• Waterfalls of Havasupai

    April 10th to 15th, 2017

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Waterfalls of Havasupai

Overview

Come spend a few days in the enchanting canyons of the Havasupai People – the last Native American Tribe to live within the walls of Grand Canyon and known for their otherworldly waterfalls. This is a photographic journey of epic proportions into the heart of Grand Canyon into a place that is both surreal and spiritual. Havasu Falls is one of the most photogenic spots in Grand Canyon if not the entire world. The beauty of this place is unparalleled with its thundering waterfalls, red rock cliffs and bubbling turquoise pools.

The waterfalls of Havasupai exist due to an underground river that has emerged to carve out a large gorge known as Cataract Canyon. As the river cuts it’s way downward through a layer of strata known as “The Supai Group” it meets a denser limestone layer beneath which help cause the formation of large waterfalls. There are several falls in the canyon including five major ones along the course of Havasu Creek as it rushes towards the Colorado River at the bottom of Grand Canyon.

What makes this place so unique is that the water contains large amount of Calcium-Carbonate which reflects the deep blue of the Arizona sky and creates interesting mineral buildups throughout the canyon. Havasupai is like a lush desert Oasis amidst a dry and unforgiving landscape. The photographic opportunities here are absolutely outstanding.

Russ has photographed, hiked and camped down in Havasupai for years and knows it well. We schedule this trip in the spring and the fall to take advantage of cooler weather. It’s a long, hot hike down into the canyon and it’s preferable to avoid the summer months here. Summer is also monsoon season in Northern Arizona – which can produce flash floods in canyon country.

This four-day excursion into Havasu Falls is a hiking trip that will focus primarily on photographing the waterfalls. Once down in the canyon we’ll put you in front on the good spots like Mooney Falls, Beaver Falls, Fifty Foot Falls and of course – Havasu Falls. You’ll have ample time to photograph Havasu Falls as well as do some cool nighttime waterfall photography. During the course of the trip we will be staying in a lovely base-camp situated near the base of Havasu Falls. The camp, including tents, sleeping gear, cookware and all of our meals for the trip is brought down by a team of horses run by the tribe. Our guide & cook will set everything up while Russ will be shooting alongside you offering a wealth of information on how to effectively photograph the waterfalls, canyons and wildlife of the area.

Each night, after a good hike and a great day of photography we’ll return to our base-camp where our guide & cook has prepared an excellent meal. The camp is situated right alongside Havasu Creek so you can relax under the beautiful canyon night sky or head out for some evening photography sessions – the choice is yours!

Come get lost in the beauty of this place and leave with a stunning collection of images and memories. The Waterfalls of Havasupai are really like nowhere else on Earth!

Itinerary

Day 1

Travel to Flagstaff, Arizona. We will have a meeting and orientation dinner at our hotel (included) in Flagstaff to prepare for the trip.

Day 2

We will have a pre-dawn departure and drive to the remote Hualapai Hilltop where we will begin our hike down to Havasupai. We’ll start hiking in the cooler morning hours and get to the waterfalls later in the afternoon to catch the beautiful warm light that pours into Havasu Canyon. The hike down offers us some unique free flow shots of red sandstone canyon walls, pack mules ferrying gear in and out of the village of Supai, Supai itself (the Havasupai people do not like to be photographed and we absolutely respect their wishes).

Eventually we’ll arrive at camp and get settled, cool off in Havasu falls, and take some intial shots of the falls and creek. We’ll enjoy a hearty dinner and fun conversation about the photography potential of this area before turning in for a good night’s sleep.

Day 3

On our first morning in the Canyon we’ll rise early to a hot cup of coffee and a tasty breakfast in camp. After that it’s off to some serious waterfall photography. You’ll learn the intricacies of beautifully capturing these falls, including how to capture a slow shutter speed image using neutral density filters. Today’s focus will be on Havasu Falls, Little Navajo Falls & Fifty Foot Falls. We’ll spend ample time at each waterfall – and you’ll walk away with stunning images of each. After returning from our day’s hike and shoot we’ll have an excellent meal back at our cozy camp under the Cottonwood Trees and relax by the bubbling rush of Havasu Creek. After dinner we’ll head out for some evening Photography and light painting instruction at Havasu Falls, a short walk from camp.

Day 4

Our third day will take us deeper into Havasu Canyon, through a section that is arguably one of the most beautiful stretches of canyon in the world, to our destination at Beaver Falls. We’ll start early, as the optimum light inside the canyon has a short window for good photography. Beaver Falls features intense blue water pools surrounded by red-rock cliffs and is one of the most beautiful sites on the planet. We’ll spend the afternoon shooting Beaver Falls and swimming in the pools, then hike back up canyon to Photograph Mooney Falls in the open shade afternoon lighting.

After a great day of Photography and hiking we’ll head return to camp for a hearty meal and some relaxation before an optional evening excursion to one of the waterfalls for some night sky photography.

