Having mere hours to spend at the Grand Canyon--a location many families choose as their sole vacation destination—is fairly daunting. Upon entering the park we were presented with enough literature to induce a deer in the headlights reaction: do we ride burros into the canyon? Do an aerial surveillance by helicopter? Catch a current via raft?
Our late afternoon arrival made our first move a no-brainer. After securing accommodations and a quick dinner at Spaghetti Western, we arrived at the canyon in time to watch a sunset.
Thanks to a combination of good luck, excellent timing and decisiveness not typically characteristic of our family, we found a morning activity that has made all of our highlight lists.
We went on a photo shoot with internationally renowned photographers using high end lenses and equipment supplied by Canon. And unlike the burros and ‘copters, this was completely free.
Our family’s combined photo count numbers well into the thousands. One could effectively argue that the amount of hours we are behind in our schedule is directly proportional to the time we’ve invested in lingering at various locals for “just one more shot” or pulling over to “capture” this or that along the roadside.
There’s no less than three photography contests I’ve been shooting with an eye toward—including a National Parks contest sponsored by Canon.
So the opportunity to shoot in the Grand Canyon under the tutelage of pros with way-beyond-reach equipment—another no-brainer. To sweeten the deal, I discovered that the instructor of the advanced group, Adam Jones, is actually a judge of the National Parks contest.
What luck! I thought. No more excuses about lack of equipment! No more guess work about settings! All I have to do is click the shutter! Hello winnings!
Not long into the shoot, Adam actually handed me his whole operation—one of those lenses that could substitute for a telescope at the planetarium attached to a camera body the size of a Yankee lunch box.
A squirrel posed at the rim of the canyon. Here it is, I thought, gingerly adjusting Adam’s lens and composing my shot.
Here’s what $30,000 of equipment is capable of in my hands:
Following the shoot, our family reassembled, eager to put our new knowledge to use on some family photos. Here’s what studying under combined instruction of three seasoned pros can accomplish:
The good news is that the pros say they often shoot upwards of a thousand bad images for every winner, so statistically speaking, the winning entry is in my computer somewhere. I’ll keep looking