Search

gottatakemorepix

Tag

Grand Canyon

All Time Favorites

I’ve been crazy busy lately, so I’m trying to get caught up here.  In the final installment of the Daily Post Photo Challenge, they put up the topic of All-Time Favorites.  While I have posted some favorites before, these are mostly new to my blog.  I purchased my first real camera over 40 years ago, and moved into large format 5 years after that.  I have some favorites from way back then, and some that have made the ranks within the last year.  Choosing definitive favorites throughout the collection would be impossible, so here are a few from the top of my lists in various categories.

Living in the desert, flowers are a limited subject for me.  The top photo comes from the North Rainbow Trail along the Arizona-Utah border.  We had just dropped into a canyon whose entire bottom was layers of sandstone, when I spotted several Indian Paintbrush in bloom.  Who needs soil anyway?

One of the difficulties in photographing poppies is that they open up when the sun is stronger, then close by the end of the day.  Secondly, they appear in surroundings that are often not very photogenic.  Then, if those two come together, there’s the third variable of decent light.  I think I hit the trifecta when I photographed these poppies in the late afternoon, below a saguaro cactus studded hillside in the desert east of Phoenix, Arizona.  Just as I was setting up, a thin wave of clouds moved in as though someone were pulling a fine lace curtain over the desert.

Saguaro, cactus, poppies, Arizona, desert, spring flowers, Steve Bruno

Although I’m partial to the desert, my travels have not been limited to the warmer regions.  Anyone who has been to the Rocky Mountains in summer knows that you can almost set your watch by the afternoon thunderstorms.  On this mostly clear day, somewhere south of Telluride, I captured this favorite mountain scene as the sun was getting low.

Telluride, Colorado, Rocky Mountains, forest, mountains, Steve Bruno, landscape photography

While the desert does contain a few, there are better chances of finding waterfalls in the mountains.  I think I always had a special place for this one because it was the first time I was able to get behind the falls without getting a wet lens.  Oh, and the light is pretty good, too!  From Rifle Falls, Colorado.

Rifle Falls, Colorado, waterfall, Rocky Mountains, gottatakemorepix

Another place having thunderstorms with clocklike predictability is southeastern Arizona.  While spending a couple very wet afternoons on Mount Graham, I woke up very early the last morning to capture the sunrise coming up over a fog-filled Safford Valley.  I have seen hundreds of sunrises and sunsets from beautiful locations, but this one still ranks high.

sunrise, sunset, mountains, Arizona, Steve Bruno, landscape photography

Seeing mountains from an aerial perspective can be breathtaking, but often too distant to see great detail.  However, mountains and commercial airplanes in close proximity is a bad thing.  Many routes out of Seattle pass close to Mount Rainier.  I was fortunate on this almost cloud free winter Seattle day (yes that sounds like an oxymoron) to capture one of my favorites from an airplane.

Mount Rainier, Washington, National Park, aerial photography, Steve Bruno

While many tend to think of Arizona as hot and dry, there are a few riparian zone gems to be found.  One of them, West Clear Creek, is a photographer’s paradise, as well as a great place to escape the heat.  This is one of my favorites for reflections, and pretty high on the list for canyon photographs.

West Clear Creek, Mogollon Rim, Arizona, reflection, Steve Bruno

The reason it could not take top honors for canyon favorites is because of the next place.  I have hundreds of Grand Canyon photos from various trips, and have seen many different faces that it puts on, but there’s nothing like being in the bottom and really appreciating its scale.

Grand Canyon, National Park, Arizona, Colorado River, Marble Canyon, Steve Bruno

Water in the desert is special, but certainly not the norm.  The counterpart to creeks and rivers would probably have to be sand dunes.  This is truly impossible to pick a favorite, so here is one I have posted before.  From Death Valley at sunrise, I have never seen arcing ridges like these at other dunes I have visited.

sand dunes, Death Valley, National Park, California, desert, sunrise, landscape photography

Q:  When is a wave not made of water, sound or light?  (No, it’s not one of The Riddlers questions for Batman)

A:  When it’s an illusion made of sand at my feet in Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada.  While hiking in a remote part of the park following a flood, the higher ground had dried while the area that had a deeper pool was still damp.  Abstracts are one of my favorite subjects, and this one definitely tops the list.

