Tag: Arizona

How to Take Stunning Photos in Antelope Canyon

How to Take Stunning Photos in Antelope Canyon

Hi everyone!

I’m so excited that an article I wrote, “How to Take Stunning Photos in Antelope Canyon,” was featured on the travel website, We Are Travel Girls!

Be sure to check it out for some great tips on camera settings to use and the best time of day and season to visit Antelope Canyon! And, of course, to see my award winning photography 🙂 

Road Trip through the Southwest

Road Trip through the Southwest

There’s something about road trips, camping, and exploring the wilderness with your best friends that makes life just a little bit sweeter. This was my last hurrah in Southern California so we decided to head on a road trip through Arizona and Utah before leaving this stunning landscape behind.

When you look on Google Maps, driving from Los Angeles to Zion National Park doesn’t look so bad. Six and a half hours? No problem. We left LA at 4 PM on a Friday… And we didn’t reach Zion until 4:30 AM on Saturday. I’m always determined for an adventure so I’m fine with doing the full drive, but I feel bad for my compadres who were expecting to get a good night’s rest that night. It didn’t help that T-storms were striking and the rain thundered down on my Jeep, it was so loud.

We had no plan. So I drove to the Zion National Park Visitor Center, put my Jeep in park, reclined my seat, and slept for an hour and a half. I wasn’t expecting it to be so cold in the dead of summer! Granted, this was kind of a last-second trip so I just hopped in the car with whatever clothes I was wearing and was like, “Well we’re camping anyways, who cares!”

There’s a free shuttle from the visitor center that takes you to all the biggest attractions of Zion, so we hopped on and headed to The Narrows. Keep in mind you don’t need a permit to hike The Narrows if you’re going from the bottom-up. You ONLY need it for top-down. Hiking the Narrows was so worth it; the scenery was gorgeous and it was awesome getting to hike through the stream. As it got later in the morning I noticed the water flow was getting stronger and I would lose my balance a little. Good thing we turned around when we did, because there was a huge flash flood warning issued and the trail was closed off when we returned.

After checking out the other sites in Zion, we decided to drive an hour and a half out to Page, Arizona. We did some off-roading in my Jeep for the first time and camped out at Lake Powell right next to the water. It was absolutely beautiful taking a dip in the lake and also climbing onto the cliffs watching the sunset. The evening was perfect cooking dinner over the fire and doing some astrophotography.

We woke up at 5:30 AM to watch the sunrise at Horseshoe Bend (Just a tip if you’re an avid photographer, the sun peaks behind the bend at SUNSET not sunrise. Sometimes I miss little details). We had a photography tour at 8:30 AM at Lower Antelope Canyon, which I highly recommend over the regular tour if you’re into photography. The guides are really great about catering to your photo needs by stopping tourists that might get in the way, give you some tips for perfect photos, and you get double the time down in the canyon.

Last year I visited Upper Antelope Canyon, and out of the two places, although both are stunning, I recommend Lower Antelope. With Upper Antelope Canyon there’s so many people it feels like you’re being shuttled through a Disneyland ride line and it’s super packed. Even though we were on a photography tour in Upper, there were still a lot less people.

After the tour we hopped back in the Jeep and drove back to LA!

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Grand Canyon Getaway

Grand Canyon Getaway

This past weekend Dad and I flew the Mooney to Page, Arizona! We weaved in and out of the Grand Canyon, so close to the walls I felt like I could almost touch them. Not to mention we pulled some aerobatics, which made me throw up… Good thing Dad had sick bags in the plane. It was a little much, but probably one of the best flights ever.

We continued our aerial tour over Lake Powell, and we happened to buzz in on some million dollar speedboats that were having a competition. We were flying at about 200 mph and we were barely passing these boats. It was messed up how fast they were going. It was such a perfect day flying over the sparkling waters only 100 feet above the lake. After I threw up, we landed at the airport in Page, Arizona.

Our first stop was Horseshoe Bend! It was blazing hot and we hiked a mile and a half down to the canyon, which isn’t that bad, but in Arizona heat it was terrible. The hike comes to an abrupt stop where it’s just a cliff over looking the Colorado River 1000 feet below. No guard rails, nothing holding you back from getting that perfect selfie as close as you want to the edge.

