Wednesday Nov 09, 2011 at 23:06

A visit to Sedona

Surveying Sedona

Alice and I planned a week in Sedona intended to be timed for peak fall colour in Oak Creek Canyon. As things turned out, we never really saw peak colour.

For one, we ended up working rather longer than planned (releasing a new product, finally). Secondly, we were simply too late.

While much of Colorado saw later than usual changes in the aspen (although the Cottonwoods were overall very disappointing), this trend did not appear to extend to Oak Creek.

Nonetheless, by the time the software was out the door, an early season snow storm arrived in town and dropped some very attractive snow overnight on Friday:

Sedona Snow

Sedona Snow (click image for larger view)

Red rock and fresh snow makes for an irresistible combination, and Airport Mesa had attracted a decent group of photographers by early morning.

Following a quick coffee, we headed up Oak Creek, parking at West Fork to take our first look at one of America’s most renowned day-hikes.

Snow at West Fork

Snow at West Fork (click image for larger view)

While peak colour was past, there was still plenty of foliage on the trees to collect the snow.

We didn’t exactly arrive early (around 10am, I think), but the car park was mostly empty – something I found unbelievable. There can be only once in a year at most when there’s fresh snow on late autumn forest (and I imagine in some years, it doesn’t happen at all, with the leaves fallen before the snow arrives). Yet, the usual crowd decided to stay at home. I certainly wasn’t complaining however!

West Fork - Oak Creek

West Fork – Oak Creek (click image for larger view)

Some of the best compositions I found were close to the car park. There is a good variety of trees there and plenty of space to find different juxtapositions of rock and trees, including some colour hanging on the face of the snow:

Last Call

Last Call (click image for larger view)

After a largely lazy afternoon, we hung around Upper Red Rock Road to see if the light would break over Cathedral Rock. It did not, but at the last, the sun escaped between the clouds and Woodchute Mountain to the west:

Last Blast

Last Blast (click image for larger view)

We made it to a suitable spot with seconds to spare. I think I ran a 400m personal best back to the car from my tripod, having chosen the wrong lens. I’m sure many people think of landscape photography as a sleepy pastime, but no, to paraphrase Steve Jobs, it exists at the intersection of art, technology and sport!

Stephen · Wednesday, November 09, 2011, 23:06 · Permalink

2 comments on this post


20:16 9 Dec 2011

Max Scott said:

Nicely done Stephen. I enjoyed your composition, the light enahnced the delivery of your photographs. I have not followed your work previously but now you may count me as one of your followers. I look forward to your future postings!


14:28 29 Jan 2014

Scott Monroe said:

Great photos. I’m going to be in the Phoenix area in February and think I will drive up and check out Sedona. As far as the 400m record goes, I know what you mean…
Personal best mile this year on level pavement: 5:45
Personal best mile this year in sand up and down hills at Horseshoe Bend after realizing AZs lack of daylight savings time has screwed up sunset time on you iPhone and your about to miss it your only day there : 5:00 flat

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