The Southwest

| by Evan Nowak |

Sometimes last minute planned trips make for the best adventures, and this one was no different. My friend Dave and I decided to take a week long roadtrip to the Southwest to cram as many National Parks as we could into a weeks span, and managed to hit 5.

Our goal was to get some Milky Way photos, and to just road trip as cheaply as possible.

The best part about trips like this isn’t always the destination. Sometimes, it’s the people you meet and the stories you make. Zion emphasized this for us, as we met some great people while we shot our first Milky Way of the trip.

The next day, I attempted to get over my fear of heights with a quick stop at Observation Point. Needless to say, I’m still afraid of heights!

Bryce Canyon National Park was our second NP of the trip

The colors and landscapes at Bryce NP are one of a kind. It feels like you’re visiting an alien world.

Our next stop was Arches NP. We waited until midnight to snag some Milky Way photos, and got to hang out with some new friends as well.

Although everyone comes for the Arches, the sweeping landscapes aren’t bad either!

The next day, we drove through Canyon Lands. We made a quick pit stop at the Mesa Arch, and just took in our surroundings. Sometimes it’s nice to just put the camera gear down and enjoy the views

The Arch doesn’t look like much at first, but the view below is absolutely incredible.

Exhausted from the long hours driving and late nights shooting, we decided to crash for the night right outside Monument Valley, where we would shoot sunrise.

The rock formations lit up purple and red that morning

Later that day, we went on a tour of Lower Antelope Canyon. The Navajo people guide the tours, and have so many incredible stories to tell.

Our last day of the trip was filled with firsts. I got to try In-N-Out for the first time (and then a second time that same night; it’s that good!) Then we drove into Death Valley for the first time for our last Milky Way shot of the week.

I’ve been home for less than a week and I’m already craving In-N-Out!

We ended everything with an amazing starry night sky light show, courtesy of Death Valley and the amazing universe we live in

Oh yeah, and the sunset on my flight home wasn’t too bad either!

Shout out to Dave for helping plan the trip and making it even more epic!

If you liked this story, check out my page @EvanNowak and my photography work on my website I can’t wait to share the next #epixtrip with you all!

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  • simone_wit

    Beautiful story! The night shots are fabulous. 😍

  • EvanNowak

    @simone_wit thanks so much! They’re a pain to do, but worth in the end :)

  • jordanfoy

    Dude, this is special!

  • EvanNowak

    @jordanfoy thanks Jordan! I honestly couldn’t recommend a trip to the Southwest more to people who haven’t been. It changed my perspective on the US entirely. I can’t wait to go back and capture more now!

  • kerrieturcic

    Great shots! Love the arch with the Milky Way behind it. (PS: I miss In-N-Out, too.)

  • EvanNowak

    @kerrieturcic thanks so much! I think that may be my favorite shot I got from the trip! And yes!! I need one out on the east coast 😭

  • downhillspecial


  • EvanNowak

    @levelapt the images are a composite, yes. Foreground was shot at blue hour, and then the sky shot later that night when the stars came out. Stacked and blended in photoshop!

  • leehorbachewski

    This is FANFREAKINTASTIC! You hit all the spots I’d love to go. Gorgeous Milky Way captures. WOW!!!

  • EvanNowak

    @leehorbachewski thank you so much!! You need to go, I could easily have spent a month at each place. So much beauty! I’m so glad you liked the images :)

  • rarafida

    What a great shots! I’ve been dreaming to see milky ways like those and to visit antelope canyon😭

  • EvanNowak

    @rarafida go do it!! You owe it to yourself to see both :)

  • jdmiller83

    Beautiful! Particularly enjoyed the Milky Way shots. Well captured!

  • EvanNowak

    Thanks @jdmiller83 ! Those are probably my favorite part as well. There’s just something magical about seeing all those stars! More people need to experience it

  • richardbangs

    were any of these designated as International Dark Sky Places International Dark Sky Places International Dark Sky Places?

  • EvanNowak

    @richardbangs yes, Death Valley is!

  • xoxoJ

    Phenomenal milky way shots! Your awesome 👍🏼

  • EvanNowak

    @xoxoJ thank you so much :)

  • fristhapratiwi

    What an amazing shoot! I realy love the stary night sky and lower antelope canyon photos. Btw, where did you sleep at night? Did you build up the tent or there are any lodging? I always dream to sleep under the beautiful milky way view

  • EvanNowak

    @fristhapratiwi thank you! We spent a lot of the time just sleeping in the car believe it or not lol we did stay in some cheap hotels as well though.


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