Sedona, while well known for it’s red rock formations and off-road jeep tours, has so much to offer everyone. There are great wineries, spas, hiking trails and even rock sliding for the kids. North of Sedona, is Oak Creek Canyon which contains several campgrounds, recreational areas and hiking trails that follow the beautiful creek at the bottom of the canyon. You can swim, fish or simply relax by the creek to escape the summer heat. I have been to these places several times, but had never really taken the time to photograph the beautiful landscapes. I made sure to remedy that this summer and below are some of the images from the trip.
At the turn of the century, the mining boom in Arizona brought about numerous towns that prospered for several years. Tombstone, AZ grew from a population of 100 to 14,000 in less than seven years during which the town produced between $40 to $85 million in mined silver. The majority of these boom towns lasted until the precious minerals were all mined or catastrophic events turned the once prosperous towns into ghost towns. Many of the remains of these ghost towns still exist all over Arizona today. I visited two such sites: Pearce, AZ and Tombstone, AZ.
I have never tried to photograph fireworks before, but as it was the 4th of July, I decided to give it a go. Once again it was myself and my camera on the desert floor in the dark. I feel this is happening too often and it is only a matter of time before a creepy crawly thing gets too close. Luckily, I didn’t see anything slithering in the night. With my camera on a tripod, I put my aperture on f9 (I’m sure anywhere between f8 and f16 would have worked equally as well), lowest ISO, and manual mode with the shutter speed on bulb so I could control the length the shutter was open depending on the fireworks display. Also, I used a zoom lens so I could get a variety of close-ups and wide-angle shots. For me, it was preferable to photograph with my camera in portrait position rather than landscape, but I tried both and at this location (with nothing interesting in the landscape) portrait worked great. I only wish I could have found my remote trigger as it would have reduced camera movement for more clear images. All in all I was happy with the results and had a great time.
I have been wanting to do a ‘pin up’ style photo session for a while. I love the look of that era of glamour… the make up, the hair, the colors, the clothes, etc.. It was great to step out of my usual editing technique and develop the images for a more posterized/stylized result. In the future, I would like to do another ‘pin up’ session in an urban/industrial setting. I am thrilled I could take a little step back to into the 40s and I couldn’t have asked for a better model.
As many of you know, last night was a total lunar eclipse easily visible in North America. I decided to capture the progression of the eclipse so I went out into the dark desert at 10:30 pm and set up my camera. The full moon started out so bright I hardly needed a flashlight to walk around all the cactus and take several photos. As the eclipse progressed, the night became pitch black. During that almost complete darkness the stars looked brighter than I have ever seen them and star-gazing in Arizona is an incomparable experience. However, the pitch black night did have some drawbacks. I was sitting amongst all the prickly cactus, wild animals and I am sure a few snakes with only a flashlight . When a coyote ran very close by me, I almost called it quits. However, with the moon beginning to glow a blood red, I knew I couldn’t pack up quite yet. Below are some of the images from that night.
I attended my first Renaissance Festival this weekend. It was a bombardment on the senses in the best possible way. From the food to the uniquely dressed patrons, there was always something to see, smell, taste or touch. The Renaissance Festival is held in Apache Junction between Tucson and Phoenix on 30 acres of desert land. There are hundreds of shows, shops, games, and other amusements such as fortune telling and face painting. So after purchasing a garland of flowers for my hair, I set off with my camera to capture as much of the festival as I could. It was impossible to see it all, but I was able to see what I had come to see…jousting and my brother-in-law eating a turkey leg with his bare hands.
Yuma, AZ is known as the “Gateway to the West” because it was the first place the railroad and highway bridges crossed the Colorado River that separated California from the Yuma Territory, long before Arizona was a state. Although Yuma is steeped in history, what Yuma is most known for today is it’s agricultural influence (Yuma is the largest producer on winter vegetables in the country) and it’s heat. The Guinness World Records determined Yuma to be the sunniest place on earth – 91% of daylight hours are sunny! Also according to Guinness, Yuma is the driest place in the nation with an average of 3 inches of rain a year. To this day however, Downtown Yuma is a great place to step back in time and experience some of Yuma’s ‘Old West’ history. It is one of two National Heritage Areas in the nation west of the Mississippi. I recently took a nighttime stroll through the Downtown area with my family. Below are some of the images from that night.
Well it’s that time of year in Arizona again. Rodeos are passing through town and people take to the bleachers to see the cowboy’s and cowgirl’s skills in the arena. I once again attended the Silver Spur Rodeo in Yuma, Arizona. The theme every year is “Tough Enough to Wear Pink,” where proceeds from the rodeo go to fight breast cancer. Seeing all the tough, dirty cowboys in pink always puts a smile on my face. Well I have dusted off my camera and myself and below are some of my photos from the afternoon.
With the holidays, I have been able to see a lot of family that I do not get to see very often. My cousin Jessica is currently living in Chicago and this was her first visit home since moving away. I enjoy photographing her as we always have a great time and she is quick to say “OK”, if I ask her to climb a tree, lay in weeds and so on. This year, I photographed her in the backyard.
For my sister’s 30th birthday, I decided to plan a trip to Sedona. We invited some friends and rented a house surrounded by the amazing red rocks of the area. We had a wonderful time both playing pool at the house and exploring the city and outdoors. It is one on my favorite places in all of Arizona and truly a beautiful setting any time of year.