Family Road Trip to Utah (Part 1)

After a long year in 2020, my family and I were eager to hit the road for a proper family road trip. I am sure many families felt the same way after the craziness of 2020 (unfortunately the pandemic continues into year 2022).

I am the vacation planner in our family. I have always wanted to explore Utah, especially the national parks. After some research, I found that the best way to do that was to rent a fully loaded sprinter camper van. So I loaded up our two mini dachshunds (they love traveling) and family from our home in Denver during Spring Break of March 2021. We timed it just right as we escaped a huge late season winter storm that slammed into Colorado. The camper van worked out so well. It allowed us to take our time at the locations we visited without worrying about changing lodging. It was also comforting to know that we had a little home on wheels.


Our first stop after arriving in Moab, Utah was to check out Arches National Park. Pets are not allowed on the trails at the national parks so we were limited to driving through the park and pulling over at the various overlooks. The views here exceeded my expectations. A storm had just cleared, making the reds and oranges of the landscape pop even more. Magnificent rock formations and canyons stretched for miles. While I did not get a chance to explore much on foot, I did manage to photograph these two scenes.

Alfredo Mora Photography Utah-9.jpg

Sony a7RII + FE 16-35 GM, 18mm, f11, 1/400 sec, ISO400

Alfredo Mora Photography Utah-20-2.jpg

Sony a7RII + FE 16-35 GM, 16mm, f11, 1/400 sec, ISO400

Next up was Canyonlands. On a whim, I drove to this overlook which I had never heard of before. Imagine my surprise when I first saw this the winding river in this massive canyon. It was an incredible sight to see for the first time. The clouds and light were not ideal for a typical wide angle shot so I used my long lens to focus in on this composition. Hard to believe how time and some water can transform a landscape in such a dramatic way.

Alfredo Mora Photography Utah-8.jpg

Sony a7RII + FE 100-400 GM, 100mm, f11, 1/250 sec, ISO400

I must say how fortunate I was with great light during our drive through Canyonlands. Again, we traveled through the national park after a rain storm. I knew from experience that there was a good chance of good light after the storm cleared. I was not disappointed.

I had no time to setup a tripod so these are all quick handheld images. I know why they call this place the land of canyons because the deep canyons and bluffs were unbelievable.

Alfredo Mora Photography Utah-12.jpg

Sony a7RII + FE 55 ZA, 55mm, f11, 1/250 sec, ISO200

Alfredo Mora Photography Utah-6.jpg

Sony a7RII + FE 100-400 GM, 297mm, f11, 1/800 sec, ISO400

Alfredo Mora Photography Utah-7.jpg

Sony a7RII + FE 55 ZA, 55mm, f10, 1/800 sec, ISO400

Alfredo Mora Photography Utah-5.jpg

Sony a7RII + FE 100-400 GM, 132mm, f11, 1/250 sec, ISO400


This state park near Canyon Lands was equally impressive and less busy. I was able to secure a camp site for the night. I have some wonderful memories of camping here. Pets are allowed on the trails so we were finally able to explore more on foot. One of the highlights of the trip was hiking with my son. I let him borrow my Sony APSC camera while I had used my main Sony one. He loved shooting the canyon views during our hike. Below is the composition he photographed showcasing the evaporation ponds surrounded by mountains and rock formations.

Alfredo Mora Photography Utah-4.jpg

Sony a6000 + FE 55 ZA, 55mm, f8, 1/400 sec, ISO100

Since I did not have much time to setup my shots, I had to pick out my compositions quickly. This beautiful view shows how deep the canyons are. Photos do not do this place justice with respect to showing the grandness. I included the tourists on the upper right for scale.

Alfredo Mora Photography Utah-3.jpg

Sony a7RII + FE 16-35 GM, 17mm, f11, 1/320 sec, ISO100


I will be sharing the rest of my Utah trip in a future article. I hope you enjoyed reading about my experiences exploring Utah during my family road trip.

If you have any questions, please let me know and thanks in advance for your support.

My Links:
Website: https://alfredomora.net
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alfredomoraphotography/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AlfredoMPhoto



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32 comments
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My favourite shot is the one you took with a telephoto! I love the unique perspective it gives. Keep up the great work.

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Thank you Aaron! I love using telephoto for that reason. I haven't used my wide angle lens that much the past 3 months. Appreciate your feedback.

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Utah is my favorite!
And you proved it why...

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Thanks Andy! Utah is amazing. I'm looking forward to exploring more of it.

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Beautiful series and interesting read! Thanks for sharing! It really makes me want to go back there one day..

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Thank you! Happy you liked the article and images. I hope you can return soon.

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America is just so MASSIVE. These landscapes are on a completely different scale to anything in the UK. It sounds like you had an absolutely amazing trip. I particularly like the last photograph, with the weather moving across the sky, and the amazing foreground composition.

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Cath, the American Southwest is just incredible in its grandness. I hope you get to visit it one day. It's truly something to experience. Thank you for the wonderful comment. That last image is also a favorite of mine with its sweeping foreground.

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I honestly wanted to pick a picture that I liked the most but honestly they are all amazing.
Cheers!

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Amazing scenery. I really like the winding river shot and the last one! They're all good but those really stood out to me 😁

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Many thanks Kieran! Yes those two are my favorites as well.

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Fantastic photos! We were in Utah back in November. Arches was incredible.

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Thank you! I wish we had a chance to explore more of Arches on foot on the trails but driving through the park was still great. I think my favorite though was Canyonlands.

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Stunning photographs, hope to go to the US someday this year. And explore the different landscapes it has to offer. Looking forward to more of your Utah trip 😊

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I would love to spend some serious time in Utah. So many epic landscapes there.

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Thanks Robert. I only scratched the surface there. So much potential and lots to explore.

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Some beautiful shots. I live in Arizona and have been wanting to go to that part of Utah for some time now, I will now be putting more effort into making that happen after seeing these shots. The snow-capped peaks in contrast to the dry red rock canyons is amazing.

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Thank you sir. I am happy my images provided some inspiration for you to visit this beautiful part of our country. Much appreciated!

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Fabulous scenery a place normally photographed when dry I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the water and deepness of colour in rocks, even water flowing makes a big change to arid region.

Your son has inherited a good eye for capturing a view, lovely photograph! Ladnscape vistas before you told in and energetic way, thanks for sharing your breakaway.

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Thank you Joan! Water in the desert region is definitely a blessing. Just good timing on my part. And thank you for mentioning my son's image. Hopefully he continues to practice. I would love it if he worked for Nat Geo one day.

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Most enjoyable seeing small pools of water beneath the giant rocks something I don't think I have seen previously, snow and sun. Hopefully your son does continue to enjoy photography, let him know it is appreciated here in South Africa.

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OMG! It looks like another planet, incredible landscapes! I'm curious to see the van and your doggies! Hahaha
Congrats for the great shots!

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Thanks so much Ela! I may share an image of the van in Part 2 and maybe my puppies too. Thanks again!

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My goodness. I mean, I've seen the canyons in movies and geography books, but not like this. You did a phenomenal job of capturing their utter grandeur. Absolutely magnificent!

I hope to spot some photos of the Duschhunds! I adore those naughtly little sausages! Such lovely characters. I knew one who made it to 19 years old!

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A huge thank you Claire! Truly appreciate it.

We love our mini dachshunds! They are such awesome travel companions. Oh wow, 19 years! That is amazing. I will see about sharing some images of our Jack and Jilli.

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