Sept 2019 (Paul Petroll)
Thank you for a great tour! I remember when you first posted the info
about this trip, it seemed so intriguing. I am so glad I decided do
it! Everything we saw was so unique it's hard to compare one to
another, but each area was worth getting to (even if it was a little
challenging). I found myself having a greater appreciation for nature
and the outdoors- it was nice to get away from everything and hear only
the sound of the wind blowing. Also I appreciate all your photo tips
and suggestions and getting us to the locations at the best time of day
to get the ideal shots. I have started going through the photos on my
computer. There are a lot to sort through!
I had a blast on the inaugural Magical Lands tour- and if you have
anyone that is considering it in the future, I would be happy to share
my experience and give a recommendation.
I've kept coming back on the Desert Thunder trips for a number of years and they never disappoint
Tim Marshall (March, 2016)
"I had a great time touring various slot canyons. Your experience in being there at the right time of day was quite beneficial from a photography perspective. Even the motel accommodations were great. I hope to return on another tour.”
Pat Maccariella-Hafey Myrtle Beach, SC - April, 2014:
I absolutely LOVE SE Utah/NE AZ and I was thrilled to attend Roger Hill’s Spring Slot Canyon Tour March-April 2014. I had been to Upper Antelope canyon on my own but nothing compares to having Roger take you to many of the beautiful slot canyons and geological formations in Utah/AZ. Roger knew exactly where to go, when the light was best for photography, and gave us composition tips. I am a long-term hobbyist/amateur photographer and I found his photography suggestions and tips extremely valuable. Roger knows these canyons very well. He also spent some time with us on post processing suggestions, which I loved, because that is another area I am still improving upon. One of my favorite parts was the night photography and light painting we did in Devil’s Garden. I had never done this before and Roger helped us with camera settings and then light painted hoodoos for us against a starry sky with the Milky Way! We also captured a surprise shot on the way to Page of a red rock butte in the background, blue sky with interesting clouds and freshly fallen snow against the red rock formation. Somebody already wants one of my prints of that! In addition, my photos of the House on Fire Ruin turned out terrific! Each day was a totally AWESOME experience. Roger is a fabulous host/mentor/guide. He did all the driving and arranging, and we just relaxed and enjoyed the week. The camaraderie with the other tour members was a lot of fun too. I plan to attend another one of his tours next year on my vacation. If you have been thinking about a photo tour in the Southwest then a Southwest Photography Tours photography tour is the one to go on, both for professional and hobbyist alike.
Mike Pare, Denver, CO - October 2013
So I just spent an AMAZING week out with Roger Hill hiking several slot canyons in Utah and Arizona. I had a fantastic time!! The scenery both in the slot canyons, and the surrounding deserts, mountains, mesas, really gave me a new perspective – and many of the places we visited were perhaps the most remote places I’d ever been to. Roger knows the area very well and always offered bits of history, insight, background information, and interesting tidbits for many of the locations that we drove by or visited. Although our focus was on hiking to/in/around slot canyons, we did have time to visit several other VERY interesting non-slot canyon geological formations. We also sampled some really fantastic local cuisine in the small towns along the way!
Deb Hill, United Kingdom - April, 2013:
As a long-time participant on the Desert Thunder tour, I can guarantee that a trip with Southwest Photography Tours is an absolute must for anyone obsessed with lightning ! The desert monsoons in August produce some of the most spectacular long forks of lightning, and I frequently call it "lightning photography for dummies” – it really is that easy for anyone to get great shots ! Plus some of the other sights that I’ve seen on these trips with Roger & Caryn are truly amazing – haboobs that envelop mountain ranges, flash floods that turn dry gullies to raging torrents within minutes, the skies turning a glorious pink colour over a backdrop of cactus-filled fields at sunset. All of this occurs within a relatively easy drive from your base hotel – very welcome for those who appreciate a more leisurely approach to their storm chasing ! And all with the added bonus of sharing the experience with a group of like-minded individuals, many of whom have become very good friends. I also tagged-on the High Desert Thunder tour in 2012, which is the perfect tour if you prefer cooler temperatures than the desert – Roger & Caryn have identified some beautiful canyon vistas on this tour, and there is certainly nothing more spectacular for the storm junkie than views of Sedona and the Grand Canyon with a thunderstorm rolling in over them ! Roll on August 2013 ……
Lewis D. Surrey San Diego, CA - Oct, 2012:
"As a long time very satisfied customer with Silver Lining Tours, I felt that Southwest Photography Tours would be a worthy and rewarding trip. I am a professional photographer who specializes in weather but thought that Southwest Photography Tours offered tours that would broaden my skills and my outlook. And Roger, Caryn and Silver Lining have taken me on so many amazing adventures I know I could trust them to further extend my enjoyment and creativity. Turns out my instincts were correct.
