• Grand Canyon Monsoon

    July 26th to 30th, 2017

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Grand Canyon Monsoon


The Grand Canyon Monsoon Photography Tour takes place during the height of Grand Canyon’s epic monsoon season. During the months of July and August Northern Arizona is frequented by daily thunderstorms which can create super dramatic skies over Grand Canyon. This is the best time of year to photograph Grand Canyon as the region gets both beautiful mornings with puffy white cumulus clouds as well as dark thunderheads and draping rain curtains. The possibilities of photographing lightning and rainbows over Grand Canyon are a reality this time of year.

No other place on Earth exhibits the strange, raw beauty and rugged splendor of the Grand Canyon as it sprawls nearly 200 miles as a crow flies across the desert Southwest. Grand Canyon is a wonderment to photographers worldwide from its lofty monuments to its ancient red and white walls of sedimentary strata. Morning and Evening light on the canyon can completely change it’s visual presence creating soft, yet striking images full of color and contrast.

But why on Earth would you come to the desert in the summertime!?

Well for one – it’s the inner canyon that gets hot. Very hot. In fact, it is typically over 20 degrees Fahrenheit warmer at the bottom of the canyon than the South Rim – which at an elevation of over 7000 feet is quite nice in the summer! Days are usually in the 70-degree range and evenings cool off into the 50-degree range.

For Photographer’s it’s all about the Monsoon. Each year from early July through early September the Southwestern United States experiences warm, moisture laden air crossing it’s deserts and mountains from the Pacific Ocean. These moist airstreams create widespread thunderstorms across the region each afternoon – seemingly on cue which is like striking gold for any landscape photographer.

The storms create wildly interesting skies above Grand Canyon both during and after the storms as the post storm lighting is typically fantastic with nice broken cloud-scapes over the canyon. Truly some of the best Grand Canyon landscape images are created in the summertime.

Russ has been photographing, hiking and guiding people into Grand Canyon for nearly a decade. He will be shooting alongside you on this four-day lodge-based excursion and offering a wealth of photographic knowledge about the canyon.

The focus will be on epic South Rim Photography opportunities from different vantage points along the rim of Grand Canyon. We will also may have the opportunity to photograph wildlife such as Elk, Bighorn Sheep & California Condors.

Each evening we will return to our cozy lodge near the South Rim for a good meal and some laughs. You’ll walk away from this trip with some truly amazing compositions and a great vacation overall. Join us in Grand Canyon this summer for the Grand Canyon Monsoon Photography Tour!


Day 1

Travel Day. Arrive in Flagstaff, Arizona by 6pm for orientation and welcome dinner.

Day 2

We will begin our adventure with a pre-dawn departure from Flagstaff, Arizona to the South Rim of Grand Canyon. The goal this morning is to Photograph Grand Canyon from Grandview Point and catch the rising sun as it illuminates the canyon walls. We’ll have a short lecture on the nuances of Grand Canyon Photography as we photograph to morning light from Grandview.

We’ll grab a late breakfast and then try our luck at some park wildlife before returning to Grandview Point depending upon our Monsoon Storm conditions.

After lunch today we’ll check in to our lodge for a quick siesta before heading out to Yavapai Point to capture the fading light. Yavapai is a short hike from Grand Canyon Village and boasts one of the most remarkable views on the south rim. We’ll focus on creating excellent images here of the magical sunset that often occurs after daily thunderstorms end.

After a full evening photography session at Yavapai it’s just a short walk to dinner at either the Arizona Room or El Tovar Hotel for an excellent post-photography meal!

Day 3

We’ll be up before dawn this morning with a quick cup of coffee and a light snack to catch the rising sun over Moran Point. This is one of the most awe inspiring spots on the South Rim of Grand Canyon and we’ll waste no opportunity making sure you create stunning images. After spending the magic morning hours capturing the light we’ll head in for a good breakfast.

We’ll spend some time during the mid-day hours when the light is not so good in the canyon looking for wildlife such as Elk or California Condors along the Rim.

In the later afternoon we have a longer hike planned along the western rim. We will hike along the rim towards Hermit’s Rest – about seven miles in total. We will shoot all along the way but our goal will be to finish at one of the most dramatic views in Grand Canyon for an evening photography session. After that’s off to Grand Canyon Village for dinner. After a great meal we’ll stay after dark and learn about astrophotography and maybe try our hand at star trails.

Day 4

We’ll spend the morning photographing lesser known spots of Grand Canyon and we’ll have breakfast out on the trail.