Valley Of Fire, wave, sand, abstract, Steve Bruno

I’m always looking for detail shots of nature that just show how delicate and beautiful the world can be.  This photo didn’t have any runner-ups to compete with on my list.  Also from Valley of Fire, I simply call this one “Layers”

Valley Of Fire, State Park, Nevada, sandstone, red rock, gottatakemorepix

Despite all the time I’ve spent photographing nature, with many great days, I have one that I still refer to as best day ever.  I left Las Vegas around 3 in the morning to head to Zion National Park.  I arrived just in time to get a glimpse of sunrise hitting the freshly snow covered mountains.  Once I started photographing, there was something to capture my attention around every corner.  Despite great light in the middle of the day, I had to force myself to go down to Springdale for some lunch before returning to keep clicking all the way until the sun went down.  I don’t think there were more than 20 people in the park all day long, and the rangers said they had never seen that much snow before.  Somehow, with the lack of people, I came across one scene that was up about two miles along a trail that someone had walked in the middle of for no apparent reason.  It was the most surreal image I had seen that day, and I was cringing because someone walked through it.  This was slightly pre-Photoshop, and if I had any idea of the changes that were about to happen, I would have captured that image and waited for technology to catch up.  I have no “outtakes” from that day.  If I had a digital camera, I can only imagine the volume of images I would have taken.  Perhaps it was the time-consumption of each setting with a large format camera that placed me in the right moment as I approached the next location at the perfect time.  One of my early morning shots made a cover of a national magazine, but the truth is they’re all favorites, so here’s one the world hasn’t necessarily seen yet.

Zion, National Park, Utah, winter, landscape photography, Steve Bruno

Monochrome Madness: MM 192

Most visitors to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon see the forests of the Kaibab Plateau upon entering and exiting the park.  The plateau drops off sharply on either side, and much of the land north of the Grand Canyon is vast, wide open desert.  On one of my trips to the west side of the plateau, I set out across the desert, mostly following one wash.  Above one side of the wash, I found this lonely boulder with an opening beneath it, and the late afternoon sun perfectly highlighting the grasses and other textures beneath it.

This is my contribution to Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness this week.  To see what other photographers have contributed, or instructions to join in, please visit Leanne’s website.

Monochrome Madness: MM4-15

A large part of the land in the southwestern US is by definition, a desert.  A couple times during the year, weather patterns shift, and much needed rain covers the desert, often in volumes too excessive to benefit the land.  One of those times is happening now.  The summer rainy season, or monsoon season, can make travel tricky or unsafe at times, but can also make for tremendous lighting conditions.  In the case of the rainwater pools, above, all the smaller ones usually evaporate within a day.  The larger ones can remain for weeks, providing water for the wildlife through drier times.

This spot is in the western Grand Canyon.  The Esplanade Sandstone layer is riddled with these water collecting depressions and can be seen through lengthy, though not necessarily difficult hikes.  This is my contribution to Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness with the theme of Season.  To see what other photographers have contributed, or instructions to join in, please visit her website.

WPC: Graceful

A 2000 pound animal graceful?  Are you kidding?

There are 2 places in Arizona where you can find buffalo.  One of them, House Rock Valley Ranch, has no fences.  The Grand Canyon, Kaibab Plateau, and Vermillion Cliffs all form a natural perimeter.  With that much land to cover, don’t expect coming here for animal sightings.

On my first visit to House Rock Valley, I had my brother and his daughter along.  She got excited when she saw the sign about the buffalo ranch, but we let her know about the vastness of the property so her hopes were not too high.  We drove many miles out to where we set up camp overlooking Marble Canyon, then drove back slightly for another overlook.  When we came across a road junction which we had crossed not more than an hour before, there were 5 buffalo standing in the road.  Collectively, they easily outweighed my vehicle, so we just sat and watched.  After a minute or so, they got bored with the standoff, and started to move along the side of the road.  We drove slowly beside them, and then they picked up their pace.  We matched them.  They continued to pick up their pace, at which point I noticed we were driving 35mph.  We were on a fairly smooth road, they weren’t!  After about a minute of running with the herd, they peeled away until we lost sight of them.

A few years later I returned to House Rock Valley.  This time was specifically to cover the buffalo, and unfortunately, it was hunting season.  The herd’s numbers are maintained, and only a handful of permits are issued each year.  These buffalo know when it’s hunting season, and become scarce.  Rising from the valley at about a 45 degree angle, the Kaibab Plateau has some twisting, sheer walled canyons.  The buffalo traverse these canyons like bighorn sheep, and the hunters can’t follow. I met with the manager of the ranch, and he was full of information about these animals.  One story he relayed was about the animals’ ability to leave no trace.  There are no reliable water sources here, so they have placed water tanks about in several spots.  In hunting season, the buffalo will enter from one side, then step on a rock or clump of grass, get their drink, walk around to the other side of the tank, all the while being selective as to where they step, and not leave a track within ten feet.  Is it any wonder these animals were so revered by Native Americans?

WPC: Magic

When I shot with a film camera, I always used the slowest, finest grained film.  I would mostly shoot in the early or late parts of the day, and when moving water was the subject, this meant getting a blurred, dream-like effect.  I always thought this was a magical look to the waterfalls or streams.

I’ve been to many national parks and other special places in the country, but there’s one place that has always stood out.  In the Havasupai Indian Reservation in the western part of the Grand Canyon, you will hike a canyon that is similar to the others in the region, but once you come to the first of many waterfalls, this canyon takes on a magical feeling.

For this week’s Daily Post Challenge of Magic, waterfalls in Havasu Canyon.

