have sought to arrest its drama in images. Standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon’s 5,000-foot precipice, looking at layers of color and shadow, marveling at the pink spires of Bryce Canyon's sandstone hoodoos, witnessing the plumes of water pouring off the cliffs at Zion... These classic vistas pose thrilling opportunities for photographers, and our intimate adventure promises many chances to capture these scenes and more. We explore lesser-known corners of all three famed Southwest national parks, staying in historic park lodges along the way. By traveling in the quieter seasons of spring and fall, visitors are fewer, and the light is simply amazing.
- Photograph the wonders of Zion and Bryce Canyon, whose towering walls and colorful hoodoos convey the scenic drama of the high desert Southwest
- Survey the Grand Canyon's layered chasm from the more remote and less-visited North Rim, on our out-of-the-ordinary canyonlands photography adventure
- Benefit from expert photography tips from our Photo Expedition Leader, a pro who will help you manage challenging light and contrasts
Why Traveling with Nat Hab Means Better Canyon Photos
While most people are familiar with the sweeping panoramas and fantastic formations of three of America’s most spectacular Southwest canyons—Bryce, Zion and the Grand Canyon—very few manage to obtain outstanding photographs of these iconic national treasures. Relegated to large bus tours and heavily traveled trails, or going it on their own with little information, most visitors miss the authentic side of the Southwest's magnificent monuments. Our small groups get to see and photograph secret places not revealed on standard routes. And you’ll get better images with our Expedition Leader by your side, who is not only a professional naturalist but a highly accomplished nature photographer. Learn more about what makes our photo tour so distinctive:
- We Take the Hassle Out & Leave the Wonder In—All You Have to Do is Shoot
Zion, Bryce and Grand Canyon are some of America’s most popular national parks. Most travelers have to book months out to get desirable accommodations, and often end up navigating the sights with hundreds, even thousands, of other visitors, trying to consult brochures, maps and guidebooks in an effort to catch the “highlights.” When you travel with us, we take care of it all—you’re assured of wonderful places to stay, you'll avoid crowds as we discover the hidden side of the parks our “insider” perspective reveals, and, of course, you'll get great photography coaching.
- A Small Group Means Better Nature Photographs
Our trip is limited to approximately 12 travelers accompanied by two NHA Expedition Leaders. This allows us to break into even smaller groups, traveling in small vehicles with access to roads and places that large motorcoaches can’t get to. And since wildlife is more comfortable with fewer people around, we are more likely to get to photograph some of the creatures that call these rugged environs home.
- We Chase the Best Light
Bright overhead sunlight is a dominant midday feature in the desert Southwest. But it doesn’t make for the best views of canyon country, let alone photos. That’s why we facilitate photography opportunities in the stunning light that best enhances these geological wonders. Unlike bus tours that have to accommodate 40 or 50 people, we have the flexibility to move when the light is best, and to move on when it isn't. Some days we’ll rise early to see the first rays of sunlight reflected off of the rock formations, bathing them in a vermilion glow. As the sun climbs, natural bridges, cliffs, even waterfalls showcase an astounding palette of colors. Or we may linger over a radiant sunset, to quietly take in the grandeur of these astounding landscapes as the colors gleam, deepen and begin to fade.
- Stay on the Grand Canyon’s Quiet North Rim
Most visitors to the Grand Canyon concentrate on the South Rim, which is far more touristed and heavily paved than its counterpart across the chasm. More remote and less accessible, the North Rim evokes an experience of the Grand Canyon as it was decades ago, when the predominant sound was of wind in the pines, and you could wander trails on the rim in relative solitude. You'll get better photos with fewer people on this less-traveled option.
- Take Part in Both Classic and One-of-a-Kind Park Activities
You’ll get to participate in some highly popular activities such as riding a mule into the depths of the Grand Canyon or walking The Narrows in Zion. But we also add more unusual stops and sights, which make for distinctive photos and often end up being the true highlights of the trip for many guests. Our Expedition Leaders, who are intimately familiar with this region, introduce you to the crannies, cultures and local “characters” that will bring these stony scenes to life in a vivid way.
- Enjoy Personal Interactions with Colorful Local Residents
While the geology and scenery of the Southwest are undoubtedly the greatest draws of canyon country, its human history is also fascinating. From ancient Native Americans to Mormon pioneers, from cowboys to river runners, explorers and settlers of the canyons have inspired their fellow humans for eons. We make sure you meet some of the local people who have a history here—and a few stories to tell.
- Peaceful Accommodations Proximate to the Parks
We select atmospheric inns and lodges for their ambience and outstanding locations. Flanigan’s Inn, located just outside the south entrance to Zion National Park, is the perfect spot for rejuvenating after an exhilarating day of nature photography. We also stay at two classic properties inside the parks—Bryce Canyon Lodge and Grand Canyon Lodge on the North Rim—at a time of year when they offer a mellower atmosphere than the height of summer. A chance to enjoy stays at these elegant, rustic inns that are part of national park heritage adds a great deal to your Southwest canyons experience.
- Small Custom Tour Vehicles with Plenty of Room
While our group size is limited to roughly 12 travelers, you’ll ride with an even smaller group: we split the group into two vans with approximately six passengers each. Our vehicles have large side windows, and everyone gets a window seat, enabling spontaneous shots if wildlife passes by unexpectedly. There’s plenty of room to spread out and access your all your equipment.
- With Decades of Experience, Your Guide Knows Every Trail
With an average of 20 years’ experience in this area, our expert naturalist guides know where the best “paths less traveled” are located, for wildlife watching and breathtaking landscape views. They know how to avoid the swarms of tourists that off-load from big motor coaches—and how to inform you about every aspect of the region’s wildlife, geology, natural history and native cultures. With lots of special stops and surprises up their sleeves, our Expedition Leaders share a side of the canyons with you that most visitors never see. See Expedition Leader bios with traveler comments regarding the quality of our leaders.
- Travel During the Quieter Seasons of Spring and Fall
Our canyons trips are timed not just to avoid the crowds of summer, but to take advantage of those times of year when the seasons paint the landscapes with their most beautiful colors. Spring and fall offer the best light and backdrops for stunning photographs.
- Our Quality-Value Guarantee Ensures Your Exceptional Canyons Photography Experience
With Natural Habitat Adventures, you receive our exclusive guarantee that clearly states that we will meet the high expectations we set forth in our promotional materials. To our knowledge, this is the most ambitious guarantee made by any adventure travel company. Read our important promise.
- Feel Good About the Way You Travel
We all care about the planet, and you can travel with us knowing that the emissions from your trip are 100-percent carbon-offset. Natural Habitat Adventures is the world’s first carbon-neutral travel company, a feature that is especially critical when considering that polar bears are under substantial threat from our planet’s warming temperatures.
- Natural Habitat Adventures Is World Wildlife Fund’s Travel Partner
Because of our commitment to environmentally friendly travel, as well as the exceptional quality of our small-group nature adventures, World Wildlife Fund, the world’s leading environmental conservation organization, has named Natural Habitat its worldwide travel partner — a designation that makes us exceedingly proud!