Horseshoe Bend, Page, AZ

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Horseshoe Bend remains one of the most spectacular attractions in Northern Arizona.  Since I’ve been there a few things have changed – they installed a partial rail, and there’s an expanded parking lot that charges $10 per car.  Please note, parking on Route 89A is forbidden, so if the lot is full, you have to come back.  

I was there on a late August day, and lucked out, I was able to catch a spectacular sunset. 

Horseshoe Bend, AZ at Sunset. Photo by Ming Lo

We also walked around a bit, and the view nearby was also stunning.  

Horseshoe Bend, AZ at Sunset. Photo by Ming Lo.

A few thoughts on shooting Horseshoe Bend if you are a photographer.  

  • You definitely need a wide angle lens.  The first shot above was shot with a 16-35mm at 16mm.  
  • The dynamic range is huge, so think about how you want to handle that.  I shot these handheld, but you may want a tripod and may wish to shoot HDR.  Especially at sunset, you’ll have to figure out how to not have blown out areas in the frame.  Also, keep in mind that throughout the day, some part of the bend will be in shade and some will be in direct sun.  
  • A polarizer may be helpful during the day. 
  • If you keep a UV filter on your lens, keep in mind that near sunset the UV filter will reflect the sunlight falling on the lens.  
  • Be sure to walk around a bit for other shots.  
  • Be careful standing at the edge, especially if you are looking through your viewfinder.  Because I was on a wide angle lens, my sense of space was distorted as soon as I looked through the viewfinder.  I couldn’t tell how much space was in front of me, and that’s a very dangerous thing when you are on the edge of a sheer cliff.  Although there is a rail there now, it doesn’t cover the entire space.  Some people lay down on their bellies to take the shot.  
  • Horseshoe Bend is about 4 miles southwest of Page, AZ.  There is nothing there other than the parking lot ($10 fee as mentioned) – no bathrooms and such, so please keep that in mind.  Once you park, you have to walk 3/4 of a mile or so.  Bring water and sunglasses if you wish.  It can also be windy.  

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