Arizona and Utah Desert Photography Trip Report of Red Rock Formations

New Fine Art Pictures of Sedona, Monument Valley and Grand Canyon

See Also the Complete Galleries For

Sedona Arizona Landscape Photography
Monument Valley Landscape Photography

Grand Canyon National Park Photography


I managed two expeditions to the American Southwest this summer in July and August. There are so many photographic subjects there, and with unpredictable weather, it simply takes a lot of time to cover it all.

See Related Trip Reports

Sedona and Grand Canyon Summer Storm Photography

East of Phoenix are the Superstition Mountains. I was targeting some mountains to the north, but the clouds and lights really weren’t happening there. Fortunately, there was this wonderful scene to the south and the setting sun lit up the mountains and clouds perfectly.

A beautiful desert scene with cactus, mountains and sunset skies in Gold Canyon, Arizona
"Golden Sunset" - Click Photo To Purchase


Heading north from Phoenix, it is hard not stop in Sedona, Arizona. These were just a couple of the great images we captured of the beautiful red rocks there.

Red rock formations against stormy skies in Sedona, Arizona
"Northern Steps" - Click Photo To Purchase


A sunrise rain storm with colorful skies over Cathedral Peaks in Sedona, Arizona
"Stormy Sedona" - Click Photo To Purchase


Continuing north from Sedona, there is the Grand Canyon. The clouds didn’t show up for sunset, so I got some nice images of the shadows deep in the canyon from the South Rim. Moving on to the North Rim of the canyon, I was there for the moon setting over the canyon as the sun rose to the left lighting up the canyon walls. The moon beams were just spectacular.

A moon setting in the clouds over the Grand Canyon rock formations at Cape Royal
"Canyon Moon" - Click Photo To Purchase


Deep shadows and red rock colors in the bottom of the Grand Canyon
"Dark Shadows" - Click Photo To Purchase


East of the Grand Canyon in New Mexico is a very striking mountain known as Ship Rock. I’ve wanted to photograph this for years, but never had good clouds in the forecast. On this trip, there was a thunderstorm forecast to be there on only one afternoon, so the schedule was changed to be there for it. This is exactly the image I was hoping to capture.

A dramatic storm cloud over Ship Rock at sunset in New Mexico
"Shiprock Drama" - Click Photo To Purchase


Heading back to the west and north up into Utah brought us to Monument Valley. I had been there before, but just never had good clouds at sunrise. It’s one of those places you could shoot every day as it’s always going to be different.

A sunburst and brilliant orange skies at sunrise over the mittens at Monument Valley, Utah
"Mitten Glow" - Click Photo To Purchase



Continuing even further north took us to Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park. I was able to climb all the way up into the top of Double Arch and get a great shot looking south and was rewarded with a rainbow over the mountains. In Canyonlands, I had been after a good image at Dead Horse State Park for years, and finally got the sky that was going to make it work.

a view from deep inside Double Arch of a rainbow and desert formations in Arches National Park
"Doubletake" - Click Photo To Purchase


Dramatic clouds at sunrise over the red rock canyon at Dead Horse State Park, Utah
"Dead Horse Drama" - Click Photo To Purchase


Utah has such a diverse landscape from deserts to mountains, but I may be most impressed by some of the desert landscapes. Once again, there wasn’t much weather in the forecast, but we had high hopes for one of the mornings we were in the area near Factory Butte. It’s a bunch of miles out some dirt roads, but this view of the desert at sunrise was just surreal with the mountains and storm in the background. I am going to remember this experience for a very long time.

Dramatic sunrise over a canyon and desert buttes in Utah
"Desert Buttes" - Click Photo To Purchase


Orange and purple sunrise storm clouds over a Utah desert with canyon walls lit up by the sun
"Purple Storm" - Click Photo To Purchase


Back down into northern Arizona, is an area known as White Pocket. It’s about 2.5 hours on dirt roads from the closest town so you have to camp overnight there. It’s been a long time since I have slept on the ground, but it was worth it. These are just a few of the possible compositions that are possible in White Pocket. I can easily see a return trip there.

A view of swirling red rock formations from between the rocks in White Pocket, Arizona
"White Pocket View" - Click Photo To Purchase


red and orange swirling rock formations against a sunset sky at White Pocket, Arizona
"Red Swirl" - Click Photo To Purchase


A vertical view of orange and white swirling rock formations with clouds bursting in the background at White Pocket, Arizona
"Bursting" - Click Photo To Purchase



A red and white rock formation in the shape of an X with sunrise skies in the background in White Pocket, Arizona
"The X-Factor" - Click Photo To Purchase


This post is a little long, but covers about 18 days out there shooting during July and August. Stay tuned for more!

Thanks for looking and feel free to share. You can also follow the journey on Facebook or Instagram for more current photographs that may not be on the blog. We appreciate all those that follow us. https://www.facebook.com/JosephFilerPhotography and https://www.instagram.com/josephfiler