Shooting Havasupai

Written by Mare Czinar Category: Citizen Hiker (hiking blog) Issue: September 2017
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When it comes to capturing the perfect landscape shot, Phoenix pharmacist and photographer Chirag A. Patel works hard to get to the good stuff.

Chirag Patel in Antelope Canyon. Photo by Chirag A. Patel.
The waterfalls of Havasupai. Photo by Chirag A. Patel.
The waterfalls of Havasupai. Photo by Chirag A. Patel.

Not even driving on washboard roads to a trailhead 68 miles from nowhere can deter him from hauling 25 pounds of camera equipment down a 17-mile trail to photograph the waterfalls of Havasu Canyon in Supai west of the Grand Canyon. With all the preparation and effort involved, Patel selects his destinations carefully. “My biggest concern is making sure the hike is worthwhile, with enough photogenic sights to make some great images. I enjoy hiking Havasu Canyon because it is extremely photogenic along the whole way, with many sights of blue-green creeks, waterfalls, travertine pools, deep canyons, and [the] culture of [the] Havasupai Tribe.” That passion for Arizona’s beauty is what inspired Patel to move to the Valley.

“I was born and raised in Kenya and immigrated to the U.S. when I was 13 years old,” he says. “I went to high school in the Chicago area and pharmacy school in St. Louis. I was brought to New Mexico and Arizona due to my love for the rugged outdoors. I have been hiking and photographing 

Arizona since the late 1990s and finally moved to Phoenix in 2005.” Since then, Patel has been traversing the state with his Canon 5D2 digital SLR camera and 24-105 mm lens making liars out of those who claim, “You had to be there,” to appreciate Arizona’s beauty.

— Mare Czinar



LENGTH: Up to 17 miles one way
RATING: Difficult
ELEVATION: 5200’ – 2800’
GETTING THERE: Reservations are required for all hikers and campers. For directions, regulations and reservations, visit the Havasupai Tribe 

Next month: A Valley hiker and young mother 
offers tips on how to continue nurturing your trail addiction with tyro hikers in tow.



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