Yes, it is true, Grand Falls, also known as “Chocolate Falls” has created a frenzy with photographers here in Arizona. I had been waiting for the right water flow myself to take pictures and when I found out the water was flowing at 1,000 cubic feet per second, that was enough for me to pack up my gear and head to the falls. The storms kept coming and the water levels kept rising.
I did get very lucky to catch a beautiful sunset the day I went and although the water levels have risen substantially, I am satisfied with my experience and excited to see the photographs from the other local photographers. I thought I could give some helpful tips to those who haven’t experienced natures Willy Wonka fountain.
It’s likely that you will pass the road leading up to the falls and run into the river, most people do the first or second time. Don’t worry about it, just turn around and find the little road leading to the falls. Below are the coordinates.
Grand Falls, AZ
Grand Falls is a Falls in Coconino County, Arizona. It has an elevation of 1,371 meters, or 4,498 feet.
Degrees Minutes Seconds:
Latitude: 35-25’39” N
Longitude: 111-12’03” W
Cell phone reception is limited by the Falls. I have Verizon and had lost service in most of the area. Depending on the wind and where you are standing you may need to be VERY mindful of your vehicle and camera gear. My camera was filthy when I came home, I have to send it to Canon for a professional shower. If you are interested in camping over night try staying at the KOA, it does have electricity. That is the closest camping place near the falls or just stay in a hotel in Flagstaff. The Grand Falls will be about a 45 minute drive from Flagstaff. You can get to the Falls in a regular vehicle but it may get beat up a little. I do recommend carpooling with a friend that has a 4×4. If you are following the water flow charts be mindful of the 12 hour delay in the reading, the water levels may be vastly different when you arrive.
Below are pictures of the Grand Falls taken at different times of the day. I am partial to the sunset pictures. It will be tough to get an even exposure without doing bracketing at different exposures. The sky may be clear but the falls will be underexposed. I didn’t enjoy the look of HDR photography for this scene so I brought up my shadows and exposure in lightroom to get clearer and crisper shots. Have fun and take lots of pictures! It’s Arizona’s dirty Niagara! I think you will enjoy the uniqueness of the Grand Falls.
Join our October Fall Sedona Workshop
The weather finally starts to cool off after another one of Arizona’s heat waves. It’s time to grab the box of long sleeves on top of the closet and pray that my favorite jeans still fit!
The season has changed and I have to travel a short two hour distance to capture the magic. My fall itinerary will include Sedona, Colorado and maybe Utah. My mom keeps insisting I see Michigan in October too. Maybe one day
I chose Sedona’s Oak Creek West Fork trail as my first Fall Workshop destination. The location brings about a quiet peacefulness that I long to experience all year round. The trail ground is vibrant, the weather perfect and the colors are simply stunning.
This is exactly the place and setting I would love to teach photography. The beauty and scenery are such a huge bonus for those who want to advance their skills too! I am super excited about this workshop and can’t wait to see you there
Tips for Great Photography by Stacy LeClair
1. Finding the right location- Finding the right locations is imperative to a great shot! Although many photographers don’t like to reveal this fact, it is true! Find a beautiful place and it’s hard not to take a good picture.
2. Working with good lighting (studio, sunrise, sunset, storm lighting)- Now that a great photographer has found a great location, they patiently wait for the light to illuminate their subject nicely. With the combination of awesome lighting and a great location the results are rather stunning!
3. Using a tripod for sharp images and less camera shake- A great photographer will know the importance of a sharp image. Camera shake can cause a beautiful scene to look blurry or distorted. Even with all the technical advances and image stabilization a tripod is still one of the most important tools for great photographers. Start using one regularly and notice the difference!
4. Extensive knowledge about their equipment- How long does it take you to adjust your camera settings when the light is changing quickly? A great photographer knows how to operate their settings accurately and efficiently when it’s necessary. They end up with the shot!
5. Working well with software and establishing a good workflow- Software is used as an enhancement for an already well composed shot. Great photographers use their software tastefully and artistically.