Sand

“I always say, if you keep your head in the sand, you don’t know where the kick’s coming from.” ~H Mann

Silence in The Sands
Silence in The Sands

I’m not sure you know where the kick is coming from, ever. I hardly ever bury my head in the sand yet have had my share. Life gives you lots of kicks and if you have not had kicks, you haven’t really lived. So, you get bruised and the bruises heal; you might be left with a scar but even that can fade with time.  I don’t know how to avoid life’s kicks nor would I really want to; a kick can be a lesson or a wake up call. But what I do know about a kick is that you can only be responsible for your own actions and that means getting up again from a kick and not letting it define you.

I’m dusting the sand off as I speak……

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Monument

“Death comes to all, but great achievements build a monument which shall endure until the sun grows cold.” ~ RW Emerson

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Monument Valley-Monument Valley is really a spectacular place. I plan to go back in October and camp in the park not only to be able to shoot in the sunrise and sunset but also to see the night sky and take a horseback tour.

A road trip took me to the Navajoland area of Canyon de Chelly and Monument Valley, a location I have always wanted to visit since seeing images of these beautiful and unique places. We left for Chinle on Friday and the entire northern part of Arizona was experiencing an unusual May rainstorm. We decided to reschedule our tour of Canyon de Chelly from Friday to Sunday due to the weather and hoped the gray skies would clear out by Saturday when we were planning our day trip to Monument Valley. When we left on Saturday morn, the storm had not yet cleared but as we drove on, some blue began to show in the sky, and along with that, clouds began to roll in. I cannot tell you how happy I was about that; I almost felt like a kid on Christmas morning. And they were not just average clouds, they were billowy and plentiful and they filled the entire landscape. It’s not always possible to photograph at sunrise and sunset and sometimes mid-day is your only option. Clouds are your savior under those circumstances and I was blessed to be able to come away with images that I liked….all because of clouds.

 

 

 

Sets

” My sun sets to rise again.” ~ E B Browning

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The Sun Sets over The Bay

 

I spent many an hour here catching crabs and then later, meeting up with friends to do those things teens do 🙂 . It is always fun to go back home but I must say that every trip I return back to LI, I realize more and more that Prescott is now home. Is it because my tastes have changed or because one generally gets more and more used to their environment, whatever that may be?  I am not sure but I suppose it really doesn’t matter. Maybe “home” will change again but I do think it will always be in the West.

But that is the exciting thing about life:everything is subject to change and sometimes without notice.

Billowy

‘If a billowy white cloud exploded, that’d be close to what my love looks like. The only difference is my love has more precipitation. ‘- J Kintz

 

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Billowy Clouds over The High Desert Landscape

This is what epitomizes the Western US for me: vast open land, mountains and clouds as far as the eye can see. It is one thing that I love about the West.  And anyone who knows the landscape here in AZ knows just how green it looks right now, it might not seem to green to others but the grasses here are almost always predominantly yellow. Even the shrubby “trees”look greener due to all the rain.

I drove down to Phoenix yesterday and took this on my way back home. I saw my Dr. down there and found out this intermittent pain I am having in my torso, which can be pretty painful under certain circumstances, is most likely due to a rib that popped out of my ribcage. I did not know a rib could “pop out”! Now I have to go down again next week to have another Dr. pop it back in.  That doesn’t sound very scientific, does it? 🙂

Painted

“Photograph: a picture painted by the sun without instruction in art.”~A Bierce

Painted Desert in Orange
The Painted Desert, painted in mostly hues of orange.

The crazy winter weather of Saturday died down by Sunday and I was left with just wind.  And thankfully, some spectacular clouds. I had a dull sunset on Saturday and those clouds almost made up for it. I was also told by one of the Park Rangers that the colors at The Painted Desert (shown here) were more vibrant on Sunday due to dust being washed off of the rocks by Saturday’s weather.  After all, that must have been a lot of accumulation of dust with the miniscule precipitation we have received here in Arizona over the past few months.

The Petrified Forest National Park was less impressive as the colors are more muted there but the “rocks” on the ground are quite interesting! You can actually see the rings of the tree, the bark and the core inside transformed into what appears to be solid granite.  The petrified wood lies all around, some look like large whole trees fallen to the ground, other pieces are fairly small like mulch. That area was much harder to come up with a satisfying comp than the Painted Desert as it is less interesting photographically speaking.

All in all, I got so see Nature’s beauty, Route 66 kitsch,  abandoned buildings and vintage vehicles on the Mother Road, witnessed a pretty dusting of snow, stood on the corner in Winslow, Arizona (it was an okay sight to see), visited the building where Peter and Dennis were not given a room at the inn in the movie “Easy Rider”and a wolf tried to get into my car window (seriously) …all on one 36 hour trip! The wolf bit….I’ll leave that one for next post. 😉

 

Moon

“And if the cloud bursts thunder in your ear,
You shout and no one seems to hear.
And if the band you’re in starts playing different tunes
I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon. “~Lyrics. Pink Floyd

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The dark and light side of the moon-White Pocket, Vermilion Cliffs National Monument.

Being at White Pocket felt like being on some weird, alien landscape…….maybe the moon, but with gravity to keep you grounded.  It is the most bizarre, dramatically gorgeous and serene place I have ever been. To get there requires a high clearance, 4WD vehicle in order to drive the sandy road and while it is only 8 miles or so long, it takes a good hour to maneuver around jagged rocks, pits in the road and that deep sand. But let me tell you, it is all worth it!

No lights or buildings or people for miles, the stars at night were bright and abundant and I even got to make a wish on a shooting star. I have wanted to go here for years and finally made it last weekend. I only spent less than 24 hours there and the sky was rather flat for the vast majority of that time but I plan on finding a way back there. We camped overnight and in 27* weather, unseasonably cold for April. Even that was worth it to see this unique and wonderful place!

Desert

“The vast desert undulates with almost imperceptible tides like the oceans.”~F Waters

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Ocotillo in a desert vista

I took a hike last week and was hoping that all the yellow daisies would be blooming here but I was a bit early and the only spark of color was the orange ocotillo flowers that top the long, slender branches of this rather strange plant.  It grows fairly tall and drops its leaves if need be in times of drought, looking more like a stick arrangement of some sort as opposed to a living plant.  With the lack of rain we have had this year, I am surprised it has managed to bloom at all.  But the desert flora and fauna reign supreme in one particular area: adaptation.

Deeply

Love Is A Dream

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”~Lao Tzu 

I did this in color, then B&W but for me, this really came together when I did a tighter crop and more post-processing and added a texture.  This was a candid shot but had it not been, I would have done a few things differently . But overall, this has a dreamy quality that I myself love in a photograph, kind of a cross between a photograph and a painting. It makes it look like a fairytale romance. 🙂  And this world can always use a bit more whimsy and romance, don’t you agree? 

Arms

“Love is always open arms. If you close your arms about love you will find that you are left holding only yourself.”~L Buscaglia

I’m normally not one for landscapes in B&W but I am coming to branch out a bit (excuse the pun).  My main issue with B&W is that I adore color but every so often now, I will see something and say to myself, I wonder how that will look in monotone and process it and actually decide that both look fine but I need the change. This image was perfect for that in the sense that there is a lot of texture and layers to it.

But color will always be my first love. ❤

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