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The Superstitions just before dawn

(click to see an extra larger than normal version to really fill your screen)

Back in April we had some good rain on the 9th, so the morning of the 10th I planned to get up waaaaay early and head out to the Superstition Mountains to shoot a beautiful sunrise with gorgeous clouds, cactus and all kinds of juicy stuff.  I was also meeting by buddy Ken Peterson out here and we’d hit the Apache Trail together.

You can imagine the slight disappointment you get when you are praying for awesome clouds in the morning and this is what you see above.

As is always the case, however…nature turns your sour lemons into lemonade by giving you something unexpected and just as beautiful. I sat at my favorite spot along Lost Dutchman Road waiting to meet Ken. And so I sat there watching the sky behind this mountain turn beautiful shades of morning colors. Normally I hate skies without clouds, but I loved all the solid colors here…dark silhouette with these gradient shades of purple and orange.

Plus you have Venus up there (at least I’m pretty sure it was Venus) adding just a hint of something extra.

For those that live in Phoenix, even a silhouette of these mountains is probably easily recognized by most people. I love that about some places…you can just see an outline or a shadow of something and know it instantly because you live there. It’s makes it something special.

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

Waves in the Desert

(click to view with a dark border and sized to fit your monitor/resolution)

I’m pretty tired right now. I get back in town tomorrow afternoon, but will be back here in Vegas all next week. Long days, focused work…draining. I’ll be a happier man once vacation gets here in mid-May. I can’t wait to see some of our family living in Memphis.

This is another photograph from last Sunday morning’s trip along the Apache Trail in search of those wonderful morning-after-a-storm pictures that I love. The scene has a lot of crazy elements to it, including a solo Saguaro cactus, low-lying foggy clouds hugging the valleys between mountain ranges, snow on the Four Peaks on the left horizon and some absolutely gorgeous clouds creating an ocean-like waves in the sky.

My love for this time of day is growing. Up before dark, headed out somewhere just waiting for the sun to rise…and just exploring the place you are at, looking for something unique and interesting. It’s always an adventure.

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

The Man on the Hill

(click to see the man larger in lightbox)

It’s April and the high yesterday in Phoenix was around 55 degrees. The snow level dropped to 4500 feet and the mountains east of town had the white stuff on them after the crazy “spring” storm we had over the weekend. It was really a last gasp of winter for us, which was insane considering we’ve already had a 100 degree day in 2011.

The storms hit on Saturday, so Sunday morning I met my buddy Ken Peterson out in Apache Junction to shoot the sunrise and see what we could see. It was amazing. 15 minutes before sunrise, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. Suddenly they just started appearing, even if they weren’t as much as I would have wanted.

We were on the Apache Trail and pulled over when the clouds began that transition to pink and orange. We ran up to the top of a hill and almost died from being out of shape with temps around 40 degrees.

Ken decided to climb the next one and shoot down into Canyon Lake. After seeing his images later, I wished that I had gone with him, but I also would have missed out on this shot.

I just loved the silhouette of Ken with his camera on the tripod, not to mention the clouds that look like they were painted onto the sky.

(exif: canon 5d mark ii, canon 85mm 1.8, iso 100, f/10, 1/200 second)