The Road is Truth

Somewhere near Mexican Hat, Utah.....

Ah, the lengths we go to to gain inspiration on an assignment. Whether it’s staying out even though the skies are cloudy and pouring rain, or channeling Navajo spirits near Monument Valley, the wise shooter will leave no stone unturned in the quest for the photographic Holy Grail, a great picture.

Unfortunately, I won’t be able to share the results of this shoot in the Four Corners until the publication drops in late September. But in the meantime, I can share with you some valuable truths I learned (or actually re-learned).

One of the immutable truths of good travel photography is to find knowledgeable local help…folks who know the area well and can help you make interesting pictures. To that end, here are a few folks who helped me out bigtime on the assignment.

If you want to beat the crowds and the forest of tripods at the famous Antelope Canyon, the popular slot canyon, try visiting another, slightly smaller but no less spectacular slot canyon located on private property and solely accessed by the folks at Overland Canyon Tours.

These small private tours give you plenty of time to explore the rooms, with few, if any, other shooters getting in your way. If you get Charley, the owner, as your guide, you’ll even get expert photographic advice and a great stories to boot.

For touring Lake Powell, contact Steve Carrothers at Antelope Point Lake Powell marina. Steve can set you up with a comfortable boat and captain who will take you to some spectacular places to see and photograph beautiful Lake Powell.

And if you want an insider’s view of Monument Valley, try Harold Simpson’s Monument Valley Trailhandler Tours. Owned and operated by Navajo people, the sunrise and sunset photography tours will put you in the right places at the right times to do justice to this magnifcent landscape.

Ask for Richard Frank as your guide, and be prepared to be blown away by his portfolio of stunning photography shot on his little Sanyo Xacti hybrid still/video camera.

Richard’s work proves once again that being out there day in and day out is worth more than all the expensive photo gear in the world when it comes to capturing magic moments!

This entry was posted in Career issues, Destinations, Photo Gear, Photo Techniques, Travel.


  1. Chris June 19, 2010 at 10:39 am #

    Great image Bob! Looking forward to hearing about the work you were doing there.

    Thanks for sharing some of your contacts, I’ve been planning to get down to Lake Powell and will be contacting one or more of these guides!

  2. Jack Kurtz June 19, 2010 at 11:32 am #

    Great photo Guru Bob. Along the lines of this entry, a piece on finding and working with local “fixers” would be a great topic.


  3. Ron Niebrugge June 19, 2010 at 1:47 pm #

    Great tips, looks like a fun trip!

    Just wanted to let you know the Antelope Point Lake Powell link is broken.


    • Bob June 19, 2010 at 2:01 pm #

      Hi Ron: Thanks for the heads up. I think it’s fixed now. Bob

  4. David Kay June 20, 2010 at 8:10 am #

    Bob, Exactly the same experience that I had a couple of weeks ago with Jack Lien, Local expertise trumps internet stardom any day.

    • Bob June 20, 2010 at 8:19 am #

      David: Jack’s a great guy. I wrote about him last summer when I bumped into him on Steptoe Butte.

      Your stuff from there looks great. Love the HDRs of the trucks! One day, you have to tell me how to work that Photomatix thing!

  5. Jim June 21, 2010 at 9:21 pm #

    Now that is some info we can really use..Thanks Bob.

    • Bob June 21, 2010 at 9:53 pm #

      Jim: In between my bloviating, I hope to provide you with useful, nuts-and-bolts information! ciao, Bob

  6. wilco July 5, 2010 at 3:25 pm #

    Does police allowed you to stop in the middle of highway to take photo?

    • Bob July 5, 2010 at 4:43 pm #

      When you are an important Buddha, yes! BK.

  7. Mark Heseltine August 5, 2010 at 8:20 pm #

    Hello, Bob,

    Learnt of you from the nikon rumours web page. I loved the photo of you on the highway, and, as a rank amateur photographer I dread asking my question – but didn’t the photographer break the 1st rule in portrait photography – not to align the subject with an object that looks like it originates out of the subject’s head (i.e. trees, lamp posts, small children, and wild west roads)?

    Anyway, the real point is that I hope you were testing out something new from a certain camera manufacturer while you were on the trip for which news is to be released in September.

    Kind regards,


    • Bob August 5, 2010 at 8:32 pm #

      Ay Carumba, Mark. You try composing a picture in the middle of a highway with cars whizzing by at 80 mph and then tell me about composition rules:-). The first rule is: don’t become road kill! Bob

      • Lester August 6, 2010 at 9:34 am #

        I think the reason he positioned the road going out of his head is to create a metaphor that the mind is a roadway to unlimited thoughts.
        Seriously, I tried a similar photo in the same location a few months ago and cars going by at 80 mph is a very good reason not to be overly concerned about composition.

      • Mark Heseltine August 6, 2010 at 11:36 pm #

        I can’t stop laughing at the irony, Bob, as I had no idea of the traffic. Remember where I am from. I used also to live in England (London). The contrasts are great – I simply assumed, but for the odd horse taking actors to sites, the traffic would be rather infrequent, more like the great outdoors in Canada. So, I ought to say “but for the grace of God and a 0 degree angle of road off the old bean, your photographer (or your tripod) would have been bumper-fodder.” Glad you and your tripod survived.


  8. Mike Gunter August 6, 2010 at 11:39 am #

    Hi Bob,

    I always enjoy everything you do.


    • Bob August 6, 2010 at 4:46 pm #

      Thanks Mike!

  9. Mike August 6, 2010 at 11:15 pm #

    Awesome work Bob, I love it every time I stumble upon your blog.

    In your opinion, is there any chance of nippon kogaku or any other certain company competing with the 5d mkII soon? 😀 (Just hypothetically speaking of course Bob ;P)

    I have some money saved up that won’t be spent till nikon can take on the mkII. Its frustrating as heck having to wait so long.

  10. lindayoga August 7, 2011 at 4:31 pm #

    I believe that is the same spot they filmed Forest Gump. I love you sitting in your lotus pose.

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