Stormy Night at Horseshoe Bend

Stormy Night at Horseshoe Bend

I spent the last couple days on a photovacation taking photos of beautiful things around northern Arizona. My photo buddy Willie and one other friend and I flew into Phoenix and drove 5 hours north to Page, Az. We arrived in the evening, just as a storm started blowing in. We immediately went over to Horseshoe Bend to see if we could get some nice photos. Although we knew that this spot was completely over-photographed we hoped that the storm would give us a fairly unique shot of the bend in the Colorado River. About an hour before sunset the lightning starting getting pretty close and the rain got a little heavier than we would have liked — we sprinted back to the car to protect our gear. Luckily monsoon season in Arizona means the storms only last about 20 minutes and we were able to head back to The Bend before the sunset light started.

Fortunately for Willie and I, another storm was right behind and rolled behind Horseshoe Bend just as the sun was setting. The incoming storm created an absolutely beautiful sunset, filled with light shafts of the setting sun reflecting off the rain. The water was also calm enough to reflect the sunset in the river. We definitely had a treat of a sunset

I rented a D700 for this trip from The D700 was absolutely amazing. With my 17-35mm lens on it I could finally go really wide and this place absolutely needed a wide angle lens. We scoped out a couple locations for this shoot and eventually decided we liked this spot because it was a little bit different than most peoples photos (who take their shots a bit to the left). I liked the two rocks on the left and right from this spot — they point into Horseshoe Bend and frame it really nicely.

Couple other notes about Horseshoe Bend: Its right off the highway and really easy to get to. Theres about a 0.75 mile walk along a sandy trail to get here and pretty much anyone except a 90 year old parent could make the trek. Once you arrive at Horseshoe Bend theres a really long stretch of land that you can scope out to get your shot (theres not just one or two spots). The edge of the cliffs drops 1,000 feet down and there are no railings preventing you from falling off. We got right up to the edge to get this shot. I was afraid to let go of my camera for fear that the wind would blow it off the edge

Additionally, theres no way to get rid of that little rock on the bottom (left/center) that sticks into the river. Its a huge rock (that only looks small due to the 17mm lens) and no composition gets rid of it.

Nikon D700 w/Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8 ED-IF AF-S:
17mm, f/11, 0.4 sec, ISO 200, Tripod
Lee Filter Holder w/HiTek 3-stop Reverse ND Grad

Available for Purchase at Aaron M Photography

Aaron M Written by:

Aaron Meyers is a landscape and wedding photographer living in Silicon Valley, CA. His love of the outdoors makes for frequent forays into the Californian wilds, where he delights in the stunning vistas of Yosemite National Park, Lake Tahoe, Big Sur, and the Pacific Coast.