Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Season Room With a View: Hotel Vendome, Prescott, Arizona

[Photo: View of downtown Prescott, Arizona from second story room of historic Hotel Vendome]

The Hotel Vendome (www.vendomehotel.com) is a quiet, quaint little hotel in historic downtown Prescott, which is a small mountain city in the central Arizona highlands. 

[Photo: Hotel Vendome at Christmas, Prescott, Arizona]

Lovingly restored by its present owners, the Vendome was built in 1917 and so is one of the oldest buildings in Prescott, a town with a very colorful Wild West history. Cowboy silent film star Tom Mix used to stay at the hotel for a year at a time while making some of his films. 

[Photo: Christmas light display on Courthouse Square, Prescott]
Courthouse Plaza (universally called Courthouse Square by locals) gets decked out in a dazzling light display during the holidays, to help cement Prescott's claim as "Arizona's Christmas Capital". 

[Photo: Yavapai County Courthouse with Christmas lights, Prescott, Arizona]

At an elevation of 5,300 feet / 1,615 meters, Prescott is a "mile high city" off the beaten track of the Interstate highways, midway between the desert city of Phoenix and the high country of Flagstaff. 

Prints and photo products are available on my Fine Art America sales website:

© Copyright 2012 Stephen J. Krieg

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve Moonrise, Arizona

Some rain today in the Prescott Valley of central Arizona. Wonderful mix of storm clouds and blue sky. 

As evening approached, the light became golden. Being several days before Full, the moon was above the mountains to the east. The sunset lit up the clouds around it.

This is an instance in which a larger, closer looking moon shot would have lost the contribution of the pink clouds against the dark blue sky.

Yavapai County, Arizona

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Arizona Mountain Christmas Tree

Along the winding curves of Highway 89A between Jerome and the Prescott Valley in Arizona's central highlands is this lone juniper tree growing along the side of the road. With the sharp curves and competing views of the slopes of Mingus Mountain, the tree can be easy to miss. 

I had been driving up the mountain from the Prescott Valley on a relatively balmy late December day, so I was in shorts and sandals. Passersby did a double take over a photographer in shorts, then the Christmas tree, in the middle of nowhere.

It has a wide variety of very nice Christmas decorations, some with lights (nowhere to plug them in on this lonely stretch of road on the Prescott National Forest, though!).

One recent addition in March 2012 was contributed by a family from Australia that was traveling around the western U.S.

Seemingly this has been an ongoing collaborative effort. There is a blog post with a picture of it from 2009, with a comment claiming to have seen it ten years before then. 

Mingus Mountain Scenic Road, Highway 89A, Yavapai County, Arizona.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas Lights, Courthouse Square

[Photo: Christmas Lights display, Prescott, Arizona]
Yavapai County Courthouse, Prescott, Arizona. First snow of the winter season adds greatly to the festivity of the holiday season. Besides the courthouse itself, the elm trees on the square are wrapped with colorful strings of lights.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Snowy Shrub Live Oak, Prescott National Forest

[Photo: Shrub Live Oak in snow and frost]
The morning after the first major winter storm was clear and cold. The clouds had moved on, bringing a frozen but beautiful start to the day on the Prescott National Forest in central Arizona. 

Wading through the snow, I photographed subjects distant and close. In this photo, the sun had cleared the hills to the east, to light up the branches and foliage of a shrub live oak bush. 

Prescott National Forest, Prescott, Arizona

Friday, December 14, 2012

First Trace of Snow, Prescott

[Photo: Downtown Prescott, with Thumb Butte in the distance]

The first major winter storm of the 2012 season rolled in to northern Arizona from the northwest yesterday. During the night, rain turned to snow, sticking everywhere but downtown proper.

The locals love it: beauty without hazardous driving, unless you venture up in the mountains above town. Precipitation is much appreciated in a dry land, especially after the dry autumn of 2012.

Prescott, Yavapai County, central Arizona

- See my Grand Canyon Photography Blog -

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Willow Leaves, Granite Creek

Mid December along the Granite Dam Trail in the Granite Dells just north of Prescott, Arizona.

The last autumn leaves of the willows along Granite Creek lie on the water's surface, the gentle current arranging them into patterns.

A serene morning along the trail, no other hikers around.

See my NaturalMoment YouTube channel of nature videos, too.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Along the Trail in Zion

Day hikers watch a National Park Service crew maintain a section of the West Rim Trail, high above the floor of Zion Canyon.

Zion National Park, Utah

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Sunrise Colors, Pittman Valley

Intense dawn colors in the east over the San Francisco Peaks, from Pittman Valley between Parks and Williams, Arizona.

As usual, it's the positioning of the clouds above the horizon that determines how the colors will be. The clouds reflect the rays of the yet-unrisen sun. If there are no clouds, the colors will be greatly subdued. Too many clouds and the colors will be cut off. 

In this image, some ponds in the foreground added a powerful reflection accent.

Also see my Grand Canyon Photography Blog, and my YouTube channel

Friday, December 7, 2012

Sunset Light, Antelope Hills

Early December "golden hour"  evening light on two of the old cinder cone volcanoes that are collectively called the Antelope Hills. These are on the Babbitt Ranches north of the San Francisco Peaks and Flagstaff, in northern Arizona.

The summer's grasses and forbs have long since turned straw yellow, warming up nicely with the low angle of the sun. Some nice clouds accented the trademark Arizona blue sky.

Also see my Grand Canyon Photography Blog!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

San Juan Mountains, Colorado, Late Fall

Early Snow Traces, San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Near Silverton in the southwest Colorado high country, I was in search of autumn photos. October is kind of late for the highest country, but the traces of the first snows accented the parts of the mountains where the sun didn't reach in the warmest part of they day.

Camera: Canon EOS 5D. Lens: Canon EF 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 USM

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The (Full) Serenity Prayer

Sunrise Colors and San Francisco Peaks, Pittman Valley, Northern Arizona

God, grant us the... 

Serenity to accept things we cannot change, 

Courage to change the things we can, and the 

Wisdom to know the difference 

Patience for the things that take time 

Appreciation for all that we have, and 

Tolerance for those with different struggles 

Freedom to live beyond the limitations of our past ways, the 

Ability to feel your love for us and our love for each other and the 

Strength to get up and try again even when we feel it is hopeless. 

-- Reinhold Niebuhr