Posts

The big skies of northern Arizona

The way to Grand Falls goes through some of the more interesting and beautiful places I’ve seen in Arizona. This mountain is part of a large group of dormant volcanoes that reside in northern Arizona. The land is full of low bushes and trees are a rarity. It made for some astounding looking mountains and hills…treeless, smooth and golden…toss in an amazing looking sky with awesome clouds and I couldn’t resist pulling the car over to take this shot.

Storms and Stones

Today’s photo is one I’ve  been waiting to take for awhile, but I had been waiting for some cool skies to show up to add to the composition. I’m a sucker for cool clouds and storms, so if I am ever outdoors taking landscape shots, or random sights such as the one above, getting a sweet sky is a bonus.

This is a graveyard/cemetery at St. Anne’s Mission down on the Gila River Indian Reservation. It’s right off the road on Highway 87. I will be posting a shot of the church itself later this week.

But I love these two graves. My favorite part is the makeshift bench in front of both of them. Someone set that up one day long ago and still it stands. I wonder who first sat there, how they knew the people buried here and what they were thinking?

The graves themselves are adorned with all kinds of stuff…if you click on the photo you can see the higher resolution version and see some of it.

Also in the background are hundreds of other crosses that dominate this cemetery.

Storms rolling across the Arizona desert

This morning I woke up, looked outside and saw fluffy clouds. The photographer switch inside of me was instantly ignited and I left the house after a few minutes.

We just haven’t seen any weather in weeks and weeks…for a guy like me, that’s an eternity! It didn’t even look that spectacular out there, and in fact, the clouds you see above were the stormiest of anything and they didn’t even drop any rain.

This picture almost didn’t happen. In fact, most of my best shots end up being unplanned.  I had been shooting the clouds, the sky and some rays of the sun shining through. As I was leaving, I noticed this dead log just a few feet from where I had been standing. How on earth did I miss it before???

Anyways, I ran up and snapped this photo.  Love the sky framed with the foreground. I also love the golden field in the distance…which was green just a few weeks ago. You can already see dead tumbleweed next to this log. That tire hanging off the branch just adds an interesting element.

I shied away from HDR on this one and instead just went with an exposure blend.

Some graffiti on the Gila River Indian Reservation

Back in February my wife, my daughter and little ol’ me went for a short drive south of Chandler along State Route 87 and then took a turn into a road in the Gila River Indian Reservation. We found a very cool bridge (which is the first picture below) that was covered in graffiti. Coupled with the storm clouds, I was just loving this shot.

But after we crossed it, we found this water diversion structure adorned in graffiti, and while to some it may be vandalism and a crime (which it probably is), I found it beautiful in the setting we were in.

This isn’t some fence in a neighborhood, or an overpass on a freeway…this was a little used road, a little seen structure that is suddenly a very cool visual art display. I wont say it’s the greatest graffiti art I’ve ever seen, but it’s still kind of awesome.

There are some HDR shots in here as well as some standard shots.


The above is an HDR shot of the bridge and the storm clouds. Yummy.

A shot of the diversion structure and some building that is a part of it.

This is a decent view of the building, the structure  and the bridge behind it…graffiti everywhere.

A wider shot…this is over a second, smaller bridge that spanned this little water flow. HDR.

An HDR photo looking down the stairs into the structure. HDR.

A shot inside the building, looking in from one of the doorways. HDR.

This is looking back out the way I walked in. HDR.

This was actually shot elsewhere, on a different day, but it was on the same Indian reservation.

Weekend storms in Arizona

We had some nice storms roll through town this past weekend and I was lucky enough to get out and shoot a bit on Sunday. Here’s a couple of my favorites from that day.

This one above is a two-shot panoramic stitched together. I enhanced the contrast and colors a bit to make it more vivid and exciting.

Shots of the falling rain.

Murky and ominous clouds approach.

A black and white…rain falling on one end, low hanging clouds on the other…

Just a creepy shot at the airport. A monstrous, low hanging storm.

