- Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: Graphie Intl; 2nd edition (July 5, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0916189139
- ISBN-13: 978-0916189136
- Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #310,752 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Photographing the Southwest: Volume 2--Arizona (2nd Ed.) (Photographing the Southwest) Paperback – July 5, 2006
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Top Customer Reviews
Just back from a 2 month tour of the Southwest, this guide was indispensable. Together with the New Mexico version, we were able to visit 100 sites in 65 days, and get 1000's of incredible images. We had never even heard of most of the places before reading these books. Even with 19 days of snow, we were able to put ourselves in several hyper-photogenic spots every day. And yet, I doubt we've seen half of places Laurent describes. For a few shekels, you get intimate knowledge of the region with decades of practical experience.
But that's just us. We wanted to travel and hike and photograph everyday. These guides hit that sweet spot. If you don't want to get out of the car, or just want to shop, or are looking for the best opportunities for fine dinning, or like comfortable museums, or looking to save pennies RVing parking lots, this book is not for you. To get the most out of it, you'll also need well worn hiking boots, a light backpack, water bottles, navi gear, a walking stick, lots of camera gear, flashlights, emergency gear, a high clearance vehicle, a high-limit credit card, good legs, and a variety of hats for sun and cold. Camping equipment also helps, but we like showers and beds. And that's not all. You will mostly need enormous amounts of energy, courage, desire, and time.
Yes, it takes courage and perseverance to follow this author's footsteps. If you want to see the show, you have to be the show. We hit the limit and backed out of one of his suggested hikes (Cathedral Wash), fearing for our lives. We were abducted by Indians, rescued from the desert at night by a rancher, and met countless wonderful people on the trails. We lost a tire, a windshield, and a body panel on the car. Those are just a few of the hundreds of incredible stories.
Practically speaking, it is a sturdy, well bound book, and thank goodness for that. We spent hours everyday for weeks with each book, and they got tossed around in the car and packs.
Laurent is highly enjoyable to read in the planning phase of your trip, and very enthusiastic. Sometimes too enthusiastic. When he mentions that something might require caution or is "perfectly safe," you'd better hold on for your life or back away. To get the picture, you have to drive through the stream, squeeze through the crack, and get comfortable with 500 foot cliffs.
As others have mentioned, his travel directions are capricious. This is typical for the Southwest. They don't want to squash your sense of adventure. Seriously. So it can be difficult to follow along at home. Once you are en route, he always gives you enough to get there. We bookmarked his one-little-map-per-book, and found the uncluttered, schematic view very useful.
One last word on coded messages--when Laurent mentions that you might want to spend some extra time exploring an area beyond his specific recommendations, plan on extending your stay and get busy. He's hinting that something spectacular is lurking just beyond the view of the tourists. Talk to the locals, trade info with other hikers, and explore some of those Forest Service roads. We found prehistoric pottery shards, rock art, natural and cultural wonders, and even a cave dwelling that nobody knew about. How can you beat that for adventure?
This book will get you going. I'm buying his Utah guide right now.
Martres writes clearly and covers all the necessary information. He seems to know all of the best spots to shoot, when to shoot them, and how to get there. He rates spots for photographic and scenic value (which of course is fairly subjective), and even how difficult it is to get there by vehicle or on foot. He is very sensitive to environmental issues and laments that in some places popularity has eclipsed photographic opportunities.
There is only one thing missing (and I realize that I'm whining when I say it) and that is a set of maps or, alternatively, GPS coordinates. For many locations, these are not really necessary: anyone can find the West Mitten in Monument Valley. But some of the more obscure and remote locations could really benefit from even a simple map. I realize that this is asking a lot and may be completely impractical. Likewise, for an author to collect and share GPS coordinates may be more trouble than it's worth. On the other hand, this is the age of the GPS and Google Earth and I can dream, can't I? Maybe in the 3rd edition.
I have Martres' books on Southern Utah and New Mexico/Colorado. I haven't had a chance to use them (that's next year's trip) but I'm confident that they will be as useful as this book.
But that's a minor side issue. The book is beautiful, useful, well printed and organized. I love it.