Photography & travel tips from an award-winning photographer, educator & wanderlust

20 minutes in Grand Canyon National Park

For some, visiting Grand Canyon National Park is the #1 priority while visiting the United States or at the top of the Bucket List for the rest of us. Covering not quite 5,000 sq km of Arizona land, this National Park is undoubtedly magnificent, displaying millions of years of history for millions of annual visitors.

As a photographer, of course I felt intimidated by the stunning views of the Colorado River, the Havasu Falls, the Skywalk and the ever popular Instagram destination – the Horseshoe Bend. Photographing the Grand Canyon is one of those places that you capture over and over again, hoping for better weather, better air quality, better moments along your hike/visit.

Who would have thought that my shooting window would only be about 20 minutes long…

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Driving from Las Vegas with my mom, a fellow photographer, we had a four hour journey to cover before we arrived at our destination. Along the way, we encountered some summer-time rain, then hail, which we were crossing our fingers wouldn’t follow us to GC. As the photography gods and goddesses planned – it did!

While neither one of us were hoping for direct sunshine (which has a tendency to wash out the colors and produce a smokey, purple effect against the red rock of the national park), we were also less than excited to expose our cameras to any significant amount of rain drops, let alone hail.

We parked quickly (somewhere along the ridge of the Southern Rim) and off we went, while a mean-looking cloud was looming over our heads.

Then, a dark cloud of “F#%^ you and your pictures” began to move! At first, it was on the right hand side from us, creating some moody photographs and plummeting the canyon into darkness. Then, it was in front of us, with the visible wall of rain coming down about 100-200 feet in the distance. It was as though we were standing inside an invisible shield, which allowed us to snap away without feeling a single drop of rain.

It was unlike anything I’ve ever seen, happening right here in Grand Canyon National Park AND I had my camera on hand. Photography gods and goddesses were having a feast!

While other onlookers were enjoying the scenery, my mom and I were busy snapping away, remembering to also photograph ourselves.

After about 20 minutes of running around and snapping the view from every possible angle, our time was up. It started to drizzle and then a healthy amount of rain caught us just as we were getting into our car. We had another 4 hours of driving to do before reaching our next destination of our 3000 mile road trip – Monument Valley.

And that is how I spent 20 minutes in Grand Canyon National Park.


Have you ever visited the Grand Canyon? If so, do you have a story to tell? Comment below.


  1. Photography gods and goddesses were certainly smiling down on you, cuz those pics are amazing. That curtain of rain looks like a mini-tornado in front of you, and that you were able to snap it without getting a drop on you, incredible. (also, so great that you and your mom are into the same things!!!)

  2. That’s one of the memories that would always get a wow! I experienced that same wall of rain in a mountain in the Philippines (very near distance from where i was standing, I was in awe for a good time until the rain did “extend” to where i was standing) but that’s nothing like your GC experience. Sharing the same hobby with your mom and being with her on a road trip is really cool.

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