This is yet another location I’ve been dying to see firsthand … did I mention there are many firsts this week? Upon discovering this was very easy to get to from Page, AZ it was a must to see. As I’m sure you’ve seen, Horseshoe Bend is a 180* bend or U-turn in a portion of the Colorado River that’s absolutely a sight to witness in person. Upon arrival at the parking lot from the main road, it’s an easy 1/2 mile walk up a little mound, down the backside before reaching the cliffs edge. When I say cliff, that’s pretty much what it is. No railing, just a shear drop-off that’ll make your palms sweat in nervousness as you shimmy yourself closer and closer toward the edge. The drop is about 1000ft.
When I arrived at the cliffs edge, there was a stiff wind blowing in all different directions making it even more intimidating to creep towards the edge to get an unobstructed view of the entire bend – not to mention being pelted in the face by sand (that was being kicked up by the wind). I managed to setup my tripod back from the edge, take meter readings for exposure and set the tripod near the edge to fire off a few frames before pulling back from the edge. It got windier and windier so I sat for a bit to wait for it do die down. I continued, but without the tripod by shimmying my body army crawl style towards the edge and hung the camera over the get a clear view … no strap … if my sweaty palms let go of the camera … oh well, be it then me, right?
The weather wasn’t the best for making stunning images, but you just have to take what’s given to you and be happy with it – unless you’re there for a few days. Waiting for sunset (as the sun sets directly behind the U-turn), the clouds began to form heavily on the horizon. After waiting until near sundown, I bagged any hopes of capturing the sun lower itself below the far off plains of the Grand Canyon and just left for a good hearty dinner in town.
If you ever find yourself there shooting with a proper camera, I would recommend bringing and using your widest angle lens in your bag. I used my Nikon 16-35mm and felt that 16mm wasn’t quite enough and wished I’d brought my Rokinon 14mm, but I wanted to keep my overall camera kit weight down to a minimum. Also, once there, walk around left and right of center to see other angles that you can shoot from.