Photographic Expedition to SW United States (September 17)


neech7

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Dec 17, 2009
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#1
I will be taking a photography trip in southwest United States after my business trip ends on September 16. Looking for one or more fellow photogs who may be interested to join me.

This trip will be highly flexible in all aspects except for two: (1) It has to start and end in southwest US, preferably in the Los Angeles area, although I can also pick you up and drop you off in Las Vegas or San Diego. (2) It has to start on or after September 17, and last between 5 to 10 days. If you are interested, I welcome your input regarding genre, duration, and places to visit.

Below are initial details. Feel free to PM me or post here for suggestions and questions.

Genre
While I have moderate to strong interest in all genre of photography (except macro), I envision this trip to be primarily a landscape photography trip, although cityscape and street shooting are also strong possibilities. If you would like to shoot things other than landscape, I will be happy to oblige.

Transportation
You will need to fly yourself into SW United States, preferably Los Angeles (LAX). I can go to the airport to pick you up, as well as drop you off when we finish the trip. I will rent a car to drive ourselves to various shoot locations. I don't mind to do all the driving as you are likely not familiar with left hand drive vehicles and correspondingly driving on the right side of the road. I will have a car GPS with me so we won't get lost.

I do ask that you share the cost of car rental and petrol with me. Cost of car rental should come to less than US$30 per day. So your cost will be US$15 per day, or less if we have more people. Petrol is running about US$1 per litre.

Lodging
Motels should run between US$50 to US$75 per night. You are welcome to share a room with me and we can split the cost. Up to you.

Food
Going Dutch on food. Once we leave the big cities, food choices start to dwindle. My advice is to avoid fast foods before the trip so you won't get too sick of McDonalds or KFC once we hit the road :)

Skill Level
Newbie to professional and everyone in between are welcome. I consider myself a mid-level hobbyist and I am more than happy to share what I know with you, in case you need some guidance.

Equipment
Film or digital camera that's more advanced than point-and-shoot. Tripod, filters, and other accessories you may need.

Locations
I am thinking about the following locations but I know we won't be able to cover them all in 5 to 10 days, so we have to make some hard choices :)

1. Joshua Tree National Park
2. Death Valley National Park
3. Sequoia National Park
4. Mojave National Preserve
5. Zion National Park
6. Bryce Canyon National Park
7. Arches National Park
8. Canyonlands National Park
9. Grand Canyon National Park
10. Upper and Lower Antelope Canyons
11. Horseshoe Bend

I have visited locations 4 - 11 before, but I am open to visiting any of them and even others not on the list.

All national parks require an entrance fee, but I will purchase an annual pass for this trip and my future use, so you won't have to worry about that.

Some thoughts
Many foreign visitors go to famous places like Grand Canyon on a tour bus. They get off the bus, spend half an hour breathing in the fresh air and taking pictures with their point and shoots in harsh light, and visit the gift shop for a t-shirt. Then they move on to the next location.

This will be a different kind of visit. It's a photographer's trip. I've done this many times and this is usually how it goes: Night before shoot - spend some time looking up information on where precisely to get the best shots, weather forecast, sunrise/sunset times, tide conditon (if shooting beaches), etc. Charge batteries, and other tasks like cleaning filters to get ready for the next day.

Set off an hour or more before sunrise, arrive in pitch darkness, set up tripod and camera. At first light, start shooting until lighting condition is bad enough to leave. Incidentally, the tour buses and their passengers start arriving around this time. We pack up and return to the motel. Recharge batteries and transfer images to laptop and/or external drives. Perhaps catch a short nap, plan for the evening/sunset shoot. Arrive in the afternoon and shoot until the last light disappear from the horizon.

I enjoy such trips alone, but I also value the companionship of a fellow photog. Last April, I went on such a trip alone but ended up befriending a fellow photog while at Horseshoe Bend. We spent the remainder of the trip shooting together and it was a lot of fun. I hope one or more of you can join me this time around!
 

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neech7

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Dec 17, 2009
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#3
hi,

im interested and will be in the US around that time, but my schedule's still sketchy. let me know if there're any updates =)
Sounds good. I will keep you posted.
 

cheeken

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Aug 31, 2010
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#4
Hi! I just came back from a 3 week long SW USA road trip, and i must say that some of the locations you've chosen are really good. I'd like to add in one more national park that i think is the best USA can offer - Yosemite National Park, very famous for it's waterfalls (although by now they'll be slightly weaker) and it's granite formations like the Half Dome and El Capitan.

I shall share my photos from Death Valley and Yosemite, the possibly the biggest highlights of my trip photography wise!

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150308322008210.384120.548853209&type=1

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150311266368210.384780.548853209&type=1 (first 20 photos or so come from yosemite)

I hope these 2 albums gives everyone a good preview as well as some ideas for shooting there :)

I'd be more than glad to give any tips on travelling in that region as well, such as where to find cheaper petrol and lodging. Just drop me a PM and I'll attend to it when I drop by CS :)
 

neech7

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Dec 17, 2009
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#5
Hi! I just came back from a 3 week long SW USA road trip, and i must say that some of the locations you've chosen are really good. I'd like to add in one more national park that i think is the best USA can offer - Yosemite National Park, very famous for it's waterfalls (although by now they'll be slightly weaker) and it's granite formations like the Half Dome and El Capitan.

I shall share my photos from Death Valley and Yosemite, the possibly the biggest highlights of my trip photography wise!

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150308322008210.384120.548853209&type=1

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150311266368210.384780.548853209&type=1 (first 20 photos or so come from yosemite)

I hope these 2 albums gives everyone a good preview as well as some ideas for shooting there :)

I'd be more than glad to give any tips on travelling in that region as well, such as where to find cheaper petrol and lodging. Just drop me a PM and I'll attend to it when I drop by CS :)
Thanks for sharing! Indeed Yosemite is one of the most breathtaking national parks in the US. I first visited in 2004 and have wanted to return ever since. However, it is too far from Los Angeles unless we are willing to spend a full extra day devoted to just driving to it. It is far better to visit Yosemite if one starts off from the San Francisco area. Also, you are right that the waterfall flow will be just a trickle by September. I visited in March in 2004 and they were roaring everywhere. Amazing sight!
 

neech7

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Dec 17, 2009
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#6
I haven't set the maximum number of people for this trip. That number should be either 4 or 6, including myself. Reason is that, if there are 4 people or less, I will rent a 4 door saloon. If there are between 5 and 6 people, I will rent an MPV type vehicle. While these vehicles can actually carry 5 and 7 people respectively, it won't be very comfortable for the unlucky person stuck in the middle seat.
 

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