Photographing at White Tank Mountain Trails in Surprise, Arizona

Photography doesn't always have to be done by a professional in order to make it worthy. In fact, I truly believe that the unplanned, unedited, uninstructed, and most candid shots are the most valuable and memorable types of photos. Professional photography typically surrounds capturing memories on a day filled with preparation.
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outdoor-family-photo-on-white-tanks-mountain-trails-by-surprise-photography-danielle-jacqueline-photographySome photo shoots require you to get your hair and makeup done just right, spend hours coordinating outfits, poses, themes, locations, and so much more!  Instead of immersing yourself in all of this, take a hike! Here, you can capture organic expressions, sensations, smiles, and poses alongside a beautiful Arizona atmosphere.

Some of the best photos come from a natural and unforced presence.  Maybe not all your photos will be framed on a wall worthy, but they’ll be worthy of a reminiscence.

What’s Worth Remembering?

Remember your day and the lasting memories of the things you saw, accomplished, explored, and your excitement along the way! I decided to venture off to the White Tank Mountain Trails down the road in Surprise with my family.

To expand further on the amount of fun you can have, I’m going to share my family’s hiking expedition to the White Tank Mountain Trails in West Phoenix. Not only did we have a blast, but I incorporated Wildlife Photography, Nature Photography, and Nature Landscape Photography for you to share with your circle. Hopefully, this will inspire some of you to create your own “Sunday Fun-day” adventures to share as well!

Our Trek Within The White Tank Mountain Trails..

outdoor-family-photo-on-white-tank-mountain-trails-by-danielle-jacqueline-photography-who-does-surprise-photographyThis beautiful regional park includes almost 30,000 acres of White Tank Mountain trails are throughout the mountain range near Surprise, Arizona.  Since this is close-by our current residential area, we decided to check it out! It was one of those perfect Arizona spring afternoons and a great day for a little nature walk, family time, and some wildlife photography.

I remember as a young child how much I loved to explore outside, and its important that my kiddos do their own exploring. It seems like most kids would rather spend their time in front of a screen and I refuse to let that happen.  After a busy beginning to 2015, my family and I were super-eager to get going outdoors!

It’s hard to choose one of the White Tank Mountain trails..

There are several hiking trails to choose from at the White Tank Park.  We decided to go with the White Tank Mountains Waterfall Trail as this is advertised throughout the entrance and online.  We were excited to see if the waterfall was trickling and the trail wasn’t so difficult for the youngins. There is so much space to explore on this side of town and it’s nearly impossible to hit numerous trails with children involved. Everything seems create excitement for them, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The hiking trail is about a mile in and a mile out.  It’s definitely dirt-packed but easy enough for a two year old to sprint up.  As you can see in the picture above, my son chose a shoulder ride during the beginning of our hike.  Remember, when taking outdoor family pictures, its ok if they’re not always looking at you.  When you keep distance between your family and the camera, they will forget the camera is there and you get more natural behavior along with their expressions.  I can assume my kiddos don’t even notice the camera anymore 🙂

Nature Photography at White Tank Mountain Regional Park

nature-photography-of-petroglyph-on-the-White-Tank-Mountain-Regional-Park-Waterfall-TrailDuring our hike through the White Tank Mountain Trails, we came across a few rocks with petroglyphs.  Hiking is a great way to capture live nature photography – while opening up conversation with your children about our land’s history.  These petroglyphs are said to come from Hohokam Indians who occupied the area during the time period S.D. 500-1100.

Taking time to turn exploration into education might make your children interested in learning more after witnessing it in real-life. It makes it even more enticing when they bring it up in every-day conversations. At least it did for me!

Capturing Arizona Hiking

Don’t forget to stop and click that camera for beautiful desert nature landscape photography.  The trails offer many places to oversee the White Tank Mountains and surrounding areas. Although you’re permitted from exploring too much, due to falling rocks, there are still breath-taking views. We were able to photograph the ever-developing city of Surprise. So pretty..

