Some of the most iconic Southwest U.S. locations are usually swarmed with people. Experiencing the beauty without someone hovering over your shoulder is a rare thing when thousands of people visit these locations in a single day. Believe it or not, there are times you can experience them completely alone!
Lightning storms are dangerous out on the exposed clifftops of Horseshoe Bend. There are warning signs all over the parking lot and at the trailhead. And for good reason, just look at the deaths in Bryce Canyon National Park. However, if the storm is right and you use a little common sense it is possible to use the lightning to get the place all to yourself.
For this photo my camera and I were in full rain gear as we trekked out to the point in a torrential downpour. The storm and lightning were moving with us while the swarms of people were running away from the overlook. Once I got to the overlook the rain passed, lightning was off the distance, and the camera captured a truly unique shot. I even had a few minutes to stand there and take the whole scene in before people started crowding back in.
With a little bit of courage, some prior planning, and a sense of adventure darkness brings new life and tremendous solitude to busy locations. At night, everything changes. The darkness transforms the landscape in ways that you would never notice during the daytime hours.
Antelope Canyon, a place you can only experience by guided tour with 400 other people there during the same hour or so time slot. Beauty beyond measure and a true gem of the Southwest US it should be a stop on everyone's bucket list. I participated in one of these tours and experienced the hustle and bustle of hundreds of people moving through a slot canyon at once. I also went back at night and had the place completely to myself (and guide of course).