Thursday, May 31, 2012

Jewel Rock, Red Mountain

"Jewel Rock", upheld by pinnacles in the amphitheater at Red Mountain
Erosion is the process wherein beautiful things are created as they fall apart.

The amphitheater at Red Mountain on the Coconino National Forest northwest of Flagstaff, Arizona is a perfect example. 

Red Mountain is a 1,000 foot tall cinder cone volcano created from a fiery crack in the earth about a million years ago. Some time later, its northeast flank blew out in another explosion, and its exposed innards have eroded into weird and wonderful pinnacles called "hoodoos".

In this photo, a harder boulder came to rest upon relatively softer material, which seem to be holding it up to the sky. It's like a diamond in its setting on a ring. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Pueblo Ruins and O'Leary Peak

Box Canyon Pueblo Ruins, Wupatki National Monument, Arizona
(click on photo for a larger version)

A small pueblo ruin at Box Canyon on Wupatki National Monument in northern Arizona is warmed by the low early evening sunlight. 

In the far distance is the old lava dome volcano mountain named O'leary Peak.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Down the Wash, Red Mountain

Hiking down the wash from the volcanic amphitheater at Red Mountain, Coconino National Forest (click on image for a larger version)

Red Mountain on the Coconino National Forest north of Flagstaff, Arizona is a million year old, thousand foot tall cinder cone volcano. Was, that is.

The U.S. Forest Service trail that accesses the amphitheater on the east side of the mountain drops down into the wash that drains it, on the final approach. You hike right up the wash. It's not as if you're trampling any vegetation, because desert washes are so inhospitable to vegetation. Any significant rains above become flash floods, small or large. 

Besides, the steep, loose, ever-eroding volcanic soil slopes on either side could not support a trail anyway.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Afternoon Moon Over Cliffs, Red Mountain

Half Moon over Red Mountain Amphitheater Cliffs, Coconino National Forest, Arizona
(click on image for larger version)

Hiking today at Red Mountain on the Coconino National Forest north of Flagstaff, I noticed the moon almost half full, high in the afternoon sky.

That means: Full Moon is only about a week away. 

Sure enough, checking the calendar, it will occur on Monday, June 4, at 4:11 AM. So get up early to check it out, then let me know how it was. I'll still be sleeping. 

Why? Because I almost always get my best full moon landscape shots the night before Full Moon, or even two nights before. The upcoming Full Moon is a great case in point. It officially occurs at 4:11, which means that for all practical purposes it will look full on Sunday night when it rises at 19:08 (7:08 PM), near sunset time (19:36, or 7:36 PM). 

Saturday evening, two nights before official Full Moon, could well be even better, depending on what you choose to have in the foreground, such as a tall cityscape, mountain, cliff, etc. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Beneath Sandstone Arch

Sandstone Arch

I love the hues that come from blue sky sunlight softly reflected off the innumerable angles of red sandstone.

Arches National Park, Utah

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

From Arches

View from Arches National Park, Utah

Wood and Sand, Arches National Park

Juniper wood in the sand, at Arches National Park, Utah.

Frosted Wood Waves, Arches National Park

Trees retain their beauty long after they've perished. As their wood decays, they can reveal beautiful patterns. 

Here a downed tree (probably a juniper) is coated with frost and dusted with red sand.

Arches National Park, Utah

Monday, May 21, 2012

Delicate Arch, the Big View

Delicate Arch Environs, Arches National Park, Utah

We've all seen countless photos of Delicate Arch, the iconic red sandstone formation that is not only the symbol of Arches National Park near Moab in southeast Utah, but even as the backdrop for the Utah license plate.

Photos of Delicate Arch are usually taken in late afternoon or at sunset time, when the sun is shining on it from the west (from the left in this scene). This photo, however, was taken in the morning, making the famous arch a silhouette, full into the glare of the early sunlight. Tough conditions.

But it shows something at least as amazing as the arch. It shows that Delicate Arch is a remnant of a huge red sandstone bowl. It's part of the lip of the bowl, and of course ever eroding. 

Notice the two couples in the scene, to give you a sense of scale.

Arches National Park, Utah.

You might also be interested in my Grand Canyon Photography blog.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Pinnacle, Grand Canyon North Rim

Pinnacle on North Rim (click on pic for larger version)
A capstone of buff colored sandstone crests a ridge below the North Rim at Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona.

You don't have to be a geologist to appreciate what's going on here. This landscape is constantly being worn down by erosion. Rocks falling apart, soil being built up and moved downslope. Vegetation, such as the green pinyon and juniper trees gracing the red slope with their dark green accents, adapting and growing.

Photographically, the distant canyon wall in afternoon shadow makes for a splendid dark blue background.

You might also be interested in my Grand Canyon Photography blog.

Almost Ready to Launch, Lees Ferry

[Photo: River rafters and morning light, Lees Ferry, Colorado River, Arizona]

A private river rafting party finishes breakfast and whatever other last minute preparations at its camp on the banks of the Colorado River at Lees Ferry in northern Arizona. 

Historic Lees Ferry is the put-in point for all boats that are going to run Grand Canyon.

In the background are the Vermilion Cliffs, glowing orange in the morning sunlight, and reflected off the river's surface.

You might also be interested in my Grand Canyon Photography blog.