Wildlife Photography

wild-life-photography-of-a-gila-monster-at-white-tank-park-in-surprise-az-by-surprise-az-photographer-Danielle-Jacqueline-photographyAs we continued on the trail, we were lucky enough to come across this guy.  Seeing this Gila Monster basking in the sun on a rock just to the side of the trail gave me a great opportunity to capture real wildlife photography. I’ve lived in Arizona most of my life and this is the first time I came across one of these interesting fellas.

We all get a chance to take pictures of animals at the zoo, but real wildlife is so much more fascinating.  The White Tank Mountain trails are home to many wild life species.  You may encounter mule deer, coyotes, javelina, several small rodents, birds (such as roadrunners and the state bird cactus wren), reptiles, and even mountain lions – if you’re lucky – or unlucky, I guess..

Although we didn’t see any large animals, we did come across 3 gila monsters, and a rattle snake.  Since I am terrified of snakes I passed on the opportunity to take a picture. My husband and son went back to look for it but they couldn’t find it. Unfortunately, they didn’t believe I saw the snake, so I hope you can use your imagination. By the way, watch your step! I will stick to photographing snakes at the zoo.  Discussing wildlife photography and the different species in the desert is another way to educate your children’s sub-conscious.

The White Tank Mountains Waterfall Looked Thirsty


The White Tank Mountain’s waterfall trail gets it’s obvious name from the waterfall at the end of the trail.  The best time to go and expect to see the waterfall is only after a heavy rain.  When we went, the waterfall wasn’t flowing – but it still had a deep pool of water that was left from the rain we received days before.  My children were eager to bare their feet and get them wet in the spring water.

The reservoir was pretty chilly, so not many people soaked in it – as we found it to be a very popular place.  My oldest climbed a cliff to a plateau where she found a smaller pool.  Oh, how I wish I was a child again..


Apparently, my son wasn’t satisfied with simply getting his feet wet! Even though there seemed to be hundreds of tiny flies everywhere, he had a great time playing in the soggy dirt.  I also got a chance to talk to my girls about the ‘Fools Gold’ floating in the water.  Or was it real gold?? All I know is it was a great time for photography in nature on this beautiful Arizona afternoon.

Planning on doing some White Tanks hiking of your own?


Hiking in the White Tank Mountains varies from beginner to extremely difficult.  With the children in-tow as aforementioned, we chose one of the easier trails, but there is plenty more to explore.  Since it was so easy, we decided to amp it up on the way down and travel down the wash. This gave the girls a little more to do along with an expanded perception.

This was a great time to check their skill level and an even better way for me to capture organic hiking photos for our personal family album.  I love the way the picture above turned out.  What a great way to capture the bond between father and daughter. Especially right before father’s day!


Daddy leading the way as they go out and explore.  Good for the mind, body, and soul.  Great for my photography! These are some of the action photos I was talking about. You can take away quite a bit from a photograph like this one!


He can’t let his sisters have all the fun!

With mommy behind him, he was happy to show off what he could do!  We did this more than once, and he’s definitely becoming more of a natural hiker.

A hike is only one way to enjoy your family..

I truly enjoyed this day with my family.  We got plenty of exercise, education, and memories that will last a lifetime in my opinion. Taking time to get away from society with your family can be a great way to exhale and refresh yourself. Hopefully, you will interact and share with me some of your family experiences. I’m always looking for new ways to capture smiles, styles and everything worthwhile.

Choose the White Tank Mountain Trails the next time your looking for things to do in Surprise, Arizona. This is something you can do with friends or extended family almost any time of the year.  Either way, it’s perfect for simple Arizona hiking, nature landscape, and Phoenix wildlife photography.  It’s even better for simple and free outdoor family photos in Surprise.

Not Interested in Taking Your Own Pictures?

Although cell phones are equipped with technology that allows you to capture life’s finest moments with satisfactory quality, I still understand that some people value utilizing a professional. I love meeting new families and capturing their lifestyles from behind my lens. If you’re currently shopping for a photographer, I’d love to prepare a unique photo shoot for you and yours!