Love this shot…it’s gotten me an AC on Wunderground, a spotlight on JPG Magazine and has been pretty well-received. My daughter and I watch the incoming storm move towards us. It’s developing from left to right, but moving towards the camera.

Storms and Clouds over the Arizona Skies

Monday was eventful in terms of capturing some cool shots of storms, clouds and falling rain around the Phoenix area. I drove out to Apache Junction and snapped some shots of the incoming storm, plus a few other cloud pictures.

Mmmm, I love clouds.

After the rain…the sunlight streams through a hole in the clouds.

Impending storm heads to the east Valley.

Shot from Idaho Road and Lost Dutchman looking West.

Storms over the Superstition Mountains

I think I talked about this road I discovered solely by accident about a month ago. Brown Road going east from the 202 turns into Lost Dutchman. At Idaho Road it’s at the peak of a low hill and suddenly you get this amazing view of the Superstition Mountains.

The first time I saw it was when I was shooting around those mountains and just headed west on that road. When it reached the hill, I stopped because there were storms to the west and I could see them clearly there.

However, as I got out of the car…I turned east and this picture below is what I saw. I’d never have noticed it if I hadn’t stopped. It was breathtaking to see the low clouds cascade over the top of the cliffs.

(purchase photo on my gallery – Color or Black and White)

So on Monday afternoon I headed back out there because I could see some amazing cloud structures out that way, but I had no idea what I’d actually end up seeing once I got closer.

A storm was approaching from the west and I saw the Superstitions lit up with sunlight which wouldn’t last much longer with the dark clouds approaching. It was a race to get there and snap a few photos. 10 minutes after I was done, the sunlight disappeared.

So here are two photos below, one in color and one in black and white. I like to call this photo “Close Encounters” because it certainly reminds of me of that mountain in the movie. The clouds really add to the awe of what you are seeing.

(purchase on my gallery)

These two photos can be cropped to fit any frame. I love the wider, panoramic style, but a cropped version still has a nice look to it.

Winter Storm Photos: Part 1

Some storm photos from the weekend. These below all were shot south of town along State Route 87. We went off the road for a bit onto a side road and ended up spotting some amazing stuff, like this old bridge below adorned with graffiti. We actually found TONS of graffiti, but that’s another post for another day.

Trip up the Beeline

Last week I posted a photo of the Four Peaks sunset, one of my most favorite photos ever. However, that day was not just about the Four Peaks, but also of a little drive I took up the Beeline Highway whilst waiting for the clouds to clear the Four Peaks and the sun to set.

Here are a few of those shots!

This is a mountain just northeast of where the Beeline crosses the Sycamore Creek.

Another shot of that peak…the Beeline runs off in the distance.

A shot that I took while dodging traffic on the Beeline. I just loved the contrast of the road, the cactus and the stormy clouds.

The Bushnell Tanks near Sycamore Creek.

This sunset was shot right as I took the Four Peaks sunset that I posted last week.

Shot while driving down the Beeline and treated with an “old film” kind of style.

This is another shot while I’m driving and I did some mega-treatment to make it look old, plus layered it with a texture I took elsewhere.

Storm Photos: Part 2

On Saturday I had planned to photograph some of the snow on the Four Peaks. I knew all week that it was likely going to snow up there and I’ve been dying to shoot this once-a-year event.

The downside was that the weather had been so bad, the Beeline Highway was closed at Bush Highway and I couldn’t get as close as I wanted, plus the stormy clouds pretty much covered the top of the peaks.

However…it was a stunning day out, the clouds were puffy, stormy and gorgeous. The views were super-clear and the visibility was endless.  We drove out along the Beeline and then came home the back roads via Bush Highway, and these below are the results.

Looking down the on-ramp to the Beeline.

A closed road that goes to Saguaro Lake.

Here is a shot of the Beeline to the left, but you can also see the snow on the hills way along the back horizon. That was about as much as I could get.

Another shot of the snow on the distant hills…although it’s kind of hard to see here with the clouds meeting the white.

The cliffs around the Saguaro Lake area.

Saguaro Lake on the left, the Bush Highway on the right…it was such a clear day.