Part 2: A Photographic Journey through the Grand Canyon

If you’ve already been following my Grand Canyon excursion… welcome back! But if you’re like me and busy as all get up, check out Part 1 before 2 (thanks, Capt. Obvious).
If you’ve just now tuned in, here’s the skinny:

  • I wanted to photograph the Grand Canyon for a “few” days.
  • I let Kendrick plan the trip, so it turned into an 85-mile, 13 day backpacking trip on the trails less taken across the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Whoa!
  • I’ve already released the Blog and Video for Part 1 with lots of info!

Now for Part 2! We covered a lot of miles in this episode. In addition to the beautiful scenery, I tried to include some practical backpacking tips of day to day hiking. Thanks to the wonderful invention of video editing I’m able to keep the video moving pretty quickly – so if you want more details on any of the items I mention, just keep reading and I’ll include links!

Vlog #28: A Photographic Journey through the Grand Canyon: Part 2



If there’s one thing you’ve probably noticed about me by now – it’s that I love to document everything. Yes, this often irritates the people around me, but in the end they are always thanking me for preserving our memories.

Unfortunately between my camera, phone, fitness watch and satellite communicator, I am constantly needing power. Times that by two (Kendrick is just as bad as me) and now it’s serious! If you won’t have power and can’t carry enough batteries, your only solution is solar.

My kit of choice is the Goal Zero Sherpa 100 with the Nomad 20 panel. This battery and panel are on the larger/heavier side when it comes to backpacking, but necessary because of my extensive charging needs. If you’re only charging small devices such as your phone, you could get by with a much smaller option like the Flip 10.


Whether you’re going on a short or long hike, a headlamp is a must. You never know when you might be stuck hiking before or after dark. There are a lot of options out there but one feature I look for is a light with both a white and red setting. If you’re going to be out shooting photos at night, the red setting will help preserve your night vision. Another spec you’ll want to pay attention to is battery life – some headlamps only last a couple of hours which may not last your entire trip.

620633_OCTN_Storm_Headlamp_QuadPower_webSome headlamps are USB rechargeable while others take batteries, and they can vary quite a bit in price. Your best option will depend on your usage. Our choice for this trip was the Black Diamond Storm. Between the battery life, lumen output, and price point – it’s a great choice.

daf68149-c91f-4451-8913-6a2e6cc9b431Sometimes I think my mom is crazy – like when she gives me impulse Christmas gifts… inflatable lights, mom? Really? Well, she was right. This little guy was such an easy and useful light to hike with. Charge it up on your pack while you hike – and hang it in your tent for light all night!


When it comes to backcountry camping I never sacrifice comfort for weight. It IS possible to get gear that is both lightweight AND comfortable! Yes, it’s a little more expensive, but these pieces of gear will make your life in the backcountry significantly more enjoyable…

You’ll want to choose a tent that is light, packs down to a relatively small size, and is easy to setup/take down. We used the NEMO Hornet 2P tent. This tent packs down small enough to fit in the external side pockets of most backpacks, can be setup/taken down in just a few minutes, and weighs less than 2.5 pounds!!!

GCphoneshot-89It’s hard to beat a nice, comfortable sleeping surface at the end of a hard day of hiking. I use an inflatable, four-season sleeping pad. Four-season pads offer more insulation between you and the ground, which helps keep you warm on those colder nights. A great inflatable sleeping pad can weigh as little as one pound and pack down to the size of a Nalgene bottle! Trust me, you’ll thank yourself for this one.

Now, what good is a comfortable sleeping pad without a cozy sleeping bag? A down sleeping bag rated to 15 degrees (or less) has kept me toasty in everything except true winter camping conditions. If you splurge a little, you can buy a warm bag, that weighs less than 3 lbs., and compresses down to the size of a mini-basketball or smaller!


Each of the following images was featured in the video in the chronological moment they were actually taken.


Stayed tuned for Part 3… after all, we eventually have to climb our way out of this hole.

With support from nüCamp RV | Princess Craft RV3 Legged Thing | Hoodman | Schneider OpticsNikon | Mindshift GearWestcott | Urban Hair | Precision Camera | Bear Claw Carpentry


23 Comments on “Part 2: A Photographic Journey through the Grand Canyon

  1. I’m really loving this adventure and all the tips and photos and videos. Part 3 can’t be the last one!!

    • The last episode for that adventure… but there is always another adventure!

  2. Loving life! Living vicariously through Mandy & Kendrick! Th nks for the adventure.

  3. Can you let us know what camera bag you use. Appears to be amindshift, but not sure which one. And tell us why you like it. Thanks!

  4. What a wonderful accounting of your trip through the Grand Canyon. Happy Birthday Mandy…Thanks

    • Thank you for the birthday wishes! Can’t wait to share the last episode!

  5. I love your videos on your GC journey…fantastic images, great tips and the inspiration to keep going. We met last fall in Townsend at the Photo Summit and I continue to be excited with your blogs. I have move to Ouray, CO and now have the San Juans and SE Utah as my playground. Belated happy birthday. I’m twice your age and with your passion for adventure and photography, and the blessing of a great traveling companion, I can tell you…….it keeps getting better. Thanks for all the sharing. Travel safe.

    • Oh what a wonderful comment! I love to hear from other people sharing my same passion… and living it too! Ouray is one of my most favorite places and I go there almost every summer. You made a great choice to live there!

  6. I love your post and your videos. You and Kendrick are awesome and inspiring. I am not sure I would have continued with those blisters. The photography is beautiful!

    • The main thought that kept me going was regret. I just knew if I bailed and got to the top early I’d never forgive myself.

  7. Finally got to finish watching the second video and I have 2 words…Spectacular and beautiful! Thank you Mandy and Kendrick for sharing your journey.

    • So glad you had time to enjoy it Sherry! One more part to come now!

  8. Thank you so much! I love that people take the time to join us…

  9. Well done. Big, happy birthday hug, Mandy! I’m glad you’re so dang tough and stubborn. And, I’m looking forward to more beautiful photos.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: