San Francisco Peaks

SFP Roks Hort

I would consider myself a scattered photographer… some people would call it spray and pray, ok, there i said it.  My photography teacher in high school called me prolific.

Let’s just say I take a lot of photos of mixed variety.
SFP Meadow
For me to take a single photo (omg, never), a solitary subject (why??), or a single place (ok, doable) is a foreign concept.  I like to wander around and take different perspectives to convey the ‘whole story’.
Snowcap
In an effort to stretch myself and my photography I decided to shoot the San Francisco Peaks.  I love the fleeting snow and new green trees in her belly.. a sign of spring taking hold and summer on her heels.
_40A4093-HDR_IR
I wanted to take photos from a different perspective so we traveled around to the north side of the peaks to get a southern view, and camped out for sunset and sunrise to capture her beauty.
We were lucky enough to get some nice skies, and I am happy to be able to show off another beautiful icon of Northern AZ.

North Timp

 

_40A3787-HDR-Pano-Edit_IR

North Timp is one of those many points jutting out over the backwoods of North Rim Grand Canyon.  One doesn’t have to go into the National Park itself to see some amazing viewpoints.  We had hoped to get to more of those great overlooks, but circumstances intervened and it wasn’t meant to be.  So it will have to be one of those ‘re-do’ experiences for another time.

_40A3915-HDR_IR

For now, I got a couple pix of North Timp…. and next time, I’ll try to collect a more complete catalog of amazing viewpoints OUTSIDE the Park.  Stay tuned.

 

 

Sheep’s Crossing

Sheeps Crossing Far_IR.jpg

Arizona is a treasure trove of history and interesting stories.  If only the landscape could speak.  In this case… it does.  Sheep’s Crossing is one of those special historic places that few know about.

Sheeps Daisies_IR.jpg

It’s just north of Phoenix outside of Bloody Basin, down a long 3-hour rough dirt road.  There are multiple ways to get there, and all long and arduous.   At the end of the road though, one is rewarded with this historic moment of time.

Deadman Pano_IR.jpg

The Flagstaff Sheep Company used to graze sheep in this area around Verde River under a permit from the Forest Service as far back as 1926.  As sheep herders would move sheep during summer and winter months, they would invariably lose sheep down the swift river.

Bridge Sky Hort_IR.jpg

During WWII, in 1943, they built a bridge across the Verde.  The bridge is 3′ wide and spans nearly 500′.  Using salvaged materials and erected with hand tools and a few mule, it is one of the last remaining suspension bridges in AZ.

Susnrise Suspension_IR.jpg

Sunrise Xing_IR.jpg

It was entered into the National Register of Historic Places in 1978 and was used from 1944 through 1979.  Some 11,000 sheep would be moved across this bridge twice a year.

Cacti Overlook_IR.jpg

In 1988 the bridge was disassembled due to years of use, floods, and weathered over time.  It was re-built in 1989 as a testament to the pioneering sheepmen and ranching that existed in old Arizona.

Orig Concrete _IR.jpg

Fossil Creek

You may have seen my post here… https://kritterspix.com/2019/11/08/fossil-creek-nd/ regarding Fossil Creek.  I was pleased with the photos I got during that visit, so we decided to make the trek to do it again.

_40A1966-Edit-Edit_IR.jpg

After the long drive along the bumpy dirt road to get to the creek, there are several ‘entry’ points for one to ramble down the hill to walk along the creek.  We have been a number of times over the years, and enjoy the serenity of the water gushing over the rocks.

_40A1900-Edit_IR.jpg

It makes a wonderful place for a picnic to relax and let your troubles wash away.    (I know, I know, if only it were that simple.)  It does though provide a peaceful respite from our hectic lives.

_40A1992-Edit_IR.jpg

We did notice that Fossil Creek has become very overgrown and ‘scrubby’.  In taking photographs, I had a hard time cutting the clutter out of my pix.  You may notice that all these photos are tight knit to the horizon with no sky.  That’s because the horizon above the water was tangled and busy.

_40A1828-Edit_IR.jpg

Sometimes you just have to cut the clutter from our vantage point.

_40A1948_IR.jpg

My Best Landscape Photos of 2019

Every year, I like to take pause to reflect on my year past, both in terms of what we have done, where we have gone, and what we have accomplished – but also in terms of my best shots.  Reflecting on what I have done, helps me to see where I came from, to help me consider where I want to go.  I will keep these to Top 10 to force me to choose those I most liked.  Feel free to weigh in…

So without further ado, in no particular order:

  1.  Runoff outside of Workman’s Creek, AZ_40A9287_IR.jpg

2.  Mogollon Rim, through the fog_MG_0013_IR.jpg

3. Milk Ranch Road, Sunburst_40A1550_IR.jpg

4.  Blue Ridge Reservoir sunriseWaters Edge Hort_IR.jpg

5. Hawley Lake sunrise_40A4341_IR-2.jpg

6. Smoke Burst, Mogollon RimTreeBurst Vert_IR.jpg

7.  Blue Ridge Reservoir, FallBlue Ridge Fall Sun_IR.jpg

8.   West Fork Trail, SedonaRedRoot_IR.jpg

9.  Fossil Creek, Fall falls_40A0077_IR.jpg

10.  Fossil creek_40A0044-HDR_IR.jpg

That’s it.  I’m comforted knowing that I left out some additional good shots to pare it down to these 10.  Life’s about choices, and these are mine, and I’m sticking to it.

