Arizona’s Iconic Treasure

Smoke Coming In, by Larry McDonald

Ken Duquaine

During the first week of August, members of the Sun Lakes Camera Club (SLCC) visited one of the most unique and awesome sites on earth, Arizona’s own national treasure, the Grand Canyon. The most accessible and popular place from which to view the canyon is Arizona’s South Rim. And it’s there that our SLCC adventurers spent four exciting days.

One might imagine that getting great photos in such a spectacular setting would be child’s play, but such is not the case. I learned this the hard way many years ago following my first visit to the canyon. Arriving home and viewing my developed photos with great anticipation, I was sorely disappointed to find that while the photos were technically fine, I had totally failed to capture the scale and sheer grandeur of it all. The size of the canyon requires some planning in order to capture its essence. Including interesting foreground elements such as rocks, trees, and plants can help with this, as well as adding interest to your compositions. Another way to achieve perspective is by including people in the composition. Various weather conditions can add wonderful drama to photos, and there are endless variations in the canyon’s weather patterns at all times of the year.

Here’s what two of SLCC’s trip participants had to say about the trip:

Phyllis Peterson: “I was happy to be able to join the Sun Lakes Camera Club trip to the Grand Canyon. Photographing the Grand Canyon is an opportunity not to be missed. Incredible scenes are around every bend in the road. I got some good shots. But what made it special was the knowledge that the trip leader provided for where to go and when. And our group gathered for a couple of meals throughout the day. It was an incredible trip!”

Raul Lopez: “I recently traveled to Grand Canyon with a small group of fellow Sun Lakes Camera Club members to enjoy photographing the Canyon for four days. Getting an opportunity to photograph in the Canyon is always exciting and a thrill. And this trip was not disappointing in any way. Although smoke from the California fires hindered the clarity of the sky in the Canyon, its beauty and grandeur still shone through. It is just too beautiful of a location to not be able to offer great photographic opportunities. Lynn Thompson guided us in our venture and directed us to many excellent, uncluttered locations with ample parking. We shot in the early morning, arriving at our locations before sunrise and at sunset, staying until after dark. This was the first time I have joined Lynn, although he has offered this opportunity for the last few years, and I look forward to joining him again next year!

For more information about SLCC and its activities, call SLCC President Lynn Thompson at 480-734-0040, Vice-President Judy Daidone at 480-216-3062, or Past President Jan Ballard at 602-621-3344 and visit our website at