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Cinder – Ella

Richard Charpentier Arizona, Canon Cameras, hiking, Notes from Rich, Photography 3 Comments

cinderfields-3Ah, an irresistable setup for a post title don’t you think?

If you’re currently grimacing and groaning over the title, just remember, you navigated to this page and nobody forced ya!  🙂

Yesterday I took a trip north of Flagstaff with my friend Josh to check out Sunset Crater.  All these new books I’ve recently added to my inventory (nicely stocked away in the little shed now) are guiding me to new places.  Places I really want to see, walk around, photograph, and enjoy!  Yesterday was the day to enjoy Sunset crater, cinder fields, and a few ruins near the volcanic site.

As we got into the Sunset Crater National Monument I kept being blown away by the images in my rear view mirrors.  Big mountain!  Big snow cap!  Pretty slick scene to say the least!

Before we even got to the real views we stopped, turned around, and took a few photos.  The San Francisco Peaks played back drop in many photos.

cinderfields-1Saying San Francisco Peaks so many times yesterday I couldn’t get the Rice-a-Roni tune from my childhood out of my head.  You know, the San Francisco treat?  Ugh….first Cinder-ella, now this.

We made our way along lava flows in the Versa, close to massive cinder fields, watched black and red soil roll by, and we continued north.  Sunset Crater would be the last stop on our trip.  First we wanted to go see a few ruins a little north of the volcanic fields.

Wupatki National Monument was just a short jaunt up the road from Sunset Crater, so that was our first official stop.  Not so long ago (in the grand scheme of things) the Sinaguans lived in the area.  Just a short distance from Sunset Crater.  I’m not sure how they did it.  Looking for water in the area you really couldn’t find any.  Apparently they farmed too.  Must be water somewhere.

Two sites were visited.  The main visitor center complete with an interesting walking path and ruin site.  2 sets of buildings, several Kivas (I don’t think they called them Kivas though), and some beautiful views.  While we walked and photographed the site we kept the painted desert in our view (still quite a distance).

ruinsite-1After stopping at the visitor center we went to the second smaller site, signed Wupatki junction (by the road sign).  Like the first location this was also an interesting ruin.  What kept popping up to mind was the fact that the actual rock formation the building was built on seemed to blend into the man made structure.  Where did one begin and the other end?  All I can say is that if I had to build a house of stone I hope I’d be sharp enough to pick the right foundation like these folks did!

Just so you don’t scratch your head too long I’ll say that the third photo does look different.  Playing with an antique photo look for fun.  Don’t adjust your brightness or contrast, you’re seeing it the way I exported it for your viewing pleasure!

Finally we wrapped up our time at the ruins and headed back to Sunset Crater.  Josh and I both wanted closer looks at the cinder fields, lava flows, and the rest.  It all looked so cool driving in, we knew it would look cool walking around it too.

cinderfields-2Pulling into Sunset Crater I had a lot on my mind.  Weird fibers on my view finder and sensor all morning.  A quick drop of the 5D had me worried.  It was fine, and it wasn’t the cause of the random things on my sensor or in my field of view.  That was something else, but it was troubling.  Heck, when you get a new camera or any new item for that matter you’re excited to use it.  Finding some extraneous schmutz going on off the bat is troubling.

Even with that on my mind we set out onto the lava flow trail.  The first part is a nicely paved walking area which is easily accessible to anyone.  Views of the peaks, the lava flow, and the cinder field going up Sunset Crater were all amazing!  Definitely the right trip for the day, definitely some astounding sites.

Like my recent visit to Red Mountain, you sometimes feel as though you’re in the middle of a V while walking.  Steep hills rise up covered with black rock.  Other hills rise up with red dirt / rocks.  Not cliffs, but steep hills with loose media the whole way up.  Hard to shoot to give readers the perspective, but just know that the tree photo was shot standing at a flat point and I had to raise my head more than 45 degrees!  There are some steep hills around Sunset Crater!

cinderfields-4Unfortunately, the loop trail at Sunset Crater is extremely short.  The same can be said of the other sites we visited.  I had hoped we could walk higher, get a broader view, etc.  But it’s a very confined area you’re allowed to walk in.  That’s okay, what you see there is stunning!

Overall it was a good day with the exception of the 5D issues.  The park is well worth a trip for anyone in the area.  It offers something very different from all the other favorites in Arizona, and it’s now a new favorite that I plan to return to in the near future.  Such a short trip, so that means there’s not a ton of planning that has to go into it.

A 5D Update

Ok, you’re probably wondering what’s the haps with the 5D.  So I’ll spell it out here.

Since I got my new camera I haven’t shot a ton with it.  In fact, only two major outings to really try it out.  And I’ve had some issues.

Since the get go I’ve had a lot of mysterious fibers showing up on the view finder and image sensor.  I’ve blown them out each time with my little rocket blower.  I’ve also had some consistent LARGE dust spots that have driven me crazy.

The “drop” (a foot at best) did no damage.  I was getting ready to do a quick field cleaning of the camera at my car when it occurred.  Several dust spots were looking very big in my image previews, and another fiber was showing up on the sensor.  I blew the fiber out, but the other spots remained for the rest of the day.

When I got home I broke out the Arctic Butterfly to do a cleaning of my new camera.  I’ve used it on the 40D and 30D with great success.  A little bummed that I had to use it so soon on my extremely new barely shot with camera.

Unfortunately I discovered that the spots were not dust.  They were some kind of grease, I assume from manufacture.  When I cleaned with the butterfly I smeared the grease along the sensor.  Using an LED hiking light I could see the streaking I caused.  Ugh!  To add insult to injury, the brush on my butterfly is no longer usable as it got whatever this grease is on it.  Now I’ve got to order a replacement brush!

I contacted Canon today, told them the problem, and the 5D will be getting shipped to them tomorrow.  They’ll do an inspection and see if they need to clean it.  They do need to clean it, and hopefully they can deal with it.  I’ve had the camera a total of 16 days, and I’m a little bummed this occurred.  But I’m glad to know that the spots were no ordinary dust spots!

Wow, now that I think about it I should have titled this post, “Cinder – Ella and the 5D’s” (you know, like 5 dwarves instead of 7).  Sorry, gotta be tongue and cheek cause I bummed about my camera.  😉

Comments 3

  1. yeah, the cinderfields area is one of my favs. For a nice hike, if you had continued on the road past the visitors center for Wupatki for maybe two miles, you would have driven around Doney Crater. On the back side is a picnic area with a really nice hike up to the top. And from that vantage point, you can see the ruins below and straight across to the painted desert. Takes your breath away. Too bad to hear about the 5D going away, but it’ll be like getting a new one all over again. On another note, I’d like to stop in Tuesday afternoon, if you’re available, to ask you to make four small (15″x22″) prints for me. Let me know if another time would be better. Looking forward to meeting you !

  2. Post


    Tuesday would be fine! 🙂

    The whole area up there rocks! I got a couple of great books to check out new areas. Gotta see what’s out there. And not the “standard” I’ve been to Antelope Canyon. I want to find more non-standard. Can’t wait to do West Clear Creek this summer. So many ideas!

    I’ll see you Tuesday. I’m in until 5.

  3. Man, I shot Wupatki some time ago and I didn’t know about HDR at the time…shame! And a pseudo-HDR is just not worth the effort, I think.

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