The Grand Canyon is one of the most scenic and most often photographed places in the United States. Here are a few tips on where and how to get the best pictures, for photographers of any age.
The Grand Canyon is possibly the most popular natural attraction in the United States. Not only is it an impressive sight and a great destination for a family vacation, but it is also one of the top locations for beautiful, striking photographs. Modern technology has made it easier than ever for all members of the family, including the kids, to take memorable photos of their vacation. Here are the best places for photo ops in the Grand Canyon, including a few tips for photographers of all ages.
Where to Go to Take Pictures at the Grand Canyon
Pretty much everything you see at the Grand Canyon will be beautiful, but there are some places that are more photo-worthy than others. Here are some of the top photo ops in the area.
• Hopi Point - If you want a good shot of the canyon at sunset, make sure you include Hopi Point on your list of places to see. With its breathtaking, wide-open views, this spot is well known as one of the best places to take sunset pictures of the Grand Canyon.
• Havasu Canyon - Some of the most breathtaking waterfalls are in Havasu Canyon, which is part of the Grand Canyon contained within the Havasupai reservation. Flooding in 2008 destroyed some of the old falls and created new ones, as happens frequently in the canyon. The reservation has been closed to hikers and lodgers due to the flooding, and will open again on May 1, 2011.
• Grand Canyon Skywalk - There is nothing else in the Grand Canyon quite like the Skywalk. This is an observation deck that extends 70 feet beyond the canyon’s rim, with a glass bottom so that you literally get a bird’s eye view. The location of the Skywalk also allows for some dramatic pictures of the surrounding canyon.
• Aerial shots - Some of the best memories you can take home from your trip to the Grand Canyon are aerial photos, which show the Grand Canyon from the air. Everyone has photos of the Grand Canyon taken from various points along the rim, but how many of your friends have their own aerial shots? Grand Canyon helicopter tours provide perfect opportunities to get some great aerial shots. Be sure to take pictures both above and below the rim!
Tips for Taking Great Photos at the Grand Canyon
Taking pictures of the Grand Canyon is a little different than taking pictures of people at a family gathering, or taking pictures of your child’s soccer game.
• Invest in a digital camera and extra memory cards. One of the primary advantages of a digital camera is the ability to take lots of pictures and discard the ones you don’t like. This is especially important when you are taking pictures someplace like the Grand Canyon, where you might want to experiment a little with your photos. When looking for a scenery-worthy camera, look for a high-megapixel camera with a powerful optical zoom. Be sure to purchase extra memory cards, too, so that you have enough space for all your photos until you get home and can transfer the pictures to your computer!
• Take pictures when the lighting is most dramatic. The best times to take pictures of the Grand Canyon are in the early morning and late evening, when the sunlight is slanted. This produces lots of shadows that highlight the texture of the canyon walls, creating the most dramatic effects. It may take some determination to get up in time to get there first thing in the morning, but remember, these pictures will remind you of your trip for the rest of your life. It will be worth it!
• Reduce vibration for aerial shots. Aerial shots from a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon make great additions to your photo album, not to mention great conversation starters with friends. The only drawback is the vibration, which can make it difficult to get a good shot. A high-end camera will have the ability to filter out excess vibration, but if yours doesn’t, just be sure not to rest your arm against the side of the helicopter while you shoot.
How to Help Young Photographers Take Great Pictures
Taking pictures can be a fantastic experience for children. It makes them feel important to take and share their own photos, for one thing, but it also may get them started on a lifelong hobby or even a career path. Here are a few tips for helping your children learn to take their own photographs.
- Invest in a real digital camera for your child. Digital cameras are so inexpensive these days; you can easily get your kids their own cameras. A small, shockproof point-and-shoot camera is a great choice for a kid. Although those colorful kids’ digital cameras are great for very young children, and enable you to teach kids about how to use a camera, they don’t really take good enough photos for a vacation to the Grand Canyon.
- Practice taking photos with your child before your vacation. A little practice before you go on your vacation will help your child learn how to use and take good care of their camera. Encourage them to take photos and pay attention to what makes a good photo. Older kids can start learning about the various settings, but kids’ cameras should always be basic point-and-shoots.
- Provide a photo album, scrapbook, or memory book for your child to put their photos in. If your child doesn’t already have their own photo album, get them one when you get home for the trip, or maybe even before you leave so that they have a chance to get excited about taking photos. Help them sort through their photos on the computer and pick out the best ones. Then you can order prints and let them fill their own photo album or scrapbook. A vacation scrapbook is an especially great post-vacation project for a kid, because it allows them to be creative and share their photos with others!
Your trip to the Grand Canyon is sure to be one that neither you nor the kids will want to forget. Taking lots of pictures will not only help you remember, but also give you and your kids something to share with family and friends for years to come.