We planned well in advance for our trip to Toroweap Overlook, part of the North Rim Grand Canyon.
Toroweap (Tu-weep to the Paiute Indian) refers to ‘the earth’, and translates appropriately to ‘dry & barren’. It’s hard to imagine this long rough rocky 61-mile dirt road through sagebrush and salt bush can open up to something so enormous, vast, and beautiful.
As the Colorado River winds through the bottom of the canyon, the steep walls stretch out to the sky with abundant rock formations.
We got the camping permits 6 months in advance, as required, estimating that the end of March would be less crowded and have best potential for rainy weather and clouds, and not be too hot.
Truth be known, we hit the mark. We hoped for clouds and clouds we got. In fact, we got so many clouds that over the course of 3 nights and 3 days (that’s 6 sunset / sunrise shoots), we only saw the sun once.
Outside of that one time, the sun was behind a dense cloud bank and never made an appearance. And unfortunately, it never even lit up the sky.
While I was disappointed, it was a gorgeous spot to watch the sun rise over coffee, and end the evening watching it set (hoping the light would come).
I have to laugh at myself sometimes, we all should (read that how you like). When I first got into photography, oh so many years ago, I would complain when there were clouds. ‘Where’s the blue sky ?’, I would lament.
We went to Watson Lake Granite Dells in Prescott, AZ for a photo scouting trip. The sky was ablaze with blue. It really was a beautiful day, rock hopping, and taking in this magnificent place.
Because of the ‘boring’ blue sky, I had decided not to post the photos, and just go back for sunset / sunrise when there were picturesque clouds for better photographs.
In conversation with a friend however, who cocked their head when I mentioned Watson Lake, I decided I should give these photos some air time so that people could view it’s majestic beauty, even if it’s through blue sky blues.
The Mogollon Rim is probably one of our favorite places. It is not far from where we live, and offers exceptional views and a myriad of roads to explore.
One of our favorite vantage points we have dubbed, ‘Tree Saddle’. It was never more spectacular than after a heavy dousing of frigid rain. We stuck it out and were rewarded with amazing skies.
Funny, I feel I must caveat some of these photos… yes the sky was that red and magical, it was not ‘photoshopped’. I was giddy with joy for this tremendous sky as it rolled in and turned bright red. As a boater, I was reminded of the old adage, ‘Red skies at night, sailor’s delight. Red sky in the morning, sailor’s warning.’
While the views along the rim itself are stunning, the forest roads along the rim are equally beautiful.
When the fog rolled in the following morning, we wandered the forest roads capturing eerie fog pix.
I was completely soaked and freezing as clouds went from great photos to completely enveloping me as I got doused trying to get one more pic. While weather can be cold and uncomfortable, it does make more intriguing photos. It was absolutely worth it, and euphoric to be in the presence of such amazing views.
I have to say, with all that is going on in the world, and our lives right now we have felt very alone. I know we are not the only ones. Having not seen or talked to so many friends we have (or had) during all this isolation seems so sad. Will it be different when the world opens back up? Or will they be gone forever? That I can not answer, but suspect it is a combination of the two.
So, without getting too sappy or melancholy, today I feel thankful for the my many friends and supporters of my photography. It’s times like these that we should immerse ourselves in those things that make us feel joy and happiness when all the rest is falling by the wayside. I have had many folks who have asked to see pix of the snow. So it is with that encouragement, that we braved the storm and trudged out every day to get what pix we could.
Snow photos can be difficult to get. First off, the snow itself is white and blindingly bright. Having no ‘color’ it is hard to take photos of and exposures can be tricky. The snow storms bring bleh clouds and gray skies, drab and not very photogenic. Here on the mountain, most of our roads are closed. Snow plows have created berms along the main roads making pulling off the road impossible.
Animals are scarce, as foraging through the snow can be difficult for them. See my post here… https://kritterspaw.com/2021/01/27/snow-foraging/ . But with the encouragement of friends, we were persistent and somewhat successful in our quest to find some decent photos.
We went North toward Winslow looking for snow and animals. We went out into the forest behind our home to see if we could find some snow views. We headed toward Flagstaff to see if we could catch some animals. We ventured toward Pine to see what that might yield. See post here … https://kritterspix.com/2021/01/27/we-got-snow/
We ran into road closures, icy slick roads, dead animals, stupid drivers, impassable areas, ugly skies and bright harsh light. But we also found bull elk standing in a meadow blanketed with snow staring back at us wondering what we were doing there. We saw trees caked with snow on the windward side majestic and satisfied with new found water. Ponds and waterholes previously dry were filled with fresh fallen snow, thirsty grass poking through the hill surrounding her.
There is beauty when we look for it, both in the environment around us and those in it. Be thankful for what you have and who you have to share it with, as we are today and everyday.
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.
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’.
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.
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.