Fall in Northern Arizona

Author: Meng Tay

Fall is an exciting time in Arizona.  It represents change.  For those of us living in southern Arizona, it means a relief from the hellish heat of Arizona.  No longer will you be smacked with the heat when you go outside to pick up your morning paper.  Everything pumpkin start showing up:  Pumpkin Bagels, Pumpkin Spice Latte, Pumpkin Waffles, etc.

To truly appreciate Fall, one must leave the brownish landscape of the desert to where Mother Nature does her magic every year.  Up in the higher elevations of Arizona, cooler weather means a change in color.  Trees are bracing for winter and the leaves are turning yellow and some, red.  This is not quite New England, but it’s close.

On a recent trip with Arizona Highways Photo Workshops (AHPW), we visited two places in Northern Arizona:  Flagstaff and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.   The workshop was led by Zen Photographer, Shane McDermott.  Shane hails from Vancouver Island, Canada, but has lived in Flagstaff for about 10 years.  Zen because of his calm demeanor and approach to photography.  He is into meditation and yoga and the environment.  You can see his work in Arizona Highways Magazines and at this site:  www.shanemcdermottphotography.com

We started and ended the workshop in Flagstaff.  Flagstaff may be a small college town but it offers many beautiful photo opportunities. Places like Hart Prairie, Lockett’s Meadows, Sunset Crater, Snow Bowl, all are blessed with fall colors.  Even downtown (or Old Town as some would call it) Flagstaff, have some interesting buildings that deserve some photo shoots.

It’s about a 5-hour drive to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, passing through a remote Indian reservation, then as you turn into Highway 89A you see some interesting geologic formations in Marble Canyon and Vermillion Cliffs.

From the entrance of the Grand Canyon, it’s about a a 14-mile drive to the Lodge.  This is more than a boring stretch.  On both sides of the road, the aspen trees are bursting with golden color.  If that doesn’t make you want to stop to take pictures, a herd of bison lazily grazing in a broad meadow alongside the road will.  Don’t get too close.  These are not friendly animals.  Many a tourist have been gored.

Grand Canyon Bison1-0526

If you have never been to the Grand Canyon, either the South or North Rim, your first sight of it will blow you away.  You can see the beauty of the canyon without having to take a hike.  The Lodge has a couple of terraces and a sun room where you can relax and enjoy the views.  A 15-minute walk to Bright Angel Point will give you some excellent photo opportunities.  Our group had a sunset and a sunrise shoot at this location.

We spent two days at the Grand Canyon, shooting at different locations that Shane had scouted.  Seeing a majestic view is one thing.  Being able to capture it in an artistic photograph is another.  This is where Shane’s creativity comes in.  The camera is just a tool to capture what you see and what your mind interprets.  The end result, the photograph, is how you see or feel about your subject.

Come join us for a memorable trip to the Grand Canyon or other beautiful places in Arizona.  You can find out more about Arizona Highways Photo Workshops at:  www.ahpw.org.© Meng Tay

Meng Tay is a trip leader with Arizona Highways Photo Workshops