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Lower Grand Falls

Below the Grand Falls

(Click to view larger with a nice, dark background)

This will likely be the last image from this past April’s annual trip to Grand Falls, Arizona. I’ve held onto it long enough, figured it was time to just post the thing. I’m sure some of you photogs who post daily photos can relate to hoarding some of your favorites for a rainy day.

If you follow my work at all, then you know about Grand Falls in the northern portions of this state located on Navajo land. It only flows from snow melt or flash floods due to massive monsoon storms. It’s one of those places that most people in Arizona have never heard of, including myself up until a few years ago. It’s not advertised, there are no signs, no parking lot, no gift shop. It’s just there.

And I like it that way.

Seeing a place like this in Arizona is something special. We don’t have many waterfalls, but this is our Niagara. In fact, from top to bottom, it’s taller than Niagara.

We last visited on April 2nd, my buddies Rick, Ken, Chris and then a bunch of other people showed up late in the day, like my wife, daughter and some other friends. This was taken at the bottom of the falls as the sun was beginning to the disappear behind me. I wanted to get a shot with the light shining off the falls before I hiked back up in time for the sunset (a shot you can see here).

There is not much else I can say about this place. You really have to see it in person.

(canon 5d mark ii, tamron 17-35mm 2.8, 17mm, f/22, iso 100)

The 505

The 505 - Abandoned Gas Station in Two Guns, Arizona

(Please clickity-click to see the empty garage larger than life with a nice, dark background)

Feels like it’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything of the urbex variety on the site, especially now that storm season has arrived. Feels good to change the pace up and throw out an image from waaaay back in April that I kept forgetting about.

This was the inside of an old, abandoned gas station up at Two Guns, Arizona. I friggin’ love old, lost gas stations along well-traveled highways. Anything left for dead like that is cool, but you have to wonder how a gas station could fail when it sits right on a freeway that sees thousands of cars a day.

Probably the creepiest thing in this picture is the little girl graffiti off to the right. I think her name is Gem.

I loved how open the place felt with all the glass and sliding doors long gone, so I wanted to include the sky as much as I could.

(canon 5d mark ii, tamron 17-35mm 2.8, 17mm, f/16, iso 100)

The bridge at Two Guns

(click to make the photo bigger (you must have a pretty big monitor!) or so it fits your screen)

I’m exhausted, I must say. Four hours of yardwork on Saturday resulted in a bit of a sun burn. Sunday I joined my buddy Rick Young in shooting a destination beach wedding in Los Angeles. More sunburn. Flew in at 7am, got home around 10:30pm. Last Thursday I was notified that I was needed in Vegas this week for my day job, so today I was up at 4:15am after hitting the sack around midnight.  And here I sit in the little control room wanting to focus on work, but I’m tired, cranky and miss my girls back home.

So of course I figured why not write up this blog post real quick, since I haven’t had anytime to do it before now.

I love this image. It was taken on our trip to the Two Guns ghost town back on April 2nd.  To get in this spot, I hiked down an animal-created path that was made up of a combination of deer prints and perhaps a few bear prints. My buddy Ken Peterson told me I’d probably get bitten by a snake while down here too. Lots of tall, dead things. It may be hard to tell, but all those tall branches at the bottom of this image were over 12 feet tall at least.

But I saw this bride out in the distance and wanted to see what it looked like underneath. The aforementioned Rick Young has a great shot of the bridge from far away right here. I love how he applied a bit of Focal Point foreground blur to make the image pop.

I liked this angle though and am glad I made the hike to get here. A beautiful, old bridge and one of the main reasons I wanted to visit Two Guns in the first place.

(exif: canon 5d mark ii, tamron 17-35mm 2.8, 17mm, iso 100, f/16)

Kamp Two Guns

Old Campground at Two Guns Arizona

This is another image from our April 2nd trip to northern Arizona when we hit up the ghost town of Two Guns in the morning, then Grand Falls in the afternoon.

Two Guns was very close to this structure, but we’re confident it came well after that old town disappeared. “Kamp” used to be an old RV campground and you could still see the areas where those vehicles would park for the night. This building had restrooms in it and might have been the check-in office for the entire place. Now it’s a mess, with a lot of graffiti all over the walls, floors, ceiling and even a nearby empty swimming pool.

As I’ve said before, I love the clouds up in northern Arizona and we definitely got lucky on this day to have them aplenty.

(exif: canon 5d mark ii, tamron 17-35mm 2.8, 17mm, iso 100, f/13, 1/60)

A lamp post in Winslow, Arizona

(Click to view larger or fit to your screen depending on your resolution)

This is set to be a crazy week for me. In Vegas for work until Wednesday night, then we’re off to Memphis for a family vacation on Thursday.  Lots of plane rides, driving…but I can’t wait to see the rest of our fam in Tennessee.

And who knows…maybe the failure to find storms last week will someone materialize while I’m in Memphis right?

This is another photograph from our trip up north to Two Guns/Grand Falls back on April 2nd. The clouds were just stupendous that day and they helped enhance almost any picture we took. We stopped by Winslow on our little trip and explored some random areas in town. I loved this lamp post, but mainly because of those fluffy white things floating in the sky.

(exif info: canon eos 5d mark ii, tamron 17-35mm 2.8, f/16, 27mm, 1/50th)

Into the West

(to see the image larger or so it fits into your screen resolution, have a click-see)

It’s been awhile since I posted any images from our trip up to the abandoned ghost town of Two Guns, Arizona. First off, you gotta love a name like that. If there was ever a contest to name an old west town in Arizona…that has to be up at the top.