We made our way to Upper Antelope Valley, where we have a Navajo woman as our guide. It was so packed, it was a joke trying to walk through this tight corridor. It was amazing I even was able to get a picture without any people in the way. I don’t even know how all these professional photographers get all these amazing pictures without tourists in the way, unless they’re that talented with photoshop. Anyways, it took over an hour to walk through what should have taken 15 minutes. But I did enjoy the view.

I heard that both the Upper and Lower canyons are very different, so I wish I could have seen the Lower Antelope Canyon as well. The Upper canyon is narrow at the top but has a wider area to walk through, whereas the Lower Canyon you have to walk down stairs and it’s narrow to walk through but very open on top. A day like that, I would not want to be walking through the Lower canyon if there was really less walking space.

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Houseboating Lake Powell

Houseboating Lake Powell

On Thursday after class ended at noon, I loaded my stuff into my car from my Northridge home and made my way towards Moorpark to meet up with everyone. We were a little behind schedule and didn’t leave until 3:30. We had me, Ollie, Colton, and my cousin Mandy in our car, and in the other was Justin, Lars, Garrett, and the dog Simba. The guys went to Costco to buy food beforehand and basically all we had to eat was a ton of meat and snacks… I was thinking, well that’s what happens when you let a bunch of guys shop for food!

On the way we stopped in Vegas and the guys gambled for about 2 hours while I watched (since they spent so much money on food I knew this was going to be an over budget weekend). When we finally made it to Page, Arizona it was 3:30 AM, 4:30 AM Utah time. Originally we were going to get a hotel room but since it was so late and we were out of gas we literally camped out in a gas station on the outskirts of town. We played hacky sack and drank until almost 5 AM. Colton slept in the kayak strapped to the top of the car, Ollie and I shared a sleeping bag, and Mandy had the backseat all to herself. I had a feeling this trip was going to be quite an adventure.

We woke up at the crack of dawn to the sun rising over the beautiful Utah red mountains surrounding the area. The guys got even more snacks at Walmart… and we ate cereal in the back of Justin’s truck in the parking lot. One of the guys joked that our vacation so far has been loitering at different places. We loaded up the houseboat at 10 AM at Wahweap Marina and went to some caves across the way. There were amazing arches and huge boulders to see. We finally started making our way through the lake to Friendship Cove, which took about 4 hours to travel 35 miles in the boat. The views were absolutely stunning, and we beached the boat right at sunset. We barbecued, played beer pong, star gazed on the top deck, and relaxed. Ollie brought his Halloween wigs so we had some “special visits” from Rex, Pam, and Prim. Later we played games on the beach and headed to bed.

We woke up relatively early to explore the area and found some awesome cliff jumping sites and interesting caves. It started to get cold and rain so we headed back to look for another spot for the houseboat for the night while others hiked. Unfortunately the other beaches in the area were way too shallow so we picked up the other guys and started to backtrack towards the marina for an hour, just to find something new. At one point on our way, the clouds cleared and it was hot out so we stopped the boat to jump off the waterslide. The water was freezing but it was so much fun. If we went in August when the water is warm it would be perfect.

We made our way into another cove where the rocks and passageways were beautiful so we beached the boat and made camp. This time we explored, made a fire, and cooked mac n cheese. We played drinking games so we could try to finish the alcohol, but we all got to our limit. I went outside since the moon went down to look at the stars and they were insane. Ollie joined me outside and we saw a shooting star. He said, “I know what you wished for,” I asked him to tell me what he thought and he said, “No way, I’m not saying it first. That’s sketchy.”

It was tough waking up at 7:30 AM to head back to Wahweap Marina in Page, Arizona but we were on the water for about 3 hours. Ollie and I managed to get some alone time up on the top deck and it was such a wonderful and hilarious vacation with him, his friends, and my best friend/ cousin. While Ollie and I were on the top deck, I heard them playing “Prom Night” by Rebecca Black on one of my CD’s over and over. I went downstairs to find them jamming out and I burst out laughing because of how ridiculous it was. We were heading in a little early so we cut the engines and chilled on the water for a little and cooked the rest of the carne asada before having to clean up the boat and head back. When were were refueling the houseboat we saw huge 2 foot carp swimming around the surface of the water so we fed them crackers tried catching them. We checked back in and started the journey home to California, and made a stop in Vegas again for dinner and got home at midnight. What a fun vacation, and I can’t wait for more in the future!

Lake Powell 1 Lake Powell 2 Lake Powell 3