Yesterday I was awakened at a horrible dark hour by a police helicopter. Something uncommon in my area, but still something you get use to living in the city. Managing to get a bit more sleep, I arose very early and it was still dark. Might as well pack up the camera gear and head out to photograph more autumn color. Having no plan, I decided it was best to go someplace familiar. Once again, I headed north to West Fork in Oak Creek Canyon just north of Sedona. I left so early that I was driving through Sedona just at sunrise and it was beautiful. Wanting to get on the trail early, I didn’t stop to shoot sunrise, but rather enjoy it as I was driving.
Last week I chose to shoot telling the story of how the trail has been damaged by fire but already recovering. Almost all of the shots from that trip were with my 105 mm macro lens, even the last photo that is a landscape image. Yesterday, I decided to challenge myself by using my 50 mm 1.8 lens and make landscape images and show the beauty of West Fork. Being a macro shooter, limiting myself to a prime lens for landscape photography made it that more difficult and different from all the other photographers.
Just before the first crossing of the creek, and there are 13 crossings along the trail, is a classic shot. As there was almost no one on the trail, it was peaceful. Over the weekend it had been quite busy as it is peak autumn color. I was surprised how different it felt with so few people. Part of me just wanted to find a boulder and sit for a while to enjoy the tranquility. But I had decided that for the first time, I would hike the entire trail which is 6.6 miles roundtrip. Not only do I not hike that far on a regular basis, but adding all my gear, made for an exhausting day.
I didn’t make many images, as sometimes when revisiting a location, images from my second trip aren’t as strong as the first. Why, I don’t know, probably a mental block. Still, I didn’t get back to the trailhead until approximately 3 p.m. and I started the trail before 8 a.m. By this time I was hungry and anxious to eat. Sitting in my car and eating, I pondered whether to stay in Sedona for sunset. Knowing it was over 100 miles to drive home, a sunset shoot would wait until another day. I did, however, stop along the way and treat myself to an iced coffee and pastry. Unlike the last time I made that same stop, my drove home was uneventful.
Click on each image below to see a larger size.