I will say, the structures left behind at Two Guns weren’t exactly what you’d picture seeing if you heard “ghost town”. Normally you’d think of old wooden saloons, stables, whatever. At least, that’s what floats into my head. But Two Guns was pretty much made up entirely of old stone walls and wooden support beams where they still existed. And only one or two places still had a roof up.

The windows became obvious culprits in framing some of our shots. My buddy Ken Peterson posted a photograph from a different spot last week. I liked this little lone tree-ish looking thing up on the cliff through the window in this room. I tried it with my 50mm at first, but it proved lacking. I dig how my wide angle brought in not only the window, but the lack of a roof.

Title of this post was taken from the soundtrack of Return of the King.

(exif: canon eos 5d mark ii, tamron 17-35mm 2.8, 17mm, iso 100, f/16)

Seraphim Falls

(image can be viewed larger with a sweet black border if you click on it. you know you want to…)

Coming up with a title for this image for Movie Title Wednesday was kind of difficult. Most of the movies that came to mind I either didn’t remember much about, or really didn’t think fit too well. My wife liked Legends of the Fall, but I think I’ll save that for when the leaves change down the road. There was The Grand, or The Majestic…or even one that seems to fit perfectly…A River Runs Through It. But again, I don’t remember much about it other than Brad Pitt was in it and that I was a senior in high school! Ack! There was also The River Wild with Meryl Streep…but I didn’t like that either.

In the endSeraphim Falls was the title. I highly doubt most of you have seen it, but it’s definitely worth renting. Pierce Brosnan is hiding in the Rocky Mountains just after the Civil War has ended and Liam Neeson is a Confederate Colonel who wants the man killed to avenge a wrong. It all goes back to something that happened at Seraphim Falls…which you eventually discover.

I loved the title of the movie when I first heard it. I wanted to make it fit here but wasn’t quite sure EXACTLY what Seraphim meant, so I looked it up and was pumped when it has a rough translation of “burning ones.” Sure, it’s kind of a stretch, but when you think of a sunset and the fiery red skies you tend to get…it works.

Last weekend I got up at 3am to meet three other photogs to go up north and shoot all day. Despite all the fun I had and the pictures I took…this one shot above of Grand Falls was my entire reason for going. I’m not saying this about the photograph itself, but more about the scene.  Ever since I visited for the first time last year and had boring blue skies, I’ve been dreaming of getting back there and capturing a gorgeous sunset. It was like the entire day boiled down to this span of five minutes when the sky changed color.

The fact that we even got color was amazing. The sun was stuck behind some very thick clouds and as it got darker and darker…I thought that was it. Nothing was coming through that. And then suddenly in the northeast the clouds turned red. My heart jumped. I started waving at the other guys to point it out. People started moving around excitedly. Slowly the color moved westward until…for what was probably less than a minute…the sky looked as it did in the photo above.

Then it was gone.

I loved the day, loved the time spent with friends and especially loved that my wife and daughter were up there to share this with me.  Last year’s trip was exciting, but this one will be the one I remember always.

(of course, until I go back next year…have some fun ideas for 2012)

(exif: canon eos 5d mark ii, tamron 17-35mm 2.8, 17mm, f/10, iso 200)

 

We Are Here

(Looks even more abandoned by clicking to view in lightbox. It also may help finding the title of the image a bit easier)

Saturday was awesome.  I mean, yes, the agreed upon meeting time was 3:45AM…but it was still all kinds of fun.

Pretty much all on time (except for me who needed some Tums after a harrowing night of America’s Tacos, Killians Red and ice cream), my buddies Ken Peterson, Rick Young and Chris Frailey met me up at Carefree Highway and I-17, ready  and geared up for an all-day, epic adventure in northern Arizona. The plan was to hit the ghost town of Two Guns around sunrise, shoot random stuff all morning, eat lunch and then trek out to Grand Falls for the afternoon.

And that we did and it was fantastic. Had a blast hanging out, shooting, goofing off, making fun of each other and generally being in photography heaven.

This image above looks nothing like a ghost town, although it’s definitely not been lived in for awhile. The structure belongs to an old motor home camp site that was just a few hundred feet away from what remained of Two Guns.

The thing about northern Arizona are the wide open, beautifully blue skies that mix with gorgeous clouds. I rarely shoot a landscape when there aren’t clouds involved and I loved the way these kind of framed the “A-Frame” structure. Like my shot on Monday of Grand Falls…this image was made possible by my handy-dandy circular polarizer.

(exif: canon eos 5d mark ii, tamron 17-35mm 2.8, 17mm, f/13, iso 100, 1/80 sec, circular polarizer)

 

 

The Grand Falls

(click on the image to see it full size or at least fit your screen for we with smaller resolutions)

Saturday a bunch of us, including photographers, wives and my little girl, all ventured up to northern Arizona to see the annual, gorgeous display at Grand Falls. The Falls don’t flow all year for the most part, they are the result of snow melt in the early spring or flash floods during major rainstorms.

I need to get to bed and have an early, early Monday morning trip to Vegas where I’ll be all week, but I wanted to post this shot from our trip. The day was absolutely perfect except for some very windy conditions. The clouds were magnificent and the skies a dark, rich blue. I don’t know what it is about northern Arizona, but with the clarity and richness in those skies, a circular polarizer is your best friend.

Lots more to come from the trip…including a gorgeous sunset and some high-def video of the Falls themselves, so you out-of-state-ers can get a better idea of the size and scale of this place. It’s absolutely a must-see.

(exif: canon eos 5d mark ii, tamron 17-35mm 2.8, 17mm, f/10, iso 100, 1/125sec, circular polarizer)