On Assignment Projects
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The deserts of America’s Southwest showcase geology at its most extreme. Witness these wild and dramatic landscapes in four national parks: Zion, Grand Canyon, Arches, and Canyonlands. Hike at the base of towering cliff faces, rappel through rushing waterfalls, and embark on a rafting journey down the San Juan River, taking in the region’s breathtaking scenery from every angle. Through your On Assignment project, document these sights in a photo-essay, or capture the action in a short adventure film as you explore during the centennial anniversary of the National Park Service.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Meet your group for an orientation in Las Vegas, and then begin your expedition at the iconic Hoover Dam. Get a firsthand look at the impact the dam has had on its surroundings, and use your camera to convey the sheer size and magnitude of this engineering feat. Then travel to Lake Mead and cool off with a swim as we learn about environmental issues related to water use in the desert.
Zion National Park, Utah
Settle into our cabins on the grounds of a 4,000-acre ranch, located just outside Zion National Park. With its dramatic geological features and fiery hues of sandstone, Zion is the perfect place for budding photographers and filmmakers to experiment with texture, color, and light. Frame massive rock formations aglow in shades of orange and red while watching spectacular sunrises and sunsets; capture the curves of slot canyons on hiking excursions along the base of 2,000-foot cliffs; or film your friends while on a canyoneering adventure, shooting footage as you scramble across and rappel down rocky terrain and rushing waterfalls.
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Named one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, the Grand Canyon is a mile-deep chasm that has been carved by the forces of nature over millions of years. Settle into cabins near the edge of the North Rim, and set out to discover this geological marvel and its surrounding landscapes. Photograph endemic wildlife on hikes through alpine forests and arid desert, and experiment with time-lapse images while documenting a sunset over the Painted Desert.
San Juan River Rafting
Make camp on the banks of the San Juan River, then embark on a two-day river rafting adventure, conquering rushing rapids and exploring hidden canyons. Examine Native American carvings and petroglyphs on surrounding canyon walls, and try to decipher the meanings of these ancient symbols. Back at our campsite, swim in the river, cook over a campfire, and gaze up at the stars.
The American Southwest is truly a national treasure, home to the most surreal and beautiful landscapes in the country. Some of my best adventures have taken place here!
Sitting at the crossroads of Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, Moab welcomes adventurers looking for thrills among Utah’s red rock country. Spend a full day mountain biking across some of the best singletrack in the area, learning skills to navigate the vistas and valleys of these incredible landscapes and capturing all of the action in photos or videos. Interview a park ranger about the rise of adventure-sports travel in the region, and find out what the National Park Service is doing to protect these habitats.
Salt Lake City, Utah
Spend the final day of your expedition exploring Salt Lake City, visiting the Great Salt Lake and Temple Square. Present your final On Assignment project to the group before returning home.
In Zion and Grand Canyon, we stay in small cabins, and in Moab, we stay in a family-run guesthouse. During the rafting expedition, we camp in tents on the banks of the San Juan River.