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Grand Canyon & Helicopter tips

timwilson 15 181 United Kingdom
13 Aug 2005 6:54AM
Hi all,

I'm off to the states in a few weeks, and am going to drag myself to the grand canyon for hopefully a once in a lifetime experience...

On that note - I'm interested in taking a short helicopter trip to get some otherwise unattainable views & pics.

On that note.. Any tips? Can anyone recommend a good helicopter company? Which areas of the canyon should I go to? Will I be able to get decent pics without an IS lens, or is it a waste of time /money?

Also.. I really want to get some sunrise pics over there. Anyone got any location suggestions?

Finally... Anyone got any suggestions of other places worth a visit? We're intending starting off at LA, going to Arizona, Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe, Redwood Park, Yellowstone park, and then doing the coastal route back past San Fransisco to LA. We've only got 10 days to pack this all in, so any tips of bext / worst places to see would be much appreciated!!

daviewat 17 4.1k Scotland
13 Aug 2005 7:42AM
When in Vegas that is your best bet for heli trips, both Grand Canyon and the strip at night. There are numerous flyers given out for such things and opposite the Harley Cafe on the strip, 5 mins walk from the MGM hotel complex is a heli company that allow you to make your own trip up. Well worth it I did a strip and sunset trip on the Canyon, strip second part of trip lasted for approx 1.5 hours and cost $250.00. Wonderful it was both canyon and strip at night are amazing to see.
As for pics, sometimes best to forget about getting them and just kick back and marvel at the sight, however most companies will land in an area perfect for images if you ask. Night time pics are out however as it impossible without flash and that ruins an image due to reflections from cockpit glass. Ask to be up front as this provides best views all round.

Sunrise pics in Vegas, best bet is up one of the numerous towers that are there, I loved the Eifel tower on the Paris Hotel as it also looked over the amazing fountains of the Belagio hotel, has to be seen to believed and you will also see the volcano eruption from up there !!!!!!!!!!!! Smile

ken j. 17 374
13 Aug 2005 7:43AM
Hoover Dam?
Only about 30 miles out of Vegas - highway 93.
Awesome structure and good photo opportunities.
kaybee Plus
17 7.7k 26 Scotland
13 Aug 2005 8:31AM
Looking for more places?.........your itinery is too full for the time as it is.

timwilson 15 181 United Kingdom
13 Aug 2005 10:08AM

Not so much more places, just recommendations of where to go at each of those places. We have a ton to try and fit in, so any recommendations of places to go will save time spent hunting!!

patters 16 1.8k 1 United Kingdom
13 Aug 2005 10:50AM
my tip, save your money and look at it [] here [/link] (choose satelite view b4 zooming, its brilliant!)
timwilson 15 181 United Kingdom
13 Aug 2005 10:59AM
even better, take a look here:

You can fly around the world, can turn on 3d terrain, sattelite images, 3D building etc etc. Truly amazing!!

philwig 16 817 1
13 Aug 2005 12:48PM
It's quite hard shooting from a heli. Ask about it when you're there. Different helis have different seating configurations and some are more open than others. It's noisy and everything vibrates. It's easier to take shots from an appropriate fixed-wing 'plane in my experience. Unless you take the doors off that is.
timwilson 15 181 United Kingdom
14 Aug 2005 3:32AM
Hmmm. So... doors off or fixed wing... I think I'll just ask about when I've over there and try and get a feel for which will suit me best. To a certain extent, I just wanna have a great experience, and secondly get some great shots. I don't wanna sacrifice the experience just to get a killer shot, so think I'll just suck it and see....

Thanks to eeryone for their advice - it's really appreciated!

colin 16 697 5 Scotland
14 Aug 2005 4:22PM
I'd agree - 10 days plus all that travelling won't leave too much time for seeing all you want. Treat your trip as a taster - and re-visit again. We visited San Francisco & Alcatraz, Vegas, Grand Canyon and Long Beach / LA in 10 days and only scraped the surface.
We took a trip - SUV over Hoover Dam/ through Joshua Forest to the West Rim/ helicopter trip down onto canyon floor and then a boat trip (20mins) up and down the Colorado river. A great experience, but a lot of driving (9 hour trip, so maybe not suitable for you.
Whatever you decide, I'm sure you'll have a ball.
PS I've posted quite a lot from this trip if you fancy having a trawl through my portfolio - clicks optional !!(lol)
timwilson 15 181 United Kingdom
24 Sep 2005 7:38PM
Just an update to tell you how I got on. in 11 days we managed the following:

Palm Springs
Grand Canyon
Death Valley
Las Vegas
Hoover Dam
Lake Tahoe
Virginia City
Napa Valley
San Fran
Morro Bay
Santa Cruz

Needless to say - it was a crazy whistlestop tour, with very little time to stop and relax. Non the less, it was a truly amazing trip - one of the best I have ever taken. I have so many fab photos (in my opinion), which will be working their way into my epz portfolio over the coming weeks. Hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I enjoyed taking them!

Falconer 16 16
26 Sep 2005 1:34PM
I did a flight over the Canyon when I visited. We went up in a plane rather than a helicopter, from the South Rim, I used a Canon A1 with the lens right up to the glass to avoid reflections. I have one shot in my portfolio.

Sunsets are better then sun rise with the angle of the sun (we went in October) but it was still worth being there for sunrise. The main destination at the south rim is a great place with many view points to chose from.

I highly recomend Bryce Canyon if you are in that area!

I hope you have a great time.


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