Intro – American Southwest Photography Trip Recap

This is a series of blog posts where I recap my latest photography trip to American Southwest.

I just returned from my latest photography trip. This time I went to one of my favorite destinations, the American Southwest.

It was a driving trip and I broke my personal record for distance covered in a single trip: I drove 4500 km (2700 miles) in 10 days.

My trip started in Las Vegas where I rented a car and I drove north to the city of Kanab in Utah where I spent 5 days photographing some of the most amazing destinations in Arizona and Utah. Then, I crossed the Nevada desert and drove to California’s coast, visiting Death Valley, Eastern Sierra, and Lake Tahoe along the way. My trip concluded in San Francisco Bay area where I spent a few day exploring the city and visiting Big Sur.

My initial intention was to write a short blog post with at least one photo at the end of each day of my trip to give readers of my blog the highlights of my travels. Very soon, I realized that my plan was not sustainable.

Every day of the trip, I woke up around 4am to be able to capture the morning light and on average I drove around 400km and 500km during the day, staying outside until sunset hours. By the time I was in my hotel, I was dead tired and I still had to backup new photos, charge camera batteries and plan my next day. I had absolutely no strength or time for blog updates.

I decided to share the experiences of my trip retrospectively. For the next 2 weeks, I will be featuring my Southwest adventures chronologically, day by day.

Lake Powell Wahweap Marina (Arizona)

Arizona. Page. Lake Powell
Loc: 36.956793, -111.488646


It was almost perfect shooting conditions on the day I took the featured photo. It was early evening and the light was already soft, but the thick white clouds made it even softer, acting as a huge natural diffuser. I took 3 bracketed shots (-1, 0, +1) on a tripod.


The soft diffused light made processing of this photo easy and straightforward. I did not have to use HDR workflow because the light was not too dynamic and the single RAW processing was sufficient to recover the highlights and the shadows.

I used Lightroom Preset based workflow. I applied Natuarl preset from my Landscape Preset Collection and adjusted Exposure using ToolKit adjustments.

In the final step, I did some cleaning and color correction in Photoshop.

Deconstructing Featured Photo


Camera: Sony a6000
Lens: Sony 16-70mm
Focal Length: 19mm
ISO: 100
Aperture: F8
Shutter Speed: 1/400 sec
Tripod: FEISOL Tournament CT-3442  – Check my FEISOL Tournament CT-3442 Review.
Ballhead: FEISOL CB-40D

Processing: Lightroom Preset Based Workflow

Lightroom: import, tagging, preset based processing (Natural preset from Landscape Collection)
Photoshop: contrast, color correction, cleaning, noise reduction, sharpness.

Photoshop Plugins: 

Archiving: I save all my photos as JPEG (quality: 100%) at full resolution and with the help of the Lightroom plugin, I synchronized them with my portfolio on SmugMug for safekeeping, sharing, image hosting and online sales.

Do not forget that my FREE Lightroom Preset Collection is always free for all subscribers to my newsletter.
  • Looking forward to the rest of the trip Viktor. Great stuff.

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