What If There Is No More?


In the fall of 2012 I was hiking the West Fork Trail in Oak Creek Canyon just north of Sedona, Arizona photographing fall color.  It is the most popular trail in the state and during the fall, a premier location to see all the yellow, orange and red leaves.

As I was hiking and photographing the fall color, there were a couple of pro photographers that I kept “running into”.  I heard one of them complaining about how that shot had been done 500 times and that shot had been done 500 times and so on.  I kept trying to move faster along the trail to get away from this negative attitude.  I wanted to say, maybe 500 times before, but not 500 times today with this light and this color.  I chose to keep quiet and continued moving along.

Later that afternoon as I was hiking back to the trailhead, there were three young gentlemen hiking and one was smoking a cigarette.  At first I thought it was a bit of an oxymoron, hiking in this beautiful forest and smoking.  My next thought was that the cigarette could start a fire so easily and this could all be gone.

At the time I was reading InGenius by Tina Seelig and trying to come up with six words that described my life. I had left the corporate world several months before and was exploring my creative side and spending as much time as possible photographing nature not knowing where my life was headed.  I  just knew that I wanted to spend time doing photography and would just let life happen.  Six words came to mind after the above encounters, what if there is no more.  At the time that was kind of how I was living my life.  I didn’t want to wait until retirement age to explore my creative side, besides, what if I don’t live that long?  But that’s a whole other story.

Tonight there is a fire burning out of control in Oak Creek Canyon just north of Slide Rock State Park and just south of the West Fork Trail.  As of the 10 p.m. news, about 500 acres have burned and growing with 0% containment and winds gusting to 30 mph.  One of the most beautiful areas in the state could be gone.  People have been evacuated from their homes and campsites. I was actually planning on driving up there early next week to photograph the wildflowers along the trail.  I highly doubt that will happen.  While listening to the news I was reminded of the two encounters along the West Fork Trail back in the fall of 2012 and those six words, what if there is no more.  The forest could be gone and would take years for new growth.  So all those photos that have been made 500 times, let’s hope that they can be taken another 500 times or even a million times!

So no matter how many times an area has been photographed, make your own image.  Every day the light will be different giving you the opportunity to make your own image and tell your own story.  It doesn’t matter how many times that iconic or classic shot has been taken or what camera you are using.

When I started this blog in June 2013 I was trying to think of a title.  And the title was almost “What If There Is No More?”

For now, I leave you with a gallery of images made along the West Fork Trail.  You can click on each image to see a larger version.



17 thoughts on “What If There Is No More?

  1. karengadient

    Totally agree. Each moment is unique and a treasure to be captured as memory and a note in history.

  2. Nancy

    Every shot that is taken… is a beautiful shot. Time after time! and YES… I am praying for that fire to STOP now! Praying for all the people in it’s path and for all the life and vegetation in it’s path.

  3. pkphotooftheday

    This is a beautiful collection with each one being of amazing quality and creatively captured. I appreciate your writing about taking time to treasure the natural surroundings, even those that have been photographed thousands of times. Thank you for your wonderful post.

    1. tbeckerphotos Post author

      Thank you for such a lovely compliment! It was a story I had planned on telling and had forgotten about until yesterday. It seemed like the perfect time to tell it!


  4. mrsbearfoot

    All beautiful images, but the one you titled “Iconic” has to be my favorite.

    We saw the news tonight about the Slide fire. Breaks our hearts! And yesterday heard that I-17 was closed at Sunset Point because an RV caught fire.

    I agree – take those shots – some day the scene may no longer be there and you’ll have your own piece of history.

    Praying that the fires are under control very soon.


    1. tbeckerphotos Post author

      It’s so sad and devastating. The fire has grown to 4500 acres with 0% containment. There have been reports that the fire reached West Fork and also that it jumped West Fork. Too soon to know what has burned. There are 3000 people that have been notified for pre-evacuation. The big boy, DC10 is at the Mesa airport waiting for the winds to calm so it can drop 12,000 gallons of retardant.

      With almost no precipitation this winter, the state is so dry and most likely a long fire season ahead.

      My photo “Iconic” was submitted for this week’s Friday Fotos theme, Sedona. I have submitted it before, but it’s never been published. Maybe this will be the week!


  5. seekraz

    Such beautiful photographs…stunning…and sharing a part of Arizona with which I am just now becoming familiar. I haven’t been to the location where the Slide Fire took place, but I was just up in the area of where the Fisher Fire burned this past April…north of Marshall Lake on the way to Fisher Point. It’s amazing how much green there is in the area already…it’s comforting, actually…but the charred remains of huge, fallen trees and the blackened trunks of still-standing trees were grim reminders of the destruction that our “human caused” negligence can wreak in such a beautiful area.

    Again, a wonderful post….thank you for sharing your treasures. 🙂

    1. tbeckerphotos Post author

      Thank you for such a wonderful compliment. West Fork is a photographer’s paradise. I can’t wait for it to be open to the public once again.

      It is so much greener up north and to the east up in the mountains. I really need to make a trip to Flagstaff and visit a few locations. Wildflower reports from late last week, show they are blooming, but not yet at peak color.



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