On March 9th I set out for Sedona Arizona to check out the famous Red Rock country and relax in the warm weather of that area. First stop was to capture one of the most photographed sites in Sedona, Cathedral Rock, at sunset. We managed to get to a good spot to view and wait for the sunset and it was a great clear sunny day which made things easy to get the shot. I have been here before and experienced better color but all in all it was not a waste of time by any stretch of the imagination.
The next day we tried several different trails, first to Devils Bridge and then to Oak Creek Canyon, both of these were interrupted by Oak Creek which was icy cold and too deep to cross and travel the trails. There were many hikers who tried and failed to make it on the trail so we turned back and looked for any trail which did not need you to cross Oak Creek. We finally managed to try Fay Canyon, while this was a nice hike photographing in a steep canyon does not provide much room to position yourself and get many angles to shoot from so it seemed that you were always looking up at the red cliffs and trying to get across how huge and spectacular they are.
From a photographic perspective it was not anything I would rave about but overall I did enjoy the hiking and the warm weather and hope to go back again to get to Devils Bridge and Oak Creek Canyon.
After my adventure at Bosque del Apache, I took off the next day (February 26th) to check out White
Sands National Monument in Alamogordo new Mexico. I arrived at 8:30 AM and since the Visitor Center doesn’t open until 9:00 AM, I drove along Dune Drive to check out the dunes. I discovered two of the four hiking areas, (Playa Trail and Dunes Life Nature Trail) were closed to visitors due to work being done in those areas. The Drive is only eight miles long so I checked out the scenery along the road and found that most of the dunes were being walked on and many people were sledding down the dunes. I decided the big trail at the end of the Drive, Alkali Trail, would probably be the best place to photograph during the end of the day. I would have to schedule my photography so that I could be out of the park when it closes at 6:30 PM.
The Alkali Trail is 4.6 miles round trip and is a bit strenuous walking up and down the dunes but it is spectacular as there are very few people along the trail. was extemely windy on this day and was told that it normally is at this time of year. Since I felt this was my first trip and it was exploratory I only took one lens, my 24 – 120 zoom lens and did not take a tripod. The landscape is spectacular and during the time 4:30 to 6:00 PM there were many changes in the light with the sun going down. From bright blue skies:
I would definitely come back again and focus on the Alkali Trail, bring a tripod and more than one lens. This is by far the trail to take as it is far more picturesque and I believe that sunrise must be well worth being here for.
Since I had a great time and learned a lot about bird photography on my trip to Bosque del Apache, I decided to venture there again in late February (the 25th) for another chance to get more photographs of the birds. Sunrise was scheduled for 6:37 AM and I arrived at 6:00 AM only to discover that the preserve was absent of photographers and birds. I later discovered that due to a poor corn crop and frozen ponds the birds had left by the early part of January. I was faced with a few scattered ducks and Canadian Geese on the main pond by the Flight Deck. It was a calm day with a nice sunrise and I tried to make the best of the situation taking advantage of the pond reflections.
and the few Canadian Geese that were available.
Went back again at sundown to see if any birds might return to roost for the night but there was really nothing worth photographing. The visitor center indicated that even in a good situation most of the birds would have been gone by mid February. So If you want to have the best experience when Visiting Bosque del Apache first call the refuge at 575-835-1828 to check conditions there and try to go between the beginning of December and mid January.