Monument Valley. Probably one of the most photographically familiar places in the west thanks to so many movies being made there. I get to go there a couple of times a year and the place never grows boring. There are so many new angles on familiar scenes to explore I doubt if I will ever do everything there I would like to.
The valley is a tough land, but beautiful. A place rich in history but poor in economic value for its residents. But most of the people are friendly and helpful. This young Navajo Cowboy was one of the men we hired to move some of his horses in good locations to photograph. After the sand storm subsided I ask, “Ok what is the best way for you to get us some photos of your horses?” He replied with a smile, “The best way for me is how ever you would like” .
Blood Moon over Wickenburg Arizona
So what is a Blood Moon?
During the eclipse the sunlight striking the moon turns red from passing through the earths atmosphere just like a sunset. Simple enough,for me anyway.
It was fun to be out shooting the moon except for getting up at 3AM. Thankfully, Mickey D’s was open for coffee and the traffic was light. So fortified with caffeine I stood in the middle of main street to make this photo. Needless to say Wickengburg’s main street (or any street) is not exactly busy at 4:45 AM.
As soon as I made this shot I raced into the desert to line the moon up with a couple of pre scouted Saguaro Cactus. When I arrived clouds were covering most of the moon but I did get a shot and a bit of practice for the next Blood Moon which some think with be the grand finality. It should make a hell of a shot.
Every few years the fall and winter storms line up to give us a truly amazing wildflower bloom in the desert southwest. It looks from recent observations this will be one of those years.
We had the rain in the fall to germinate the seeds, the soil was still damp from the heavy summer rains and now we are seeing good rains every few weeks to bring the new blooms along on schedule.
Starting the end of February in the border country and moving north through March and April this should be a exceptional bloom, so study your landscape technique, clean up your tripod and be ready to head to the Arizona desert as I have done for the past 3 decades. If you want to tag along with me as I shoot the best bloom in some great locations check is this workshop . I will know the exact locations of where we will be shooting as the bloom progress but you can fly into Phoenix for the start and stay a few days after the workshop to cover even more locations I will share.
I hope you have all had a good holiday season. It was a busy one for us. We left home the day after Thanksgiving for the Cowboy Christmas show in Las Vegas and only returned to Arizona for two days during the next six weeks. It was fun (sometimes), cold, warm, snowy, dry, tiring and exciting. All of the things a road trip should be including Christmas at our place just outside West Yellowstone Montana, visiting kids and meeting a tow truck driver that towed and fix my van on New Years day.
It is good to be back in Arizona even if it is only for another week before I head back to Yellowstone for another private workshop. While here I have been getting the 2015 workshop schedule together so check it out here.
There are a couple of special trips (of course they are all special) like a exclusive African tent camp and Jaguars of the Pantanal.
I will be adding a early Oct Cowboy, Autumn color, Wild horse trip and I am saving time for private workshops.
Remember there is a $100 discount on any trip over $1000 for newsletter subscribers.
I have had a crazy schedule this spring with Slot Canyons, Monument Valley, CanyonLands, Arches, Sedona and the Grand Canyon all one on top of the next. Luckily I get 3 days before heading off to Rock Spring an Wild Horses. Maybe after I finish there I will actually have time to look at some of the images I shot over the past couple of months. This is the first photo I took yesterday morning after the snow storm at the Grand Canyon.
The best thing about desert storms is the light before and after the storm. The problem is know where to be when the light is right. There is no way to beat having been to a place many times before, but if you haven’t had that luxury get out your maps and get in position early.
For the past couple of years we have been photographing something a little different on my Spring Slot Canyon workshop. We have been going into the canyons at night to capture unusual views of these familiar places with starlit sky’s. So far it has just been small groups doing this but it is hard to say how long that will be the case. I prefer the solitude of being in these places with just a few people but even if this experience becomes over run there are many other opportunities like this that we are just exploring in my workshops.
Night photography is not for everyone or every member of a group so I offer these shoots as a extension to the regular shooting day. Stay tuned because there are several more night photo shoots to be added, who know may we will find a good way to light paint Grizzlies. 😉
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