Photographing the Horseshoe Bend

One of the most iconic and often visited and photographed places in Arizona is the Horseshoe Bend. Located couple of miles from Page downtown is this horseshoe shaped meander of the Colorado River. After a bit of a hike, you get to see the horseshoe bend. There is no fence or railings at the edge of this rocky cliff and it’s a 1000 foot drop off of this edge.

Horseshoe bend as seen from behind the rocky edges...
Horseshoe bend as seen from a safe distance…

Word of Caution

  • There are no fences or railing stopping you from getting close to the rim of the horseshoe bend. DO NOT try be a hero and walk close to the edges of these cliffs as these rocks can be unpredictable. Do not leave your comfort zone and do something stupid. It’s a 1000 foot drop of no return.
  • Here, you should put your camera straps to good use.
  • If you have kids and/or pets, you’d need to be extra careful.

Composition

To get a better view (and hence a picture), we had to get close to the edge. It was cold and quite windy that morning. We felt the wind pushing us. So to be on the safe side, we just crawled close to the edge of the cliff to see the horseshoe bend in it’s entirety. There were several other photographers who crawled to the edge to get a better view. With my 18 mm lens, I wasn’t able to get the entire horseshoe bend with decent amount of sky in a single landscape shot. So I clicked a few portrait (or vertical) shots to get all of the ground and most of the sky and merged them. Each of my portrait (vertical) shot had 1/3rd of an overlap.

Best time?

We went to see the horseshoe bend early in the morning. There were only very few people at that time of the day. The sky had good light and clouds added beautiful drama. Early morning, I believe is the best time to photograph Horseshoe bend.
Late mornings and afternoons, with the sun shining hard, you might miss out on the details.
Sunset would good but it gets a bit crowded. Also you might need to carry a flash light for your hike back.

Horseshoe Bend

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Safe Journeys and Happy Photographing!

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