I don’t think many landscape photographers would say that they actually enjoy leaving the comfort of their warm sleeping bag an hour or two before sunrise, especially on a really cold morning. But that’s what you have to do if you want to be at an optimal spot to capture the warm light of the rising sun. I’m almost always tempted to shut off my a alarm, roll over and go back to sleep. When the alarm clock wins and I get myself to an interesting location, it’s so satisfying to stand on a hillside (or in this case, a petrified sand dune) and watch the rising sun slowly caress the scenery before me with its warm glow.
Snow Canyon, Utah
I covered a lot of ground last weekend! From Phoenix to Flagstaff to Tuba City, then to this spot south of Wiliams, AZ. Sycamore Canyon is the second largest canyon in AZ. I drove through some really beautiful forest to get there and passed a lot of holiday campers. When I finally reached the canyon’s rim though, I had it all to myself! I was surprised by how green it was. Just another location that I’m going to have to make a return visit to…
Sunset from an unnamed ruin at Wupatki National Monument. Volcanic cinder cones on the horizon offer clues as to why the people who once inhabited the hundreds of pueblos in this area suddenly disappeared 900 years ago.
After the sun set, I positioned my camera/tripod on the edge of the canyon and put together this composition. I took a few exposures of the canyon in the fading twilight, turned off the camera, and went back to my Jeep for dinner. After dinner and a couple of beverages, I returned to the spot on the canyon’s rim where I had left my camera. By this time, the night sky was filled with millions of stars. I took several 20 – 30 second exposures. This shot is a combination of the canyon exposure at dusk (which I darkened to make more realistic) and the star exposure that I liked best. The light pollution on the horizon is probably either Sedona or Cottonwood. While processing the shot I counted six shooting stars (in a 30 second exposure).
This seldom visited northern Arizona canyon stretches across some very desolate country. Up top, along the rim, is Navajo land. If you somehow find a way to reach the valley below, you’re on Hopi land. The solitude and sunset that I experienced was well worth the price of the permit required to visit this location. Even though it was a holiday weekend, I had the spot to myself…
I finally had an opportunity to create some new images over the holiday weekend. Wupatki National Monument is a “go to” sunrise location whenever I get a chance to head north for a few days, and the Wukoki Pueblo is probably my favorite site there. I arrived while it was still dark, hoping to take some photos of the Milky Way over the ruins. Storm clouds above canceled that plan, so I spent some time wandering around the site while I waited for the sun to rise. When it finally began to get light, the sky turned an eerie shade of orange and the landscape took on a soft, warm glow. I’ve been to this spot many times over the past 10 years, but these were the most interesting conditions I’d ever seen there.
Several of my favorite photos are currently on display at
2603 N Central Ave
Phoenix, AZ 85004.
Great food and nice people who have excellent taste in nature photography!