Sunny Sedona

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.

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Broken Arrow Trail, Sedona, AZ
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Fireworks, Fireworks and more Fireworks!

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.How to photograph Fireworks

Renaissance in the Desert

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. Renaissance Festival 1Renaissance Festival 2Renaissance Festival 3Renaissance Festival 4Renaissance Festival 5Renaissance Festival 6

The Gateway to the West

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.Downtown Yuma, Arizona Downtown Yuma Arizona at night

Rodeo Days

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.Rodeo in Yuma Arizona Rodeo Arizona Cowboy Photography Bulls and Hoses

Winter Wonderland

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.JESS1JESS2JESS3JESS4

A Charming Couple at Christopher Columbus Park

Recently I photographed a couple who had not had their photo taken since their wedding engagement years ago. Their children had been asking them to get new photographs done and it was such a pleasure for me to be their photographer. We had the session at Christopher Columbus Park in Tucson, AZ. It was a beautiful day and a beautiful sunset. Couple portraits in TucsonCouple portraits in Tucson

Oro Valley Family Portraits

Last weekend I photographed a family at a hiking park in Oro Valley. The light was beautiful just before sunset and I couldn’t have asked for better scenery. The family was a lot of fun and we had a great time walking the trails and capturing great images. Family Portraits in Oro ValleyFamily Portraits in Oro Valley Family Portraits in Oro Valley Family Portraits in Oro Valley

Beautiful Arizona

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. Sedona1 Sedona2Sedona3

Quiceañera in Arizona

At the end of July, I photographed a quinceañera (15th birthday celebration) for a family friend. It was a beautiful event which included a mass and reception. The event was held in Phoenix, AZ. The birthday girl, Alyssa, was beautiful in a flowing gold ball gown and tiara. Below are some images from the days events.

quinceanera in Phoenix, Arizona

quinceanera in Phoenix, Arizona

quinceanera in Phoenix, Arizona

quinceanera in Phoenix, Arizona

quinceanera in Phoenix, Arizona

quinceanera in Phoenix, Arizona