I have not had the chance to do much roadtripping lately. The docs wanted me to stay pretty close to home for a while, but heading up to Flagstaff is only a couple of hours – well within the four hour limit.

I wanted to catch some fall foliage, something I have never really sought out before. I like the landscape stuff a lot, but need to have something of my own vision to do it right. I am only interested in doing it my way.

So a trip was on, and I woke at 4:30 for a 5Am departure. My good friend Megan Abshire came along to do some shooting as well, and it was great to have someone to chat with.

We arrived at Flagstaff a bit after 9AM and headed for the San Francisco Mountains just north of Flagstaff. As we were driving up, I was sorta disappointed in the lack of color. Seems we were a bit too early for the good stuff.


We headed up the mountain toward the ski lodge and saw a few stand of aspen all decked out in their yellow leaves and white bark. So that was something – and being there that early gave us some great backlight from the early morning sun.

It was cold too. Now if you are from Maine or Minnesota, you will probably laugh, but to us desert dwellers, 34 degrees F was pretty chilly.

We bailed out of the car at a grand point with a stand of Aspen right near us. I knew there was a photograph there, but I couldn’t see it until I positioned myself with the solitary pine tree in front of the sun. It was then that I saw my final photograph.

I knew what I was going to do with it in Pshop before the camera got to my eye. And that is exactly what I did.


This image was highly treated in post to bring out the light from behind the lone pine, as well as some highlights and shadow detail work.

A path going through the woods attracted me and I worked at getting a shot there. Again, I knew there was something there, but I am not sure if I found it or not. Great excuse to go back, eh?

Clouds were dancing around the sun and causing all kinds of little dappled pools of light to appear – then disappear as quickly as they came. It was a lot of fun working with the light.


I grabbed an overall shot as we were leaving. The sky was now devoid of any clouds, and we would be stuck with a blank blue canvas for the rest of the day.


We headed down through Oak Creek Canyon, but we were too early there as well. A couple of short hikes off the road didn’t bring us much photo interest so we headed to Jerome, a very old town on the north face of Mingus Mountain.

There I found a few of my old standby subjects – old doors and textures.


I think that doors are such incredible metaphorical symbols. Old ones add a level of age and mystery. These doors have been here exposed to the elements for a long, long time. I thought the were worthy of a portrait.


I thought this old wooden siding looked like a wrapped Christmas present. Shot in the cold light of the south sky, I had to warm it a bit in LR.

Below is a full shot of the building that the above was a detail shot. It is one of the older buildings in Jerome and houses a lot of artists studios these days. The old Mingus Mtn School.


As we were heading over the top of Mingus toward Prescott, we challenged ourself to stop at a set distance from the town and MAKE a photograph at that milepost. This is the shot I made there, and it is OK. Very bad light at that time of day, and it created a fairly flat scene with a lot of contrast. That is the contrasty parts were very contrasty and the flat parts were quite flat.


In most of my landscape work, something of humanity must be present… a trail, road, fence – something made by us and inserted into the landscape.

It just fits my vision of the landscape or environment. I leave the pristine work to others more qualified than I.

Well – that was my first road trip experience in 8 or 9 weeks and it was fun.

See you next time.


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