There are a relatively limited number of traditional (i.e., printed) photography guides. For many years Laurent Martres’ guides to the Southwest have been the most popular general guidebooks. Anyone planning a photo trip to the Southwest would be well-served by his books.
However, there are two other resources that I want to bring to photographers’ attention, both written by photographer Cheyenne L Rouse. Cheyenne is one of the best-known photographers in the Southwest and she knows the area intimately from her own work and from the tours and workshops she conducts. She has distilled some of her favorite locations in New Mexico and Utah into two e-books available only from her web site.
I have used both guides and have frequently consulted them before trips to the Four Corners area. If a PDF could be dog-eared, mine would be well-worn.
Martres’ books are very useful; however they tend to offer very brief descriptions of many sites. It can be difficult to know whether a lesser-known location is really worth the time and trouble.
In contrast, Cheyenne’s guides focus on a small number of locations, with a much more detailed narrative. In addition to GPS coordinates, her first-person descriptions tell you why you should go to a particular location and provides a much richer sense what you will see when you get there. It’s like having a real tour guide talking to you and encouraging you to visit, not just to take photographs, but to actually experience the place. She gives advice on shooting and equipment, but her goal is to convince you that these places are worth the time and travel. Furthermore, she helps you appreciate the special qualities of each place and the role they played in the lives of the ancient people of the Southwest
It’s clear when you read these guides that Cheyenne truly loves the Southwest and her guides convey her affection for the twenty locations she describes. At $15 for the pair, there is no reason you shouldn’t buy these and consider a trip to Southern Utah or New Mexico (or ideally, both.) You could easily spend a week in each state, following her guides from place-to-place. I can’t imagine a better way to spend a photo trip.