After a siesta and instructional lecture on Grand Canyon Photography we’ll have the opportunity to photograph Elk along the south Rim before heading to our evening Photography spot at the Desert View Watchtower to capture the powerful sunset (and hopefully raging Monsoon Storm!) above this iconic park feature as well as the imposing canyon walls known as the Palisades of the Desert and great views of the Colorado River nearly 5000 feet below! While shooting your guide will prepare an excellent sunset dinner in between sessions so that you can stay and shoot! We’ll stay awhile after dark at Desert View to try our hands at some nighttime star photography over Grand Canyon.

Day 5

We’ll rise early once again to catch the rising sun as it graces the walls of Grand Canyon. This will be our final opportunity capture the wonder of Grand Canyon in the morning light. We’ll do a short stroll along the Hermit’s Rest Trail looking for your favorite vantage point. There are many options here including Pima Point and Hopi Point that can lend to excellent morning compositions. After our morning session we’ll gather for one last late breakfast before our drive to Flagstaff and the conclusion of our trip!

Itinerary 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.


Physical Requirements
Although an easier trip physically, all participants must have the ability to go on light walks with their camera gear.

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

We will be staying in a cozy lodge in the quaint town of Tusayan right near the rim of Grand Canyon National Park.


All meals are included during the trip dates and we typically eat at park lodges in the evening as well as a hand picked local restaurants. We often do snacks on the trail and then return for a late breakfast during photography trips as we are often out early to capture the morning light.

Expect warm pleasant days and chilly nights. The weather is generally very dry and stable in the 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
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 Grand Canyon Monsoon

Required Camera Gear:

  • DSLR or Mirrorless Camera. (Nikon, Canon, Sony, Panasonic etc.)
  • Medium telephoto zoom lens (100–400mm zoom or equivalent)
  • Normal Lens (50mm or equivalent zoom)
  • Wide-angle lens (10-20mm, 16-35mm or equivalent zoom)
  • Sturdy but lightweight Tripod (must be able to carry this for hikes)
  • Memory Cards
  • Batteries, batteries, batteries (enough said?)
  • Battery Chargers
  • Filters such as a circular polarizer and neutral density are a must.
  • Lens cleaning pen & cloth
  • Camera Day Pack (this should appropriately carry all your camera & hiking gear)
  • Camera Rain Sleeve

Optional (but recommended) Camera Gear:

  • Back-Up Camera Body
  • Macro-capable lens
  • 1.4x tele converter
  • Extension tubes
  • Laptop Computer with Lightroom / Photoshop Pre-Installed
  • External Hard Drives
  • Bean bag
  • Remote Shutter Trigger
  • TTL Flash Unit
  • Camera’s Instruction Manual
  • Panorama Gear

Suggested Field Gear & Clothing:

  • Personal Field Clothing (think layers)
  • Warm top, such as a long-sleeved sweater or fleece jacket
  • Long pants, one pair of leggings or lightweight trousers to block sun and give warmth at night
  • Shorts & T-Shirts for on the trail during warmer months
  • Hiking Socks (Smartwool, Darn Tough etc.)
  • Brimmed Sun Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Sturdy Hiking Boots
  • Casual wear, for your evenings off the trail
  • Water Bottle or Hydration System
  • Rain shell, waterproof/breathable jacket
  • Rain Pants (optional)
  • Gaiters (optional)
  • Bathing Suit
  • Shooting Gloves
  • Pocket knife
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • Knee pads (for low-angle shooting)
This is a general list. Before we actually depart let’s have a quick chat or email about what you are planning to bring!


  • Photograph Grand Canyon Landscapes in it’s most dramatic season
  • Incredible storms over Grand Canyon during peak Monsoon lead to awesome photos
  • Opportunities for lightning & rainbows over this natural wonder of the world
  • Try your hand at night photography over the Grand Canyon
  • Small Group sizes
  • Return to our cozy lodges after an incredible day in the field
  • All-Inclusive Trip, including top-notch meals & lodging
  • Learn from & shoot alongside a seasoned pro

Grand Canyon Monsoon

5 Days


Deposit: $1000

+$350 Single Occupancy

Flagstaff, Arizona


July 26th to 30th, 2017

Questions? Contact Us About This Trip

“This was really a wonderful time to experience the Grand Canyon. The temperatures were just right and every day almost on a schedule the thunderstorms rolled in to provide us with excellent moods for our images. The tour is really well constructed and you are treated like a small family as together each day you explore and photograph new spots in the canyon. Highly recommended!”

Mary LWashington D.C