Mia Goes M.I.A. Grand Canyon Road Trip

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I have always loved taking pictures, capturing a moment in time forever. Snapping the beauty of a place or an object. While I went to school for videography, I was never a professional photographer, so it was an honour when I had a chance to travel across Nevada, Arizona, and parts of Utah with my dad, who happens to be a true professional photographer.

A bit of background as to who my dad is, Steve Gordon. He is a director, cinematographer, and photographer whose work has appeared in the National Geographic and the Victoria Art Gallery. He has won international awards, and sells is snaps for thousands of dollars. He is a true pro, and to listen and learn from him was a dream come true. In this blog I will be sharing our photographic drive, as well as pictures from my dad, myself, and my partner.

Day 1

We started our road trip in Las Vegas. A quick pit stop before the adventure begun, but of course there is so much to see and do in Vegas. A walk down the strip we filmed the Bellagio fountain show, and captured some of the bright city lights.

Day 2 

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The very next morning we packed the car and made way for the Arizona boarder. Along the drive, we decided to take a little detour to the Hoover Dam. While my dad usually photographs landscapes, we were both impressed by the Dam and how it spews out water so powerfully. It is amazing to see what people are capable of creating with their own two hands. It took five years to build, thousands of workers, and hundreds of casualties to complete the Dam.The Dam generates power for public and private utilities in Nevada, Arizona, and California.

The drive then took us to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. There are very few times in my life where I have been truly speechless, but walking up to the edge of the Grand Canyon was one of those moments. We arrived close to the end of the day as the sun was setting behind the rock. There was a rainbow in the distance and dark clouds above that was casting different light over the endless rock. The Canyon seemed to go on forever and ever switching from deep reds to browns. The sight is something you have to truly see to believe. I don’t think any picture in the world can do true justice, but we did your best.

We spent the night in Williams and I cannot recommend this town enough. A lot of people might miss it by choosing to stay in Flagstaff instead, but I feel like this town has a lot more character and history behind it. This charming little town right on Route 66  has an old West feel, a lot of wild west inspired restaurants,  a zipline through downtown, and even a “gun” fight every night.

We were exhausted from the days adventures, but stopped by the Historic Brewing Company for a bite to eat and for a drink. I loved this spot because it was right in the heart of the adorable city, and also had their own locally brewed beers and wine available. I tried a flight of the wines and then called it night.

Day 3 

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Day three of our trip started with a drive towards Page, Arizona. Along the way we stopped at Sunset Crater. This is the youngest in a string of volcanoes in the San Fransisco Volcanic field. Appropriately named due to the volcano’s rim that is a dusky red like a sunset. It was a pretty interesting spot particularly hiking the Lava Trail. It is a one mile trail through hardened lava. It is amazing to see the vegetation that has been able to grow in the area.

the drive then took us Wupatki National Monument. This monument is among the largest Pueblos non the Colorado Plateau. It was called home by around 100 people. Less than 800 years ago this was the tallest, largest, and richest pueblo. Home of famers and artists, it was quite the community.

Our last stop of the day was what we had been looking forward to the most, Horseshoe Bend. There is a bit of a hike to the Bend so make sure to wear running shoes. Again we made our way up close to the end of the day with the sun hiding behind this incredible rock formation. Horseshoe Bend overlooks the Colorado River. The rock walls of the bend contain a variety of minerals which is why it has such unique and rich colours. This is a photographers dream.

Day 4 

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Our fourth and final day of the road trip I started the morning cooling off from the heat since we did this drive in the middle of August. I decided to explore Lake Powell with Lake Powell Paddle Board. It was an amazing workout and beautiful views of Antelope Canyon from the outside.

The day ended with the icing in the cake, the reason we had booked this trip in the first place, a photography tour of Antelope Canyon. We decided to visit Upper Antelope Canyon around noon to make sure the light was just right. The light beams in Antelope Canyon are what makes this spot so special. They only occur at a certain time of the day and don’t last long so to catch one is incredible. Our guide really made sure we were at the perfect spot at the perfect time to snap the perfect pictures.

We then made the drive back to Vegas going in and out of Utah, Arizona, and Nevada and through beautiful rocks along the way. I was in awe at all the beauty this side of the world had to offer, and to be able to learn from a world famous photographer who also happens to be my dad was an unforgettable experience. I hope that this blog is an inspiration to get out and explore and to find the beauty in this world.

Travel Tips 

If you are planning to do this drive here are a few travel and photography tips that I learned along the way.

  • Book in the summer: I know that it is unbearably hot in Arizona in the summer, but for photography reasons this is the best time to visit the Antelope Canyon. Because of the sun and where it is positioned, you are more likely to experience the beams in the summer months.
  • Go early or late: Besides the Canyon I would suggest either getting an early or a late start to the day to try and avoid the crowds and to get the perfect light for pictures. It is always best at dusk or dawn.
  • Wear close toe shoes: I wore sandals to Horseshoe Bend and was miserable, plus the rocks can be a little slippery so if you want to get the perfect shot make sure you have the right footwear.
  • Don’t plan too much for one day: Since we split up the main attractions, we had a chance to discover hidden gems like the crater that weren’t even on our to do list.
  • Look for unique shots: These spots are extremely touristy and so a lot of pictures are taken here annually so try and find a unique shot. My dad’s favourite picture of the entire trip was actually of a tattooed man standing in front of the Grand Canyon. You can check that shot out and more from the trip on his instragram @Steviewonderful110.

Happy snapping my friends,

xo

Mia

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