Notes From Arizona
My friend Nicholas looking over the Arizona skyline while hiking up towards Flat Iron.

What you’re about to read is what was on my mind while on the flight back home to New Jersey. I hope you enjoy it.

Traveling with camera gear is always a fun and interesting task. Before hand, you have to think about your destination and activities.

For example, during a recent trip to Arizona I knew that I would be on day long outing with some friends in the middle of desert and mountains. To plan for it, I began to create a list of gear that I thought would be necessary for the day.

I used the Reminders app on my iPad, which uses iCloud for syncing to my iPhone. The list contained the following:

  • Nikon D800 w/ Really Right Stuff L Bracket
  • Nikon 24-70
  • Nikon 70-200
  • Lee Filters in LowePro case
  • Cable Release
  • Really Right Stuff tripod
  • 3 Batteries
  • Battery Charger
  • Custom SLR strap w/ C-loop and Really Right Stuff mini clamp
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • iPhone battery backup
  • All of my CF and SD cards
  • Hat

Creating a list like this is very useful and typically effective. In fact, I packed everything you see above, except one item. Somehow I forgot my hat. Being that I traveled from New Jersey to Arizona, I already had my winter hat in my jacket. During the photo outing, I wound up wearing the winter hat whenever the wind picked up enough to not overheat. I also applied sunscreen a few times since I shave my head and it is prone to sunburn.

My friend Levi capturing the Superstition Mountains.

During our hike up towards Flat Iron in the Superstition Mountains, I left my camera bag and 70-200 behind. I decided to carry minimal since the terrain could get difficult. What I didn’t expect was for there to be snow at Flat Iron. Because of that, we had to put on additional layers of clothing to not get too cold. Being that I was not expecting the cold in Arizona, I didn’t pack a sweatshirt. I wound up having to wear my North Face jacket, which is very warm. At some points the warm jacket was too much, so I had to carry it.

Side note: here is a video I found on YouTube of people hiking up the trail.

My reason for mentioning the hat and jacket is because although you can plan, there can always be unexpected. Like snow in an area that rarely gets snow.

My friend Nicholas looking over the Arizona skyline while hiking up towards Flat Iron.

At the end of the day, we grabbed some beer and let our feet and calves relax.

The next morning there was a car show in downtown Chandler, Arizona. So we took a hotel shuttle there and spent a couple of hours admiring and photographing the cars. It was a huge car show, bigger than any I’ve been to in New Jersey, and some of the cars were from the 1920s. There was also a Ghostbuster limo and the original Batmobile.

Later that afternoon we attended a friend’s wedding, which was the main reason for traveling to Arizona. The wedding was in a beautiful venue in Gilbert, Arizona. As a photographer who does not photograph weddings, I still take notice of the photographer photographing a wedding I am a guest at. I’m always interested in their techniques and approaches to certain situations, or how they make their way around a room of 200 people. I tweeted two comments during the wedding.

The first was related to the fact that the photographer was using a Gary Fong Diffuser on her flash. I get curious when I see those in use, whether the photographer did research on the product before purchasing or just picked it up because Gary Fong said it is useful. I mean, I understand wanting to soften the light coming out of the flash, but there is absolutely no reason to have a diffuser that is 360 degrees around, lighting whatever is behind the camera. That is a lot of lost light. The diffuser is also open at the top so light can hit the ceiling. However, the ceiling was about 40 feet high and a was paneled in dark wood. That meant that the Gary Fond diffuser’s open top was doing nothing for the photographer. With that said, there is a time in place for the product. (if the photographer really wants to use it) If it was me, I would have used a simple stofen style diffuser and placed black gaffers tape on the back side to block light from going backwards. I would have also placed white gaffers tape on the inner back side to bounce that light forward. But that’s just me.

My second tweet was giving props/kudos to the photographer, because she had to work an event that was in a very difficult room. As mentioned, there was a 40 foot high ceiling and the entire room was paneled in dark wood. That makes it very difficult to use walls or ceilings for bouncing light off of. With around 200 guests, it also makes it difficult to keep light stands out of harms way. However, the photographer did have one extra flash (with a PocketWizard) on a 9 foot light stand. She placed it near the band, aimed at the dance floor. I glanced at her screen while she chimped to see how dark the photos came out, but it looked as though she should be in the clear. Again, good work dealing with a difficult room.

The next day a few of us went on another small hike, to Telegraph Pass. This hike was partially paved and at one point becomes all rock. I was still soar from the first hike, so Melissa and I called it quits at one point.

Side note: here is a video I found on YouTube of Telegraph Pass.

Overall it was a fantastic trip and I’m so excited to process the photographs and share them on the blog.

I’ll leave you with one final thought. If you are ever headed to Arizona and think you might go for a hike, think ahead, plan ahead and bring a camera.

Thanks for reading and happy shooting,

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