Dog Photo Desert Adventure at White Pocket

Picture of a dog running up the Worm next to White Pocket near Vermilion Cliffs National Park

Today on our dog blog I wanted to share some photos we captured during a short last minute trip we took out west visiting the wonderful desert scenes of Arizona and Utah. For this adventure we packed some of our favorite landscape photography camera gear and took off from Baltimore to Las Vegas nonstop, rented a car, drove 3/4 of the way around the Grand Canyon, to arrive at our final destination – Kanab, Utah.

My beautiful wife walking into and improving a photo of the otherwise “meh” Grand Canyon.

Why does Kanab sound familiar?

Kanab is a fairly small remote Utah city just across the Arizona state line. The city is known primarily for two things — rescue pets and amazing views. Which just so happen to be two of our favorite things.

Kanab is home to one rescue animal for every three people

As we mentioned earlier, Kanab is not a large city, with a population of only 4,312 people counted during the 2010 census. But the area is home to over 1,600 rescue animals. Meaning, there are only 3 people for every 1 shelter animal in Kanab.

Why are there so many rescue dogs in Kanab?

Kanab is home of the Best Friends Animal Society, a nonprofit animal welfare organization and animal sanctuary that you may recognize from the National Geographic Channel’s acclaimed TV show Dog Town. The rescue group operates on just shy of 37, 000 acres of land near Zion National Park and is home to over 1,600 rescue animals. Making it one of the biggest (if not the largest) pet sanctuaries in the world.

Once we had our destination settled, I reached out to Best Friends Animal Society and offered my services as a photographer. To my surprise, they refused. Informing us that they already had a full time staff of professional pet photographers at their disposal and that they didn’t need our help. Which when it comes to working with rescues is always a great thing to hear.

This shot was taken in the Valley of Fire, a brisk 10 mile hike from the nearest human outpost and we had to wait nearly 3 hours in the blistering sun for this majestic bird of prey to sore into just the right spot…

I’m kidding of course. This photo was actually taken from inside our air conditioned rental car which was pulled over on the shoulder of the road – maybe a 100m from the Visitor Center. Seriously, the visitor center is literally hidden by this giant rock that looks like an elderly grandma with her hair in a bun. That’s how amazing this region is. As well as it is known for great hiking, anywhere you turn around is another amazing sight or shutter worthy scene.

If not for the rescue dogs, why visit Kanab?

As we mentioned earlier, there’s more to Kanab than just Best Friends Animal Society. Located centrally between Bryce Canyon National Park, Zion National Park, the Valley of Fire, Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument, and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon the area is home to some of the most breathtaking natural wonders and outdoor attractions in the United States. Including White Pocket, Moqui Cave, Peek-a-Boo Slot Canyon, Coral Pink Sandunes, Horseshoe Bend, the Paria Plateau, Vermilion Cliffs, Coyote Buttes, Coyote Gulch, Paria Canyon, Sunset Arch, the Wave, the Toadstool, Lone Tree, the Worm, and countless native petroglyphs – all ranging 3,100 to 6,500 feet above sea level.

Photo gear we brought on our Southwest desert adventure

We’ve had a few inquiries from aspiring photographers wondering what we were working with on our trip. So, as inquiring minds want to know, here’s a quick look at the photo gear in our kit bag…

Landscape photography is fun, but…

As professional pet photographer it should come to no surprise to anyone that landscape photography really isn’t my cup of tea. That is of course, unless they feature a dog. I’ll photograph dog portraits on location all day long. So, shortly before our trip we started calling around local tour guides until we found a company that was dog friendly. Eventually landing on Dreamland Safari Tours, an outdoor adventure company based out of Kanab, Utah, and our tour guide for the weekend, Cait, and her fearless former rez dogs, Kaiba and Chinle. Do yourself a favor and follow her adventures on Instagram.

As it turns out, Kaiba was an absolute madman

Before I continue with the photos, I should take a moment to note that no dogs were harmed in any of these shoots, nor did we ask the dogs to do anything. Both of these dogs have been walking with their caretaker (who is a professional adventure and hiking guide) through these natural desert formations off leash since they were puppies. These dogs are trained professionals. Absolutely, do NOT try what you are about to see at home with your own pups or at these sites.

Kaiba running in front of the world famous Lone Tree at White Pocket.
Only geniuses can find a dog in this photo of a giant rock shaped like a butt. Or, is it pronounced butte?
Kaiba walking past a creepy skeleton rock and salt formation in an area called White Pocket. Captured with the help of a polarizing lens and a 70-200m L zoom lens.
Kaiba taking the lay of the land and some beautiful striatal rock formations near White Pocket.
Kaiba scampering off along the edge of a natural striatal red rock formation called the Worm.
Kaiba on a cliff edge, overlooking the Worm debating whether or not to jump.
Yeah… the dog definitely just went for it. This is a four shot composite of the path Kaiba took down.
Kaiba checking out a shallow pocket cave midway down the cliff.
Overhead photo of Kaiba running up and out of the Worm, through a section called the Bacon.
Taken just second after the over head shot of Kaiba running Bacon, this is him running up and out of the Worm.
Kaiba hanging out with his human friends at the bottom of the Worm (his second trip of the day).
Kaiba and Chinle playing at the bottom of Peek-a-boo Slot Canyon.

Dogs can make even landscape photography fun

We hope you enjoyed our puppy pictures from our adventure excursion to the deserts of Utah and Arizona. If you liked these photos be sure to let us know in the comments below. If we see enough of a response, maybe we’ll post even more travel photos with dogs or even take a trip to take photos of dogs somewhere even more fun!

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