ARIZONA – GLEN CANYON NATIONAL RECREATION AREA – Horseshoe Bend
Photo Experience: Horseshoe Bend is one of the most iconic sights of the western United States. I’ve seen it on posters, on television displays in stores, and, of course, featured in photography magazines. I’ve been to this location before. But it wasn’t until this trip that I had a lens with a focal length to capture the entire 270-degree-or-so scene. The shot below was taken with my Nikkor 17-35 lens set at 20 mm. The day I went, the sky was overcast. The advantage of this lighting was that I didn’t have to deal with shadows. The disadvantage? No sun = no good reflections on the river’s surface. The main view is oriented more-or-less east to west. (At sunset, you would be looking into the sun.) If you are there on a sunny day, mid-day (unlike many opportunities) will probably provide optimal lighting conditions (that is, fewer shadows).
Other Info: Be prepared for crowds. This is a popular spot for tour buses. (I don’t think I’ve ever seen as many selfie sticks in one place.) The trail is slightly less than ¾-mile one way, up over a hill and back down. A significant portion of the hike involves slogging through soft sand. You won’t see “the Bend” until you arrive at the overlook. WARNINGS: There are no guardrails or fences at the overlook. At the rim, it is 1,100 feet straight down to the Colorado River. This is not a place to go if you have a problem with heights. And, even if you don’t, be very careful, especially if it is windy.