Many landscape photographers fly into Las Vegas, most headed for Zion, Bryce Canyon and Death Valley but there are other smaller photographic destinations in the area. Valley of Fire and Red Rock Canyon are often a pit stop for many of us photographers that want to add a little more variety but there is an abundant amount scenery in the area besides what I have just mentioned. The Rainbow Gardens Geologic Area on the east side of Frenchman Mountain is amazing and it’s layers of ridges fold into the Lake Mead Basin. This is also where the spectacular Grand Canyon ends but the scenery keeps going. This is one place you can see the endangered big horn sheep drinking water from the Colorado River in the Mojave Desert.
How did I even end up in Vegas? This was somewhat of unplanned outing for Memorial Day weekend. I don’t visit Las Vegas much anymore but every now and then when one my friends has a bachelor party. This time my girlfriends parents offered me and Christina their timeshare, I wasn’t going to turn them down when offered a very nice room that I didn’t have to pay for. After waking up late in the morning to the bright sunlight entering the room I skipped out on a hungover afternoon at the pool and drove out past the Rainbow Garden area in hopes of finding some nice canyon narrows that I had researched earlier in the week. I parked at the mile marker and hiked along a trail that dropped into a wash that lead into the narrows. It was hot out and my 32 oz. of water didn’t last me as long as I’d hoped it would. Amazed at the length of the narrows, almost a quarter of mile long with walls rising hundreds of feet. Parts at only 6 feet across with light only getting better as time passed. The place wasn’t even an hour outside of Downtown, that’s golden for us that put in the miles to find these far off places. There must be so many beautiful canyon narrows that exist out there besides the ones we’ve all heard about.
The following day was spent out on the water kayaking in the Lake Mead area. I’m not a kayaker so the first few miles the kayak floated like a log on the river while we physically remembered how to get around. These new things are what keep the drive alive for me so after a few miles of steering the kayak became second nature. I really wanted to try something different and to see the big horn sheep in it’s own enviroment but we didn’t see any until later in the day. They were far way on the other side of the river, you could see their trails that they walked from the slopes to the edge of the river. All paddling ceased and the current took us down river as we just watched. One of them stood on a rock out crop with out a single movement as if it were his or her pedestal. They blend into the landscape so well it was the movement of the other sheep below that caught my eye. We could of easily paddled on over and switched lenses but disturbing an endangered animal was not my cup of tea.
Monday evening is when the first photo in this series was taken. Another one of those mysterious places out in the Mojave where the edge of a sandstone cliff is full of wind sculpted formations that look like they came out of a fairytale. The weekend was almost a fairytale being that I got to mix my social life and I was able to get 3 days of landscape photography, this never happens. There are more photos but I can’t process everything. Just for kicks here is the fairytale version of this photo, the place is just unreal and I could see why someone might want to go all at it in photoshop when visiting a place like this the imagination can run wild!
I couldn’t help it I just watched Alice in Wonderland II yesterday evening.