Arizona and Utah

I managed two expeditions to the American Southwest this summer in July and August. There are so many photographic subjects there, and with unpredictable weather, it simply takes a lot of time to cover it all.

East of Phoenix are the Superstition Mountains. I was targeting some mountains to the north, but the clouds and lights really weren’t happening there. Fortunately, there was this wonderful scene to the south and the setting sun lit up the mountains and clouds perfectly.

Arizona, Gold, Canyon, Sunset, Desert, Mountains
Golden Sunset : Prints Available

Heading north from Phoenix, it is hard not stop in Sedona, Arizona. These were just a couple of the great images we captured of the beautiful red rocks there.
Arizona, Sedona, Sunrise, Red, Rock
Northern Steps : Prints Available

Arizona, Sedona, Sunrise, Cathedral, Peaks
Stormy Sedona : Prints Available

Continuing north from Sedona, there is the Grand Canyon. The clouds didn’t show up for sunset, so I got some nice images of the shadows deep in the canyon from the South Rim. Moving on to the North Rim of the canyon, I was there for the moon setting over the canyon as the sun rose to the left lighting up the canyon walls. The moon beams were just spectacular.
Arizona, Grand Canyon, National Park, Sunrise, Moonset, Moon, Smoke, Fires
Canyon Moon : Prints Available

Arizona, Grand Canyon, National Park, Sunset, Shadows
Canyon Shadows : Prints Available

East of the Grand Canyon in New Mexico is a very striking mountain known as Ship Rock. I’ve wanted to photograph this for years, but never had good clouds in the forecast. On this trip, there was a thunderstorm forecast to be there on only one afternoon, so the schedule was changed to be there for it. This is exactly the image I was hoping to capture.
New Mexico, Shiprock, Storms, Arizona
Shiprock : Prints Available

Heading back to the west and north up into Utah brought us to Monument Valley. I had been there before, but just never had good clouds at sunrise. It’s one of those places you could shoot every day as it’s always going to be different.
Utah, Monument, Valley, Sunrise, Glow
Mitten Glow : Prints Available

Continuing even further north took us to Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park. I was able to climb all the way up into the top of Double Arch and get a great shot looking south and was rewarded with a rainbow over the mountains. In Canyonlands, I had been after a good image at Dead Horse State Park for years, and finally got the sky that was going to make it work.
Utah, Arches, National  Park, Double, Arch, Rainbow
Doubletake : Prints Available

Utah, Dead Horse, State Park, Red, Rock, Sunrise
Deadhorse Point : Prints Available

Utah has such a diverse landscape from deserts to mountains, but I may be most impressed by some of the desert landscapes. Once again, there wasn’t much weather in the forecast, but we had high hopes for one of the mornings we were in the area near Factory Butte. It’s a bunch of miles out some dirt roads, but this view of the desert at sunrise was just surreal with the mountains and storm in the background. I am going to remember this experience for a very long time.
Utah, Hanksville, Desert, Sunrise, Butte
Desert Buttes : Prints Available

Utah, Hanksville, Sunrise, Desert, Storm, Clouds
Ultimate Sunrise : Prints Available

Back down into northern Arizona, is an area known as White Pocket. It’s about 2.5 hours on dirt roads from the closest town so you have to camp overnight there. It’s been a long time since I have slept on the ground, but it was worth it. These are just a few of the possible compositions that are possible in White Pocket. I can easily see a return trip there.
Arizona, White Pocket, Red Rock, Formation
The View : Prints Available

Arizona, White Pocket, Rock, Formations
Red Swirl : Prints Available
Arizona, White, Pocket, Red, Rock
Bursting : Prints Available

Arizona, White, Pocket, Rock, Formation, Sunrise
The X-Factor : Prints Available

This post is a little long, but covers about 18 days out there shooting during July and August. Stay tuned for more!

Thanks for looking and feel free to share. You can also follow the journey on Facebook for more current photographs that may not be on the blog. https://www.facebook.com/JosephFilerPhotography

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