More from the Flatiron Cliffs

Hopefully no one is getting bored with photos from the Flatiron Cliffs in the Lost Dutchman State Park. I for one can’t get enough of looking at the mountains and the color of the flowers flooding the desert floor. It’s up there with some of the most favorite things I’ve photographed in my young little career.

Yesterday I posted a shot that was sort of a square, which made up the shot above and a pan to the left. But from the start I’ve always loved this single shot, with the stairs on the right, the little valley leading up to the cliffs and the clouds…man the clouds are cool.

This is an HDR photo from a single-RAW, something I usually don’t do. I’ve not found it to produce great results all the time, but in this case, I thought it worked.

More wildflowers from Flatiron at Lost Dutchman

On Friday I posted an HDR version of what I saw out at Flatiron on Thursday late afternoon. The HDR is cool, brings out a lot of textures and gives it a really deep feel, but I also love standard photography as well. The colors were so amazing, you really didn’t need to try hard to get a good shot.

If you live in the Phoenix area or close to the Lost Dutchman State Park, I highly suggest you head out there sometime soon before the flowers are gone. They are stunning…simply stunning.

I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I’ve lived here in Arizona for my entire 35.2 years of existence and have never made it a point to see the desert wildflowers bloom. I’m so thankful for photography right now for opening my eyes up to the beauty that has always been around me.

Hope you enjoy these.

a few more shots

The Flatiron cliffs of Lost Dutchman

I almost wanted to title this, “Hey Dutchman, I found the gold!”

A somewhat stormy day here in Arizona, awesome clouds everywhere, so I grabbed up my daughter from the babysitter and headed out to the Superstition Mountains and Lost Dutchman state park to take some photos. I’ve been around there a few times, but never have gotten a shot that I really liked.

And then I saw Flatiron and the fields of gold wildflowers surrounding the base of the cliffs. They were everywhere. It was amazing to see. Contrast it with sunlight breaking through stormy cumulus clouds and it made for a dramatic scene.

I’ d like to go back in about a week to really hike the trails that lead to the top. Having my amazing 17-month old daughter along for the ride made going too far difficult, but we did walk quite aways into the flowers. I have more photos I will post at a later time.

Technical crap…two, 3-bracket HDR photos merged into this panoramic. I was going to do more than three brackets, but without the magic promote tool I want someday, the clouds were just moving too fast for anything other than 3 quick shots.

Ah, I can’t help it…here is my daughter picking little flowers amidst a sea of gold.

Some fluffy clouds over the Arizona desert

I took this last week at the same time as Glorious Morning and this one with the dead tree.  The morning was just so grand…lazy floating clouds, stormy clouds, awesome color and light from the sun…perfection.

This side of the scene presented something relaxing and serene. The clouds stretch out to the horizon, the road goes on forever…the mountains in the background are lit off and on with shadows…it just felt quiet and blissful.

A nice little morning.

Arc of Glory – Another epic Arizona sunset

(please click on the photo for a larger view)

I always hear from people that Arizona seems to have the best sunsets.  I actually  like a lot of the ones I see shot in Florida by a few photogs I know (example).

But I tend to agree about Arizona. Of course, I’m biased and also haven’t lived anywhere else *grin*

Last night was another one of those. I hadn’t been out in awhile to shoot the sunset, and that was mostly because we just haven’t had much in the way of clouds and weather lately. But this week a giant cold front moves through the southwest and the sky last night ended up being spectacular.

Usually I love it when the sun sets and then illuminates the underbelly of the cloudy sky, but this ended up being a little different. The fluffy clouds didn’t get lit up much, but the high clouds behind it exploded in a glorious arc of color, which ended up almost as a backlight to the forward, lower-lying clouds. It made for a spectacular sight. In some ways, it almost looks like a massive nuclear explosion on the horizon that is slowly expanding.

Technically, this is a merge of two, 3-shot HDRs. I worked on it late last night, and in the morning hours I wonder if I could have straightened the horizon a little more on the left. I may tweak it later before it hits the gallery.

