Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Winter Golden Hour, Granite Dells, Arizona

This is why photographers call it the golden hour, the first hour of daylight and the last hour in the evening.

I was walking part of the Peavine Trail, an historic railroad grade converted to a nonmotorized trail. This portion went south, into the north end of the fascinating Granite Dells area. As I walked south, the distant bulk of Granite Mountain stood light blue on the horizon to the west. The foreground prairie was yellow in the late afternoon winter light. The jagged outlines of some of the dells formed the middle horizon.

A patch of dead yellow weeds along the edge of the railroad grade stopped me in my tracks. The low angle of the sunlight lit up the paper thin leaves, especially against the deep shade in the background. I love having some of the most common things brought to my attention by the light. 

After a couple of miles of walking, the upright rock formations of the Dells approached. This granite layer is said to have formed two or three miles beneath the Earth's surface. Whatever layers were above it have been eroded away. Continuing erosion shapes the fantastic spires and boulders, eventually reducing them to gravel and sand. Things falling apart create the most amazing shapes and patterns.

This area was named Point of Rocks by the railroad people. To the north is mostly open prairie. 

I had arrived at the perfect time of day. The sun was near the western horizon, warming the color on the rocks. I made a number of photos of different composition. But the light changes by the minute at this time, so it was going to be over quickly. 

And it was. Then I retraced my steps, walking back to the trailhead in the deepening dusk.

Yavapai County, Arizona, north of Prescott.

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