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Homage to the Southwest by Jerry Ginsberg

By May 10, 2024No Comments

Homage to the Southwest 

Photos & Text (C) Jerry Ginsberg

North Window frames Turret Arch in Arches National Park, Utah.

Some years ago, the American Southwest was the #1 photo destination that most everyone was talking about. Not many pros had yet explored the region. The few who had were writing glowing stories about their travels and publishing great images of dramatic red rock formations and other-worldly landscapes.

This publicity got lots of attention from photo enthusiasts and sparked a migration of legions of amateurs to the area.

Over time the novelty faded. Both the buzz and many of the delicate sandstone fins became worn down by over exposure. Newer, more exotic hot spots emerged to become the ephemeral rage.

While those of the avant garde eagerly journey to places such as Iceland and the polar regions, the charms of the Four Corners region have remained just as dramatic as ever. The whole area offers a plethora of terrific photo opportunities. An infinite variety of stone arches, pinnacles, bridges, domes, fins and river bends found throughout the Southwest can keep any photographer busy for months.

It would be a mistake to overlook them.

Famed Mittens, calling card of Monument Valley Tribal Park, Utah and Arizona.

To better define these places, I would opine that the best of the best lie in a mostly  east-west band between I-70 in Utah south to I-40 in Arizona*. The contiguous halves    of these two states contain no fewer than 7 spectacular National Parks, about 20 other National Park Service units and countless great places on Native American lands.

The “Mighty 5” National Parks of Utah include Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef and Zion, while those of Arizona are Petrified Forest and of course, the   one and only Grand Canyon.^

Each and every one of these parks can easily merit several days of photographing at the edges of light to fully enjoy their spectacular geologic forms and colors.

View from atop Hunt’s Mesa in Monument Valley Tribal Park of the Navajo Nation, AZ and UT.

And then there are the less famous, but no less spectacular locations with intriguing names such as Buckskin Gulch, Box Death Hollow, Devil’s Garden, Peek-Aboo, Paria Canyon and the now well known Coyote Buttes.

Among the many other highlights of the region are:


Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument

Natural Bridges National Monument & Cedar Mesa

Monument Valley Tribal Park **

Rainbow Bridge National Monument


Canyon de Chelly National Monument

Horseshoe Bend of the Colorado

Upper & Lower Antelope Canyon

Navajo National Monument

Vermillion Cliffs National Monument

Wupatki & Sunset Crater National Monuments


 **   Iconic Monument Valley Tribal  Park straddles the Utah – Arizona state line with 

        territory in both states.

    • Sedona, AZ features some terrific scenery and is just south of I-40.       

  ^   Saguaro National Park lies on both sides of Tucson, AZ  and is well south of I-40.

The best gateway airports to the region are those in Las Vegas, Salt Lake City and perhaps Phoenix. With the exception of Grand Canyon National Park, each of the towns in close proximity to park entrances offers a wide selection of lodgings and eateries of all stripes to fit any budget.

Best bases for each:

    • Arches, Canyonlands and Dead Horse Point State Park – Moab, Utah
    • Zion – Springdale, Utah
    • Bryce Canyon – Ruby’s
    • Capitol Reef – Torrey & Hanksville, Utah
    • Grand Staircase – Escalante, Utah
    • Natural Bridges, Hovenweep & Cedar Mesa – Blanding, Utah
    • Petrified Forest – Holbrook, AZ
    • Vermillion Cliffs, Lake Powell & Glen Canyon – Page, AZ

The North and South Rims of the Grand Canyon include several favorable options within and close to park boundaries. Zion and Bryce Canyon also include rustic, but upscale parklodges.

Ancient Anasazi – Ancestral Puebloan granery deep inside the inner gorge of the Grand Canyon in Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona.


Jerry Ginsberg is a multi-award winning photographer whose landscape, Nature and travel images have graced the covers and pages of hundreds of books, magazines, travel catalogs and websites. He is the only person to have photographed each and every one of America’s 63 National Parks with medium format cameras.

Jerry has been awarded Artist Residencies in several National Parks all across America and has appeared on ABC TV discussing our National Parks.

His works have been exhibited from coast to coast and have received numerous awards.

Jerry’s photographic archive spans virtually all of both North and South America.

More of Ginsberg’s images are on display at

Or you can e mail him at