August is definitely the time to be in the Southwest with the high likelihood of great clouds and storms. The goal was to capture some great images and I was thrilled with my success.
After flying in to Phoenix, the plan was to spend one night in Sedona and capture one sunset and one sunrise image. For sunset, I headed south to Oak Creek to get a different view of the iconic Cathedral Rocks. At the end of a road that seemed to be going nowhere, I came across this scene with the old wooden fence with Cathedral Rocks in the background.
It may have been photographed before, but I had not seen it and decided this was where I would plant myself and wait for the soft, warm light of the setting sun behind me. The billowing cloud behind the Rocks made it all come together.
For sunrise, I took a chance. Cathedral Rocks have been photographed from the Slickrock Trail many times at the end of the day, but based on where the sun was going to rise to the left of them, I thought sunrise might work pretty well.
I hiked out pre-dawn, was the only one there and got the camera down low in position for the reflection in the water that was in the depression in the rock. Many images were taken, but this was the one that had the best clouds and sky. I hiked back to the car knowing it was going to be good.
From Sedona, it was on to the Grand Canyon. The forecast did not look good for storms, but I know that can always change. I spent the first couple of days going to every overlook and learning how they would work at different times of the day.
I wanted to be able to make the right decision as to where to go for sunrise or sunset based on the clouds and what I could see on the radar images. The storms finally came and I somehow managed to be in the right place and not be struck by lightning.
The Grand Canyon is one of the most difficult places I have ever had the pleasure to photograph. This trip allowed me to learn a great deal about it. I’m already thinking about going back next August.
Next up will be Southwest Colorado for fall color scenes. It is an area that I truly love going to and have learned so much about. I’m crossing my fingers for healthy fall color and some snow on the mountains!
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