Thursday, March 24, 2011

Alstrom Point

It was a place I had heard about for a long time but had never visited. Our trip to Page Arizona was to feature Lower and Upper Antelope Canyons and trying to get to hike to "The Wave". Everything else was optional including Horseshoe bend and Alstrom Point. (We had as much luck with "The Wave" lottery as I do with PowerBall even the odds are much better, we lost.)

On Tuesday we spend 6 hours in the Antelope Canyons, 4 in Lower and 2 in Upper. It was a magical time. We got out of Upper around 5:00pm and since the sun set after 7:30 we decided to head over to Alstrom Point for sunset.

As we were driving out there, it's a long drive, I kept looking at the sun thinking we weren't going to make it but since I'd never been there I wasn't sure so we continued on. As we got closer it became obvious something was wrong.

Before getting to the Point the sun had already set but all was not lost. Before the actual end of the point there is an overlook were we decided to stop. That was a really good decision. The sandstone cliffs lite up with a warm glow that just captivated me. The water was a deep blue and the view before my eyes was just awesome. I told Travis we should return the next night.

Wednesday we decided to drive out Cottonwood Canyon Road for half a day then drive out to Alstrom Point the second half. The drive to Alstrom Point is quite interesting by itself. You feel like you're driving thru a moonscape and the boulders that strew the landscape having fallen from the adjacent buttes are just huge.

But today we got to Alstrom Point with plenty of time to spare. As expected the road to the end was very rough. I bought a new Subaru Forester just for this type of road and it served me well. You definitely need a high clearance all-wheel drive vehicle if you plan to go see this spectacular place.

We found the perfect location at the very end of the bluff. We were also lucky to have this whole place to ourselves where quietness ruled. While we go out to places like this to make images we don't loose sight of the beauty around us. When the shooting was done we just sat on the edge of the point and marveled at what was in from of us. There was no sign of man, well the lake is a sign of man, but no man-made structures that you so often see.

I will definitely return, maybe next December.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Day at Antelope Canyon

Since I discovered Antelope Canyon in December of 2009 it has been a goal to get back as soon as possible. When Travis and I were planning our trip to Nebraska to shoot the Sandhill cranes I figured this was the time. So after shooting the cranes we headed west to Page, Arizona. Yesterday we spent the day shooting both Lower and Upper Antelope Canyon. Here are a few images from the day.

We shot Lower Antelope Canyon during mid-day from 10:00am to 2:00pm. The 4 hour photographer pass gives one a good amount of time in the canyon but it just doesn't seem long enough. The first four images are from this trip thru the canyon.

After doing Lower we headed across the highway to the parking lot for Upper. After a bite to eat we headed up the wash with a guide around 3:30 in the afternoon. The canyon was quite dark given the time of day we visited but it was light that I really liked. The subtle light accented the darkness of the canyon. Upper is darker inside than Lower and I like my images to reflect that quality.

The following four images are from Upper Antelope Canyon.

This next December I will be traveling thru Page again on my way out to California for Christmas. Guess where I'll be stopping.


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Anne, Shelley, Travis and I Snowshoeing

The morning started off really cold, relatively speaking, it was -4F. We got up for sunrise which did not disappoint. Anne had wanted to hike to this waterfall only she knew about, something she'd wanted to do for a long time. So she invited Shelley, Travis and I to go along.

We're trying to figure out which way to go. Good thing Anne was with us to guide us in the right direction.

One of the many cool things about hiking with Shelley is her eye. She is always seeing things on the side of the trail to investigate. (She used to be a photographer too)

This is one of the things she found. Don't have a clue what it is though but it's kinda cool.

When in doubt follow an animal track. Speaking of animals we saw 2 wolves as we were hiking this road. I wasn't fast enough to get a shot of them plus they were a ways in front of us. Travis got a decent shot though, he usually does (-;).

Notice how Anne's wooden snowshoes are about as long as she is tall? We're just standing around taking in the day. Did I mention the day was spectacular for a snowshoe hike.

Did someone bring a bottle of wine along? If they did I didn't see it, darn !!

Travis and Shelley stopping for a pose.

Shelley animating while Travis decided it's time to move along. Shelley and I tended to lag behind Anne and Travis. Actually I didn't see much of Anne since she led the way. Shelley is a walking encyclopedia about Ojibwe customs and history. As we walked along she told me about how the Indians would pick up small pieces of birch bark as the walked along. When it came time to start a fire, which they did regularly, they wouldn't have to go looking for kindling, they already had it. She also told me when they found dead logs in the forest they'd lean then up against a tree so the wood would dry instead of rot. When they needed firewood it was ready to go.

One one occasion when we were stopped I heard this popping. We both investigated and found a nearby birch tree popping every once in a while. It was just like it was growing right before our ears. It was quite exciting for me since I rarely hear things like that in the forest with my poor hearing. It was also really wild to actually hear a tree actually growing.

See I told you. It was a very beautiful day.

Those snowshoes of Annes are really great on the flat snow. But I was up on a little hill that needed some grippers on the bottom of the snowshoe to get the traction needed for climbing. Well Anne needed to find another way around the obstacles in the river.

I think Shelley needed a little rest so she plopped down on her back. No, actually she decided to back up which doesn't work so good when the back of your snowshoes digs into the snow and stops while your body keeps going. Oh but the snow is soft.

We ended up turning back before we got to the falls. There was so much junk in the stream bed we decided it was best to turn around. So we hiked back to our car, actually Travis truck, and went back to Annes place where she cooked us a very nice meal. Anne is heading to Nashville to pursue her dream in the music business and before we left she treated us by singing a couple of songs she wrote. Thanks Anne.

It was a beautiful day with beautiful people.