Roger and Caryn put together several distinct and varied trips to choose from this past fall, some featuring monsoon storms/landscapes, slot canyons, others featuring fall colors or night photography. I chose the Colorful Colorado/Utah Canyonlands tour. Roger and Caryn went to the trouble of going out to some of the locations we were to be taken to ahead of our trip and surveyed the scenes for us, making sure that there would still be fall colors or that snow had not fallen already and roads were closed. We toured in a comfortable van and went up primitive switchback roads on mountains, or the ridiculous road inside Monument Valley, but rest assured all the bumps we endured were worth it once we got to our destination. We were taken to extraordinary (and unknown to me) waterfalls and streams, to the darkest place in the state of Utah for night sky photography, introduced to the art of "light painting” a photograph, stayed inside national parks until late at night, and picked up many hints and ideas about lenses, filters, apps, and cameras.
I came away from my SW tour struck by the incredible beauty and spectacle of the American West, still much of it untapped and waiting to be discovered. We were given the opportunity to ask that the van pull over when something interesting was spotted, and I got many fantastic photos that way. The tour was a mix of their schedule and our requests. We adapted and remained flexible about where we would go (due to weather) and came away from this trip more confident about my photo skills. I would do another one of these trip again. I feel Southwest Photography Tours are a great compliment to my regular photo regime. I trust Roger and Caryn to take me to the weather during storm season with Silver Lining Tours, and to take me beautifully memorable and photogenic locations in the fall with Southwestern Photography tours.”
Chris Clark Birmingham, MI - Sept 2012:
I took the Slot Canyon trip with Roger in the fall of 2012. In short it was amazing. The beauty of the canyons is incredible. Anyone can drive you to beautiful areas but Roger makes it special by always putting out the extra effort to make sure we maximized every opportunity and saw things that you would never see on a mass market tour. The best day was when we drove almost 3 hours on dirt roads and two track just to get to the trail head in the Robbers Roost area. This drive was followed to a short hike to the entrance of a canyon that is absolutely untouched by tourism. We had what is in my opinion the most beautiful canyon all to ourselves, this allowed us to explore and photograph without interruption, truly a special opportunity. This trip is definitely a once in a life time opportunity and I am glad I had Roger as my guide. Rogers’s love of his work really comes through; he is knowledgeable, professional and personable, just a great guy to travel with! Thanks for the great experience!
Cathy Murphy Arvada, CO - March, 2012
I love the Desert Thunder Tour based in Tucson, and go on it every year.
August in Tucson does not sound pleasant, but the desert storms that we encounter cool down the temperatures. We are treated to great desert scenery, afternoon monsoon thunderstorms, amazing dust storms, flash floods and best of all—lightning, both daytime and nighttime lightning.
We travel in a large van, usually departing late morning, and may not return until well after dark if there is a night lightning show. The van is equipped with weather radar feeds and GPS. Roger is very successful in getting the tour to storms, without getting into dangerous situations. We are seated two people to a row, making for comfortable travel and good views.
While I like the satisfaction of catching lightning photos, you don’t even have to have a camera to enjoy the tour. It is for every level of interest. If you are new to photography, you will find plenty of advice, both from Roger and Caryn, as well as many of the tour guests. But do plan and having a fun week.