WPC: Mirror

This week’s Daily Post Challenge theme is Mirror, and as with many bloggers, I have photos of calm bodies of water. Who can resist pointing the camera towards nature’s reflections?  Those weren’t the only ones I came across, and I realized I have more of these than I initially thought I would.  Here are some of my favorites.

I usually had my camera along with the dogs out for an excursion, and in these shots, I noticed some reflections.

In modern buildings, the glass surfaces almost always offer a mirrored image, and here are a couple favorites from Calgary, Alberta.

With that much volume of water in motion, large rivers seem like an unlikely place to find a mirrored surface. Despite that, early morning on the Colorado River in Marble Canyon in Grand Canyon, Arizona can look like this.

Colorado River reflections in Marble Canyon, Grand Canyon National Park - Steve Bruno - gottatakemorepix

In my backyard (relatively speaking), I have a couple spots I enjoy hiking in Red Rock Canyon, where I came across these mirrored surfaces.

One of my favorite places that I’ve ever hiked, West Clear Creek in Arizona, usually has a breeze moving through the canyon.  Early mornings can be very calm, and pools can be glasslike.

Mountain lakes with reflections appear to have proliferated my files without me being aware of it.  Here are some in that category.

One image that always made me look twice was this one from Coyote Buttes.  There is no water or reflection here, but I felt like the illusion was there.

Coyote Buttes, The Wave - Steve Bruno - gottatakemorepix

I have one photo of an actual mirror. This is the MMT (Multiple Mirror Telescope) at the Whipple Observatory on Mount Hopkins, Arizona.  During daylight, this telescope dish is tilted down and pointing northward.  This was around the summer solstice, and at sunset, when the sun was at its furthest point north.  As I walked by, this cool mountain air had a hotspot about 20 degrees warmer from the sun just grazing the edge of this dish array.  I can’t imagine the destruction if this thing were aimed in the slightest degree towards the sun.

MMT at Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory, Arizona - Steve Bruno - gottatakemorepix

Finally, a little bit about the featured image.  That’s Saguaro Lake, on the outskirts of Phoenix, Arizona.  It’s usually a crowded place, especially in summertime.  This happened to be in winter, after a couple days of rain.  It’s a fairly sizeable body of water, and this reflection has to be a rare moment, and the absence of people, even rarer.  This photo will always have a special place in my memories.  It was the first one I ever had published.

WPC: Opposites

This week’s Daily Post Challenge is Opposites, which presents many possibilities.  The above shot was taken on the Navajo Indian Reservation, and doesn’t need an explanation.

Not far from there, I spent a day at the Grand Canyon where it was fogged in.  At one point its opposite, complete sunshine, made an appearance on the distant cliffs.

Foggy Grand Canyon

When you have a positive and negative charge, you get a spark.  Opposing charges created in the magnitude of a thunderstorm produce lightning.

lightning 03

 

In northern Michigan, land and water come together in a serene setting.

Lake Superior

Mid-week Mixings: Jacob Canyon

The start of autumn in Jacob Canyon, in Kaibab National Forest, northern Arizona. Photo by Steve Bruno.
The start of autumn in Jacob Canyon, in Kaibab National Forest, northern Arizona. Photo by Steve Bruno.

There are places where it seems you have to fight for elbow room to get your photographs, nowadays.  Most national parks come to mind, but even those have room to venture about, unless you’re looking for that classic shot.  In autumn, places like the Maroon Bells in Colorado, and Oak Creek Canyon in Arizona are just as packed as any national park in peak season.

I’ve always liked finding hidden gems, and this place, Jacob Canyon, certainly comes to mind.  In between Grand Canyon, Zion, and Bryce, there’s little chance of it becoming a destination for many.  The canyon runs for some distance, and is a great place to just get out and walk in the fresh air.  The area that the leaves change is quite condensed, as the forest is dominated by ponderosa pines.  To me, its main beauty is that I can have the place to myself most days of the year.

WPC: Boundaries

As I travelled through airports last week, it occurred to me that the image I wanted for this week’s challenge was right in front of me.  Of course I’m talking about the post 9/11 boundary that makes getting to the airport early a necessity.  It seems that it wasn’t very long ago that greeting arriving guests at the gate was the norm.  Nowadays, not even the bottle of water you’re consuming in front of security can pass this boundary.

I’ve had a little time to go through other shots in my files, and have found a few more that seem to fit the challenge.

Once believed to be beyond our reach, we’ve set foot on the moon.  Even though that has been a few decades, we continue to further our exploration of space.

Blood Moon 01-Steve Bruno

Human minds pushing their current boundaries of the understanding of science will be the reason we might eventually reach beyond our solar system.  As much as our minds have the potential to break boundaries, some choose to believe in limits, which are often self-induced.  Photo of sculpture in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Calgary-Steve Bruno-Wire Frame Sculpture

This one doesn’t need an explanation.  There’s no need to go beyond this boundary.  How much closer do you need to get?

Bison Tourist-Steve Bruno

Lastly, if you look closely in the center of the shot, you will see a hiker at the canyon rim boundary.

South Canyon-Steve Bruno

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Boundaries.”

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