This was shot just about half a mile from my house. Drove down a dirt road lined with tall weeds to find a nice desert shrub to help compose the foreground.

The Herberger Theater in downtown Phoenix

This is probably the last shot from my recent walk of downtown Phoenix. The Herberger Theatre is not a historic building, having only been constructed in 1989, but it was part of the revitalization/redevelopment of downtown Phoenix and responsible for helping to foster the growth of performance art in that area.

I’ve only seen one show there, a friend of mine was in Fiddler on the Roof back a very long time ago (at least 12 years) and I just remember it being a fun little play and an awesome venue.

Technical gibberish about this photos: 6-7 bracket HDR ranging from 2 second-25 second exposures.

This Friday I’m hoping to photograph around late night downtown Tempe along Mill Avenue, after a little happy hour/going away hoopla for a friend at work.

Of course, I’m not done with Phoenix…I have a lot more to explore down there. Sometime soon I shall return!

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.

Downtown Phoenix from the ASU campus

Another photo from my little trip to downtown Phoenix last Saturday night. If you saw my shot of the light pillars from yesterday, you can also see them in this shot off to the left.

This is definitely something a little different for me. My HDR photos tend to lean more to the “realistic” side of things, instead of being artistic and almost fake looking. The unprocessed version of this photo had a lot of color in it that just seemed a little distracting to me, so I lowered the saturation a lot and toned it down a bit.

The completed shot certainly has more of a “painting” feel to it than an actual photo…which is okay sometimes. Most of the time though, I try to get them to look as close to possible to what I saw with my naked eye.

Planning another visit down there next weekend sometime, so hoping to visit the grungier side of downtown Phoenix and get some old railroad shots, older buildings…and whatever else I find.

Portraits

Phoenix and Scottsdale Family Photographer

Taking pictures of families, kids, babies…it’s actually where this whole photography thing started for me.

When my daughter was born, all I wanted to do was take pictures of her. And I wanted them to be good. I got some cute images with our little point-&-shoot, but I needed something better. Soon after I got my first camera, and suddenly I couldn’t put it down. And as the story goes for a lot of people…I began with pictures of Lyla. I posted them on Facebook. Soon people were asking me to take pictures of their families, and then they told their friends and suddenly here we are.

My portrait work encompasses families, babies, kids, pregnant mothers and your high school seniors. I shoot it all. And the sessions are simple and fun. We wander around our chosen location, do some posing, capture some candid moments, and you’ll end up with a nice mix of images of the ones you love.

My portrait sessions are $450 ($400 for former clients), last about an hour, includes all high-resolution images and an online gallery of your photos with easy access to buying professional quality prints if you desire. 

If you are interested in booking a session, visit this contact page to get started!

Here’s a smattering of my favorite lifestyle images

You can see full lifestyle sessions over on my blog.

The Multi-Color Light Pillars of downtown Phoenix

If you can imagine…I was walking past this and completely missed it. In fact, if it wasn’t for another photographer with a tripod setup, I might have just strode on by without ever knowing what could have been. In the picture above, against the sky on the right side of the shot, you can see a very large net-like structure against the sky.

That was my target. I had come down to Phoenix looking to get a shot of that lit up. But as it usually works out for me, the thing I intended to photograph becomes nothing compared to what I find along the way. It happens to me all the time. I’ve almost started to count on it.

So I was grateful for this other photog I saw getting his own shots from another angle. He made me pause, look and realize the beauty of these lights. It’s hard to see in a still photography, but they pulsated with light in different patterns, lighting up the floor and ceiling of this little covered area.

The above shot is an HDR from 5-6 brackets. I was there for awhile, then went over to the big “net” to try and get shots of that, but then soon found myself back at this first spot, this time with an entirely different color being “played” on the pillars.

The below is my return trip, another HDR from 5-6 brackets. The orange-red color looks different than the blue above because the light was pulsating in a completely different pattern.