Monday, October 29, 2012

I can see for miles and miles and miles

My dog is eyeing my like a piece of raw steak. She's been weird all day, starting with stress eating when she woke up. My dog doesn't eat breakfast until 7 p.m. That's just the way she rolls. But today she's had three squares already and now looks like she is about to feast on my flesh. So before CT falls into the Long Island Sound thanks to Sandy and before I become Neko's dessert, I may as well post some more Arizona photos. I have some catching up to do as I make some survival soup.

As much as I love to stop 100 times along the roads I travel, sometimes you just need to get there. So I end up taking photos through windshields. A lot. And sometimes I get lucky. Here are some images that happened through the Jeep Wrangler windshield, while we hurled through space and time to get to our amazing b&b. Arizona has the prettiest sunsets, even when gi-gantaur trucks jump into my frames.
Heading into Flagstaff...
I don't think I could ever get tired of the pastels covering the mountains as the sun goes to sleep.
I loved these clouds as they lead us to Flagstaff.
You're never supposed to divide a photo in half because it's awkward and boring, but I am trying to break away from rules that make me stuck. So I enjoyed these soft colors instead.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Up in flames

It's hard to imagine just how hot the desert had to be to turn a forest into glass. But it happened. Sleep with one eye open when you're in Arizona. You never know what may happen or when it will all go up in flames.

The above photo is a prime example of why I don't like to photograph at high noon. The light is icky and harsh. There are no pretty elongated shadows to play with. And the desert was hot as hell. I guess I am starting to imagine how these trees felt when their apocalypse was upon them. If this happens again I wonder what will become glass a bra-jillion years from now?  What will they learn about us from it? Will our trash get crystalized? Will we have a petrified iphone forest? Yikes. 

Below is the inside of a tree. How?On?Earth?Did?This?Happen?

Tiff runs into another grassland dimension. (Into the illegal part of the park! Uh oh! We do what we want!)

And closing with my favorite photo from this mini's a fave mostly because of the color of the sky against the burnt color of the petrified bark.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Somewhere between Phoenix and Flagstaff there exists a place called Sunset Point. Really it's just a fancy name for a much needed rest stop out in the middle of nowhere. Lucky for Tiff and I, I have to pee like every 15 minutes so we pulled over at this lovely place. And it just so happened to be near sunset time. Hello golden hour, come to me, fall in my lap like magic. The couple taking a photo in the background of this photo was pretty excited about our future travels and told us about some places not to miss. The gentleman's wife has been in a lot of pain and this was the first time she was able to walk with him to watch the sun fall behind the mountains. He usually just takes photos to show her this place.

I don't care about what's in this photos, except for the color and shadows.

This is what I call a hipster photo. It just is. I don't know what the point it. But it's pretty to look at and I am attempting to get over my strict "rule of thirds" framing.
I'm extremely uncomfortable looking at a camera while being photographed, so I do things like this.
You know you have a good travel companion when she suggests sticking around for nature's free light show at a random Arizona truck stop even though we've been traveling over 13 hours.
                                                                   What time is it?

I can see for miles and miles...

Sundown at Sunset Point.

Tiff, doing her fancy camera thang.

                 I finish with my favorite image from our little rest stop on the side of highway 17.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Up, up, up

There's something you need to know about me. I take dares seriously, as some of you have learned after some very interesting survey questions I've answered. (Totally unrelated to hiking...) So when someone says they don't think I can do something or don't think I want a physical challenge, competitive-I'm-going-to-prove-you-wrong-Lauren rears her head. Tiff thought her dad and I wouldn't want to do a challenging hike up Cathedral Rock. Wrong, wrong, wrong. "I really want to climb that!" Her dad chimed in too. We were ready for this rock. It seemed small enough. And I thought the view from the top would be pretty fantastic. And so begins our little trek up Cathedral Rock.
Looks pretty flat...
But it's not. Let's climb up the butt crack of this thing!
And maybe it was a little steep in some spots. I started to worry about getting down at this point. But I had my pack mule with me, and some pretty thick pants, great for butt sliding.
Half way up...
And some more climbing...The rock cairns mark the "trail."
An hour later, some hikers look out from the top of the trail. (Squint those pretty little eyes of yours. They're small. Not small like midgets, small like far away.)
The magical view from the top...Can you see Tiff???
Every photographer yearns for the magic hour. It's that time when the light is nice and soft. Before sunup and during sundown. We were lucky to climb this rock as the sun was about to crest behind the mountains.
Dramatic shadows are cast everywhere. I thought I was going to die from all my photo options. There was something beautiful to shoot in each direction.
I'm going to guess that a bunch of my friends want to climb this thing.
There's a mini Tiff on that ledge!
Ahhhhhh, the magic hour, or golden hour. Dreamy.
So many of my photos have more sky in them than anything else. You can barely do that in New England...The infinite sky is hard to ignore in Arizona.
Another freaking rock... =)
The way down was a wee bit on the scary side. Lean into the rock...
And we made it! Unharmed. Praise.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Into the great wide open

Whenever I have the opportunity to travel somewhere, I go. It's been a policy of mine since college. No vacation time? No plan? You just make it work. So when Tiff asked me to go to Arizona with her I jumped at the offer despite knowing nothing about the area we were headed to. I had been to Phoenix before, to see about a girl and a photo workshop. The girl lead to heartbreak, but the workshop ended up scoring me a newspaper job for a couple years. Phoenix seemed like the pit of hell back then. Decrepit mattresses littered the side of the highway the whole way to Tucson. It seemed like a place no one cared about.
I didn't know what to expect out of this trip. Will AZ still seem depressing and empty to me? Or will I find a quiet place to shoot my little heart out? It turned out to be the best place to shoot, whether it was out of a bug encrusted windshield or while skirting the edge of some scary-ass cliff in the Grand Canyon. This trip did not disappoint. I joked with Tiff "yeah, yeah here are some more f*cking rocks," but in reality it was some of the most beautiful scenery I'd ever taken in.
We heard from our B&B owner at The Inn at 410 that if we went to the Grand Canyon we shouldn't miss Shoshone Point. It had no sign. He told us the mile markers to search between, told us to find a plain dirt parking lot without mention of anything. It sounded a little suspicious to my New England mentality, but what the hell? Tiff and I always find great adventures. They practically fall into our lap when we are together. After a mile of walking on a nondescript dirt path through the woods, we came upon this:
There were only two other people when we got there. A woman was sitting cross legged staring out to the canyon as her counterpart scaled a rock that jutted out into the abyss.
Tiff and I were like little school girls running off in different directions to get the best photos. Sometimes coming together for silly self timer shots.
The rain came and went, but left behind some pretty cool drops.
We continued on to some more touristy spots in the canyon and found this:
I wonder what percentage of frat boys fall to their deaths while posing on a cliff's edge?
My boots at the end of the Earth...
As a photographer, I constantly worry about light. Will we arrive at noontime when the light is at its suckiest? Will we have enough time to see sunset? The lighting was tricky, overcast in some areas, overly bright in other spots. We did arrive around noon, but we were there long enough to find this spot of light peeping through the clouds.
Moments like that come and go and hopefully I'm mindful enough to see them when they're thrown in front of me.