We could not hope to add anything of importance to the scientific and topographic knowledge of the canyons already existing: and merely to come out alive at the other end did not make a strong appeal to our vanity. We were there as scenic photographers in love with their work, and determined to reproduce the marvels of the Colorado’s canyons, as far as we could do it.

In addition to three film cameras we had 8 x 10 and 5 x 7 plate cameras; a plentiful supply of plates and films; a large cloth dark-room; and whatever chemicals we should need for tests. Most important of all, we had brought a motion picture camera. We had no real assurance that so delicate an apparatus, always difficult to use and regulate, could even survive the journey–much less, in such inexperienced hands as ours, reproduce its wonders. But this, nevertheless, was our secret hope, hardly admitted to our most intimate friends–that we could bring out a record of the Colorado as it is, a live thing, armed as it were with teeth, ready to crush and devour.

It was suggested… that we might secure the help of some one of the voyagers who had been members of one of the previous expeditions. But–we may as well be frank about it–we did not wish to be piloted through the Colorado by a guide. We wanted to make our own trip in our own way. If we failed, we would have no one but ourselves to blame; if we succeeded, we would have all the satisfaction that comes from original, personal exploration.

Ellsworth Kolb
Through the Grand Canyon from Wyoming to Mexico