Story & photos by Jerry Ginsberg
In only one place in all of America do four states come together. The perfect right-angled corners of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah meet at one spot in the desert of the great Southwest. That spot has become quite a tourist attraction. Here you’ll find a platform from which to take snapshots of fellow tourists straddling the many state lines, the local Navajo offer souvenirs, crafts and lots of artery clogging fry bread and Navajo tacos.
A circular itinerary through the Four Corners region has long been called the Grand Circle. It’s one big loop. Since such a trip can be very extensive, you might want to break it up into bite sized chunks of more than one photo trip.
We can design a logical itinerary in any of several ways. For example, by state, by proximity or simply by highlights, while including some places and skipping others.
Your route can work equally well traveling either clockwise or counter-clockwise. Since I seem to have almost always done it in a clockwise direction, I’ll describe it that way.
Setting out from the prime gateway airport of Las Vegas, head north up I-15 towardZion National Park在犹他州的西南角。
It’s an easy matter to loop across Utah from west to east through Zion and tinyBryce Canyon国家公园蔓延Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monumentlong and narrowCapitol Reef National Park(NANPA – June, 2016) and on toMoab，，，，gateway to both stunning Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. Right next to the must-see Island in the Sky section of Canyonlands National Park is Dead Horse Point State Park, definitely worth both a sunrise and evening.
在摩押以南，您会发现天然桥梁国家纪念碑（值得至少两个早晨）和霍文韦普国家纪念碑。从天然桥梁，这是庞大的驱动器Monument Valley Tribal Parkwith its many fantastic red rock formations.
If there is a problem with planning a photo trip such as this, it is one closely related to pesky syndromes such as eating potato chips or pulling weeds in the garden; it’s so hard to stop! There’s always another one – and it’s so close by.
Just past Hovenweep is historic梅萨佛得角国家公园in southwestern Colorado, just a bit past popular Zion is isolated Toroweep Point and the spectacular North Rim of the大峡谷and on and on throughout all four states.
Closest to Denver is落基山国家公园。这个大公园提供许多坚固的山脉，闪闪发光的高山湖泊，匆忙的瀑布和许多野生动植物。彻底覆盖它可能需要几个月的时间，但是经过一周的努力，您应该能够获得许多精彩的图像。
首先，Sprague，Bear，Dream和Emerald Lakes靠近真正整洁的Gateway Town estes Park，都是极好的日出地点。在Estes中，您可以参观古老的斯坦利酒店，这是经典的杰克·尼科尔森电影《闪亮》的现场。
The many mountain vistas of the Morraine Park section of RMNP are stunning, but for real excitement, drive the length of Trail Ridge Road, one of the highest and certainly most spectacular roads in America. The views will look markedly different when driving in both directions.
Not far south of Denver is Colorado Springs featuring the Garden of the Gods with dramatic red rocks and great views of Pike’s Peak.
在圣·路易斯·谷苏接近供应商之一theast part of the state you’ll find Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve. These seven hundred foot tall dunes lie just beneath the rugged Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the serrated Crestone Needles. They are wonderful right at sunrise when the play of light and shadow creates an endless variety of patterns on their sensuously undulating forms. As with all such sand forms, once the sun gets a little higher, the contrasts are lost and the scene becomes rather flat.
Once you walk across the steam bed of Medano Creek, many of the best compositions are to be found toward the left as you face the dunefield. Climbing up through the sand will certainly be your cardio workout for the day.
After driving west from here, pass charming Durango for now (see below) and head for梅萨佛得角国家公园，，，，the very first national park established to protect the works of man, rather than those of nature. Don’t miss touring Wetherill Mesa (road open in summer only). Buy tickets in advance for Cliff Palace, Balcony House and Long House. Cliff Palace photographs best in late afternoon light; the other two in the morning; the first tour of the day is ideal for both.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
Take a few days to explore the many fascinating ancient buildings and communities of the long vanished Chacoan people of Mesa Verde. Then head north to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.
Even though today’s HDR software offers improved alignment functions, I would attempt such a wide bracket only when using a good, solid tripod in order to avoid camera movement.
Most of your shooting along the well paved south rim park road will be from the many overlooks. Make sure to stop at the Painted Wall. A couple of trails start right along the road and descend into the canyon itself.
Park at the little ranger station for the easy walk of a mile or so each way.
In addition to these four great national parks, there are several other locations in the Centennial State that you won’t want to miss. Among these are:
*Colorado National Monumentis on the edge of Grand Junction and right near the Utah state line. Be careful not to include the city lights in your composition. A little fog will help and increase the drama of your images.
*The Maroon Bells: A short drive from Aspen, CO. Be there well before sunrise, find a spot along the edge of the lake and wait for the light to arrive.
*The area aroundRidgewayis chock full of spectacular scenes. Explore some of the many byways and unpaved tracks through the San Juan Mountains. Among these is Last Dollar Road. You will be rewarded with a riot of colors and forms, sometimes blending, sometimes contrasting with each other. The patchwork of quaking aspens covered with blazing fall color is an embarrassment of riches.
To travel many of these remote roads, it’s a good idea to be driving a 4 wheel vehicle with high clearance, especially after a rain when these roads quickly become very sloppy.
This stunning Colorado fourteener is a great mountain to climb and is very popular with peak baggers and highly skilled heli-skiers.
*Crested Butte– Wildflower Capital of Colorado. July is best. Bring lots of insect repellent.
*Durango-Silverton铁路。If you have never enjoyed this fun experience, board the historic steam powered train in Durango for the full day roundtrip to Silverton. Better yet, try to be there during the few days in autumn, generally the third or fourth week of September, when this venerable line offers special photography trips.
It can be glorious!
These special outings are held on just two weekends per year and usually limited to just 70 folks so reserve early.
That pretty much covers the highlights of Utah and Colorado. We haven’t even touched on the best of enchanted New Mexico and spectacular Arizona. Let’s save that for another day.
Each of the tourist friendly towns mentioned offers a wide variety of lodging and dining options. Some of my favorite Mexican food is in Crested Butte.
Jerry Ginsbergis a widely published photographer whose landscape, Nature and travel images have graced the covers pages of hundreds of books, magazines and travel catalogs. He is the only person to have photographed each and every one of America’s National Parks with medium format cameras. He has been awarded Artist Residencies in several National Parks and his works have been exhibited from coast to coast and have received numerous awards in competition. Jerry’s photographic archive spans virtually all of both North and South America.
More of Ginsberg’s images are on display atwww.JerryGinsberg.com
Or e mail him firstname.lastname@example.org