Back from my first ever desert vacation

WillCAD
Posts: 8
Joined: Sat Mar 28, 2009 6:03 am
The middle number please (4): 7
Location: Baltimore, MD USA
Contact:

Back from my first ever desert vacation

Post by WillCAD » Sun Apr 26, 2009 7:10 pm

Well, I'm back from my first-ever desert vacation. I spent a week in Vegas and the surrounding area, with day trips to Hoover Dam, Red Rock Canyon, Valley of Fire, and the Grand Canyon.

I kept it simple and easy, since I had no desert experience and wanted to come home in a plane, not a rubber bag.

Before going, I bought some new gear, including:

* A pair of Merrel Moab Ventilators (about $90 from REI).
Fantastic shoes, very comfortable and sure-footed on rocky or sandy terrain, cool in hot weather, and tough enough for hard use. Important note, however: These shoes are lousy for long walks on concrete or paved surfaces; I wore them while walking the Las Vegas Strip and limped back to my hotel with sore feet and blisters. Also note: the insoles that come with these shoes are junk; ditch them immediately and get a pair of Dr Scholls Work Inserts.

* Trek Pod Go! camera monopod/tripod/hiking stick (about $180-$200 depending on where you buy it)
This innovative hiking stick actually has a bottom section that splits into 3 legs to give you the option of using it as a tripod or a monopod. The magnetic mounting system works great on even heavy camera/lens combinations, and has integrated stops to allow panoramic photos. It is also a very sturdy hiking stick, and saved my bacon a few times on rough terrain.

* Panama Jack mesh safari hat ($20 from Dick's Sporting Goods)
A simple, cheap hat with a wide brim that kept the desert sun off my face and neck, while venting excess heat through the mesh sides. Though I found lighter weight hats in various stores, most of them were $60-$80.

* Columbia Sportswear long-sleeve Tamiami shirt, khaki color (bought on clearance for $20 at Dick's Sporting Goods)
A Fantastically comfy long-sleeve shirt that kept the sun off my arms (after I'd already been burned through some heavy sunblock) yet kept me cool in 80+ degree temps. Before any future desert excursions, I am definitely buying more of these shirts!

----------------------------------------------------------------------

The trip was all I expected (including the part where it simply wasn't long enough!) Nothing prepared me for the grandeur of the places I saw, and no words or photographs can capture the breadth and depth of those places. I was damn near moved to tears by the beauty of Red Rock Canyon and Valley of Fire, and the brief time I spent at the Grand Canyon was more like a mirage than an actual visit.

One day I will go back to those places. I don't know if it will be one year from now, or ten, but one day I will go back and spend enough time at each of them to truly appreciate everything that each has to offer.

In the meantime, the photos I took, inadequate though they may be, will help to keep the memories fresh in my mind. I hope that they will help to convey a little of my experience to you:
First roll of pics
Last edited by WillCAD on Tue Jan 05, 2010 6:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Plays In The Dirt
Posts: 872
Joined: Sat Mar 28, 2009 5:51 pm

Re: Back from my first ever desert vacation

Post by Plays In The Dirt » Sun Apr 26, 2009 7:43 pm

Hi WillCADD, glad you had a great trip. The desert can and is a very beautiful place if you know where to look. If you ever get a chance to come-out this way again try and make it to Zion or Bryce National Parks, you will be in awe at the beauty there as well. And if you ever get a chance to go back to Valley Of Fire try staying off of the tourist marked trails and just go hiking wherever it looks interesting. There are some awe inspiring rock formations all over the park. Are you planning your next trip yet - lol.

[img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/ ... .jpg[/img]

User avatar
Iggy1
Posts: 185
Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 7:21 pm
The middle number please (4): 7
Location: Yuma, AZ
Contact:

Re: Back from my first ever desert vacation

Post by Iggy1 » Sun Apr 26, 2009 8:28 pm

WOW!WillCad, those are some fantastic photos. Sure looks like you had a wonderful time.
The West has allot to offer.

Desert Cruiser
Posts: 880
Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 8:35 pm
anti-spam detector: No
The middle number please (4): 4

Re: Back from my first ever desert vacation

Post by Desert Cruiser » Sun Apr 26, 2009 9:32 pm

Nice photos! I'm guessing you took them with a Canon 300D! Nice job. Thanks for sharing.

Don...

Sandman
Posts: 703
Joined: Thu Apr 09, 2009 10:06 pm

Re: Back from my first ever desert vacation

Post by Sandman » Mon Apr 27, 2009 2:28 am

So glad you made it Will. Nice pictures.

I'm sure you are planning your next adventure out here soon. So many places, so little time!

User avatar
Plays In The Dirt
Posts: 872
Joined: Sat Mar 28, 2009 5:51 pm

Re: Back from my first ever desert vacation

Post by Plays In The Dirt » Mon Apr 27, 2009 5:31 am

Desert Cruiser wrote:Nice photos! I'm guessing you took them with a Canon 300D! Nice job. Thanks for sharing.
Don...
I think so Don, an EOS Digital Rebel.

F-Stop: 5.6

ISO: 200

Focal Length: 55mm

Shutter Speed: 1/125 second

Metering Mode: Pattern

User avatar
Plays In The Dirt
Posts: 872
Joined: Sat Mar 28, 2009 5:51 pm

Re: Back from my first ever desert vacation

Post by Plays In The Dirt » Mon Apr 27, 2009 5:40 am

Plays In The Dirt wrote:
Desert Cruiser wrote:Nice photos! I'm guessing you took them with a Canon 300D! Nice job. Thanks for sharing.
Don...
I think so Don, an EOS Digital Rebel.

F-Stop: 5.6

ISO: 200

Focal Length: 55mm

Shutter Speed: 1/125 second

Metering Mode: Pattern
At least that's the file info from the first image from the first "roll of film" looking out the motel window.

WillCAD
Posts: 8
Joined: Sat Mar 28, 2009 6:03 am
The middle number please (4): 7
Location: Baltimore, MD USA
Contact:

Re: Back from my first ever desert vacation

Post by WillCAD » Mon Apr 27, 2009 11:12 am

Yes, I shoot a Canon Digital Rebel 300D. Although it's obsolete technology by today's standards, it still takes a pretty good picture, and has proven itself fairly tough and very reliable over the 5 or so years that I've had it.

User avatar
Plays In The Dirt
Posts: 872
Joined: Sat Mar 28, 2009 5:51 pm

Re: Back from my first ever desert vacation

Post by Plays In The Dirt » Mon Apr 27, 2009 12:14 pm

WillCAD wrote:Yes, I shoot a Canon Digital Rebel 300D. Although it's obsolete technology by today's standards, it still takes a pretty good picture, and has proven itself fairly tough and very reliable over the 5 or so years that I've had it.
The main thing is to have fun with it. Many of the older models perform quite well, and much of the new technology is just bells and whistles and gadgets to keep the everyday consumer buying new upgrades.

User avatar
Apache Devil
Posts: 227
Joined: Mon Apr 13, 2009 3:21 pm

Re: Back from my first ever desert vacation

Post by Apache Devil » Mon Apr 27, 2009 12:47 pm

Sounds like a fun trip. I give Vegas a wide berth since I have left nothing there, but the deserts of Nevada are largely unsung places of wonder and beauty. With few exceptions, I find just about all of my khaki desert pants and shirts at the Goodwill. My preference is to blend in with the landscape as much as possible. This not only makes me less visible to the animals I want to photograph, but it also helps to keep other humans from tracking my movements. I like to see while remaining unseen.

Post Reply