Intro – American Southwest Photography Trip Recap

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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 days 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 back up 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 the 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 Natural 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: 

  • Looking forward to the rest of the trip Viktor. Great stuff.

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