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Exploring the Southwest with the Canon RF 14-35mm Lens

Sunstar & Rocks

On location in Arizona and Utah with the Canon RF 14-35mm Lens, we experienced an adventure in landscape photography made to match all of its capabilities. Canon’s latest RF is a 35mm ultra-wide-angle zoom lens, which we found to be the perfect complement to the EOS R series mirrorless cameras.  

We were eager to get the new RF 14-35mm out on an adventure to experience all the capabilities of this full-range lens. Jumping on board with Samy’s Photo School’s Director of Education, Roui Israel, and Canon project educator, Jeff Leimbach, we began our quest to seek out and capture some of America’s most exceptional landscapes.

Finding art in the Desert

Motel Photo with Krishna: F9; 1/250 sec; ISO 100; 18mm

We began our adventure on Route 89 on our way to Page, Arizona. We were delighted to find the visually enticing Gray Mountain Whitings Brothers Motel —abandoned since 2005, it has recently become a part of the ongoing Painted Desert Project. This project, initiated in 2012 by Chip Thomas, a local photographer, and an artist in the Navajo community, has brought together prominent street artists to help share the history of the Navajo people through art on abandoned desert locations.

It was the perfect location to begin shooting with the RF lens. Shooting with the 16-18mm, Roui and Jeff showcased the amplified space between a person standing on top of the motel and all of the colorful murals beneath.

Motel Photo: F 7.1; 1/320 sec; ISO 100; 16mm

Starry skies & Cliff Dwellers

Astro photo: F4; 30seconds; ISO 4000; 14mm

We stopped to scout Cliff Dwellers within the Mesa Verde National Park as we approached Page. I took advantage of the stopover to observe the notable dwellings inhabited sometime in the late 1190s. Into the 1270s, they remained occupied until the Ancestral Pueblo community began to migrate into present-day Arizona and New Mexico. Locals shared with us to come back later in the evening to observe the rumored epic skies for shooting Astro Photography.

We were not disappointed! Later in the evening, we made our way back after the sun had fallen and the skies were dark. The Mesa Verde Park is considered one of the last remaining parks in the United States with illuminating dark skies. We were not surprised to learn that Mesa Verde had been certified as the world’s 100th International Dark Sky Park earlier this year.

Astro photos: F4; 30seconds; ISO 4000; 14mm

The show we saw above us was the perfect opportunity to focus on a lens perspective of the starry sky, capturing the Milky Way as we zoomed in with the RF lens at 14mm. Canon lenses are some of the best on the market for astrophotography, and the RF lens did not disappoint. It exceeded our expectations, and we captured some incredible images.

Leaving our Hearts in Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon Heart Photo: F4; 1/50sec; ISO 16,000; 27mm

We woke up the following day, looking ahead to what was sure to be another day full of visually compelling photography. Our reservation had been booked weeks in advance for the coveted Upper Antelope Slot Canyon tour. We arrived, cameras and lenses in tow, ready to tour what many consider the most famous slot canyon in the world.

Peak a Boo slot canyon wall: F6.3; 1/125 sec; ISO 1600; 14mm

Having toured the lower canyon on past adventures, the upper was just as impressively breathtaking. Shooting with a 14-35mm wide-angle lens, we captured a range of easily maintained images with minimal shakiness, thanks to the RF’s 5.5 built-in shake correction. The afternoon light shone through, helping create beautiful, photographic images throughout the canyon. We were encouraged to find a heart-shaped nestled amongst the canyons walls that enabled us to zoom 27mm for optimal viewing.

Crossing over to Utah

Early rising on our last day, we crossed over the state line into Kanab, Utah, for a day of touring more slot canyons, sand dunes, and everything the quaint western town had to offer. Surrounding Kanab, there are many adventure opportunities for the photographic thrill-seekers to encounter. We began our day with a morning hike through the warm sun-filled Peek-A-Boo slot canyon. Both Roui and Jeff were able to get creative with the different sun-lit angles found throughout the canyon with the RF lens – it proved once again to be capable of optimizing high-quality images with minimal ghosting.  

It was then time for some off-roading adventure to find the sought-after visual White Wave, also known as White Pocket. Not for the faint of heart, it was a 30-minute drive on rough, dirt, rock back roads to find the White Wave. As we approached the white wave formations, we were overwhelmed by the serene beauty of the rocks, incredible sweeping views, and blooming desert cacti. Although not as well known as The Wave, it was equally spectacular and easier to visit without the necessary permits.

Sand for Miles

After stopping for a picnic lunch, we ventured to the nearby Coral Pink Sand Dunes. Notoriously known for ATV off-roading and Sand Boarding enthusiasts, it was a must-see for our photographers to capture the ultimate landscape shots. We were overwhelmed by the visually appealing vast mountains and hills filled with red sand as we approached.  

Roui & Krishna jumping pink sand dunes: F6.3; 1/500; ISO 100; 35mm

Both Roui and Jeff were thrilled to experience shooting the dunes with the RF wide-angle lens, as it gave them the ability to showcase all the crazy lines around them. The images captured in 35mm featured an exaggerated perspective of the dunes around us and all the surrounding landscape colors. An interesting fact I learned was that the oncoming winds are constantly shifting these dunes — the sand will move as much as 50 feet per year. Knowing this, when we plan to venture back in 2022, we will hopefully be fortunate enough to capture the sand movement of the ever-changing landscape at Coral Park.

Homeward Bound

As we all know, all great adventures must come to an end, and being given the opportunity to experience the capabilities of Canon’s RF 14-35mm lens was worth the journey. The RF 14-35mm is an exemplary ultra-wide-angle lens that complements all of Canon’s EOS-R series of mirrorless cameras, highly capable of shooting top-quality creative photos and covering all of your wide-angle options. As we contemplate our next creative adventure, we will be sure to pack the Canon RF lens and continue to appreciate all the different landscapes we captured.

About Author

Krishna Jaret is an experienced freelance content creator and copywriter from Malibu, CA. Driven by a passion for travel, photography, and adventure, she specializes in photographic lifestyle journalism. As a content creator, she looks to share her knowledge of optimal photographic locations throughout the world with readers. Krishna takes pride in writing blogs that inspire others to explore their photographic creativity and seek out new adventures. Five years ago, she made a commitment to herself to seek out 4 new travel adventures each year for herself and share them with others. She has managed to visit eight countries and 12 states since 2017. Continuing to seek out new places to explore, photograph, and share with others is her mission. Krishna can be found at krishnajaret@gmail.com or on Instagram @krishnajaret.

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