Check out my best wildlife photos of the year here….https://kritterspaw.com/2020/01/09/my-best-wildlife-photos-of-2019/

 

From Sun to Snow

Snowcover_IR.jpg

Hard to believe a week ago we were enjoying the coast of CA… and now we are enjoying snow at home in AZ.

ElkScape_IR.jpg

Elk Duo Vert_IR.jpg

We’re happy to get whatever nature gives us.  The snow is good for our forest and our trees.  Besides, it was nice to have a white Christmas.

snowrise_IR.jpg

We got about 12″ out of our two storms.  Let’s hope there is more to come.  : )

doesno vert_IR.jpg

Deer Snow_IR.jpg

Big Horn Herd

A funny thing happened to us on the way home from Vegas… we ran into a herd of big horn sheep!

Big Horn Desert_IR.jpg

There must have been 2 – 3 dozen of them, walking down from the hills to graze in the grass.

RamAlert_IR.jpg

They were beautiful to watch as they grazed and played.

whoz ur ram_IR.jpg

Ram Rest_IR.jpg

I spent hours trying to catch their activities.  They didn’t seem to mind that I was there, and posed for me… though it was hard to get their attention, as they were keen on the lush grass they came for.

Ewe Right_IR.jpg

Lil Ewe_IR.jpg

A ewe after my own heart – it’s all about the food!  :)

Check out more pix from our trip here… https://kritterspaw.com/2019/12/22/sea-critters/

 

Photography Genre

When I started getting serious about photography I kept reading that one should pick a ‘genre’.  I was like, ‘what the heck is that’?  Why can’t I take any kind of photo I want?

HeronFog_IR.jpg

As I read more and photographed more, it made sense.  A wedding photographer needs certain skills and tools to take beautiful wedding portraits, just as a sport photographer, and they are each different.

Iforgotmyotter_IR.jpg

So, I thought – I want to be a landscape photographer.

SeaBabe_IR.jpg

So, I was surprised when the first photograph I got published was wildlife.

Ram Hike_IR.jpg

City Ewe_IR.jpg

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.  We just got back from a trip to the beach from AZ, and these are the pix I brought back – all wildlife.

Do what you’re good at… and what you enjoy, and you’ll be good at it.

 

Snow Critters

Moqui Snow_IR.jpg

This last storm met the predictions of the weathermen who projected 2′ of snow.

snokiss_IR.jpg

With it, brought animals looking for food.

snoplay_IR.jpg

deersno4_IR.jpg

It was great fun to see this little baby deer enjoying it’s first snow.  It reminded me of Journey when we get snow, as she runs around and loves to ‘snorkel’ in it.

elk snonose_IR.jpg

elkhide_IR.jpg

There is something so pristine and beautiful about the new fallen snow… apparently the animals think so too.

sno whiskers_IR.jpg

PygmyEyes_IR.jpg

I suppose the cold white stuff is a novelty for them, something they don’t see often… so it’s new, fun, and refreshing as they walk through the cool stuff.  Like a new toy, it’s invigorating and exciting.  Whatever it is… it’s a pleasure to see happiness at any time or place.  Bring it on.

Sunrise Snow_IR.jpg

 

Fossil Creek ND

_40A0044-HDR_IR.jpg

As I continue to strive to get better pix I find that if I stop to think about the photos before just clicking away at the shutter, my photos come out better.

_40A0052_IR.jpg

Case in point when I went out to get smoke pix, just because the smoke makes for more moody pix (see my post here… https://kritterspix.com/2019/10/19/mood-lighting/ ).

So continuing my current pursuit of Fall Colors, we planned a trip to Fossil Creek.  When I think of water pix, I think smooth silky water cascading over rocks, which means to me, a long exposure.

_40A0079_IR.jpg

So considering the outcome I wanted, I had to think about how to achieve my desired result.  Do I go first thing in the morning, dawn… or dusk?  With little light to be had, that could work… OR I could go in full daylight and sun and use a tool I carry in my bag – a Neutral Density (ND) Filter.

_40A0072-Pano_IR.jpg

_40A0077_IR.jpg

I actually use a variable ND filter so I can control how much light I cut anywhere between 3 stops to 10 stops.  The ND filter allows me to stop down my exposure so I can take a 2 second exposure to get that super silky water.  Tripod required!

_40A0142_IR.jpg

_40A0123_IR.jpg

Hmmm… it works!  Thinking through our actions does make a difference.  Who’da thunk it?  Ha!