Day 5

Today we will focus on some intricate slot canyons within Havasupai as well as some interesting off-the-beaten-path grottos and nooks. We will also revisit Havasu Falls, Little Navajo and Mooney and photograph these incredible waterfalls in different lighting conditions.

Day 6

We will rise early this morning and begin the hike out towards Hualapai Hilltop. We’ll have slightly different lighting and we’ll stop and photograph the rising sun reflecting off the water just below Fifty Foot Falls before continuing our trek back up the canyon. Along the way we will stop and spend a few short sessions Photographing Cataract Canyon (a dry but beautiful canyon) along the way which features the rich red colors of the Supai Sandstone and striking black streaks of desert varnish.

After completing the hike we’ll have a late lunch on the Hilltop and then shuttle back to Flagstaff and conclusion of our trip.

Please Note: Please note that the exact sequence of the itineraries on all photography trips will be based on weather and lighting conditions. The goal on these trips is to make sure we are at the right place at the right time for the perfect light on our subjects. Also, itineraries can change for a variety of other circumstances including floods, forest fires, national park closures, road closures and more.

Details

Physical Requirements
All participants must be in good physical condition and have the ability to hike with a daypack for 10 miles.

Group Size
We keep groups small to maximize your one on one time with the guide / instructor.

Accommodation
This trip includes hotel accommodations the first night in Flagstaff, Arizona. After that we will be staying in a wonderful base-camp below Havasu Falls.

Meals

All meals are included during the trip dates and we will be eating excellent meals at our base-camp prepared by our guide in camp. The food on this trip is often one of the highlights!

Weather
Expect warm pleasant days and chilly nights. The weather is generally very dry and stable in the desert Southwest however it can change on a moments notice. Remember some of the best photographs are made before, during and immediately after a storm cycle. There is no such thing as bad weather just poor layering and gear choices – please plan accordingly! For more info on what to bring please email or call us.

Price Includes
Hotel on the first night, Meals, ground transportation, accommodation during the trip dates, professional photography instruction, medically certified wilderness guide.

Price Does Not Include
Airfare, alcoholic beverages, accommodations before or after the trip dates, guide & staff gratuities

Travel Details
Departure city is Flagstaff, Arizona

What to Bring

Photo & Field Gear for Waterfalls of Havasupai

Required Camera Gear:

  • DSLR or Mirrorless Camera. (Nikon, Canon, Sony, Panasonic etc.)
  • Wide Angle Lens (10-20mm, 16-35mm or equivalent)
  • Telephoto Lens (100-400mm or equivalent. Larger than this an it gets hard to carry…)
  • Ultra-Light Tripod (carbon fiber, aluminum etc.)
  • Memory Cards
  • One Spare Battery
  • Filters such as a circular polarizer and neutral density are a must.
  • Lens cleaning pen & cloth
  • Camera Rain Sleeve

Optional (but recommended) Camera Gear:

  • Lens Cases OR Camera Chest Pack
  • 1.4x tele converter
  • Extension tubes
  • Remote Shutter Trigger
  • TTL Flash Unit
  • Panorama Gear

Suggested Field Gear & Clothing:

  • Personal Field Clothing (think layers)
  • One Warm top, such as a long-sleeved sweater or fleece jacket
  • One pair of leggings or lightweight trousers to block sun and give warmth at night
  • One Pair of Shorts (doubles as bathing suit)
  • Two T-Shirts
  • Hiking Socks (Smartwool, Darn Tough etc.)
  • Brimmed Sun Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Sturdy Hiking Boots
  • Water Bottle or Hydration System
  • Rain shell, waterproof/breathable jacket
  • Rain Pants
  • Gaiters (optional)
  • Shooting Gloves
  • Pocket knife
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • Headlamp with spare batteries
  • Warm Hat or Beanie

In March, October & November also bring:

  • Warm Hat & Gloves
  • Lightweight, Compressible Down Jacket
  • Long Underwear (synthetic top & bottom)

This is a general list. Before we actually depart let’s have a quick chat or email about what you are planning to bring!

Highlights

  • Havasu Falls: A Photographer’s Dream
  • Photograph Five Unique and Beautiful Waterfalls
  • Deluxe Base-Camp with our own guide & cook!
  • Beautiful hikes between locations
  • Small Groups
  • Opportunities to photograph Big Horn Sheep & other wildlife
  • All-Inclusive Trip, including top-notch meals
  • Learn from & shoot alongside a seasoned pro

Waterfalls of Havasupai

6 Days

$1849

Deposit: $750

Flagstaff, Arizona


Dates

April 10th to 15th, 2017


Questions? Contact us about this trip!

"We were able to score incredible shots of all the waterfalls in Havasu plus many interesting smaller ones. Russ knows the area really well and can show you an excellent time. Seriously - the photographic subjects in this place are absolutely outstanding and the lush almost tropical oasis is like something you would never expect in a desert environment. Beautiful trip!"

Aaron PPeoria, Illinois