Rediscovering Sedona

Richard Charpentier Arizona, Notes from Rich, Photography, Photomatix 4 Comments

In a week my family will be here.  That’s right, a week away.  Pretty cool, eh?

Given they’ve been planning their trip since last Spring I decided a while ago I should have some time available to them.  Next week I’ll be off.

That means no consulting, no stressful schedules, etc.  Of course, there will be the gallery’s impending launch in the background at all times…..

Before they arrive I thought it would be nice to let myself unwind.  That way when they get here they won’t be greeted by Zombie Rich.  You know the one….. wants naps on his days off, is too busy with laundry to get 30 days of photos in the Dells, etc…..

So, in the interest of my being a well rested guy for their visit I requested this weekend off.  Specifically, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.  Ah, yes, time to rest.  And believe me, I’m feeling rested!

Today I set out on a fun little adventure to Sedona once again.  Caden and Sadira came along for the ride, and for a few hikes.  We had a great day to say the least.

Once again I paid a visit to Devil’s Bridge.  I’ve been there a lot, I know.  But this time I was going to try out HDR with the bridge.  I’ve never gotten a good shot from below, and today I wanted to see what the new technique added to shooting the area.  Gotta say, it added plenty!  Big smiles all around as far as I’m concerned.

I also got to re-shoot the Manzanita bushes near one cool lookout spot.  For some reason these plants really catch my attention.  I think it’s the coloring of the bark, the twists and turns the plants take, and the interesting spots they always seem to occupy.  Wow, pretty good list of reasons!

We spent a good while near Devil’s Bridge today.  Caden and Sadira went up top, I stayed below to shoot.  When I wrapped up I headed up the stone stairs and met my two companions on their way down.  Good timing!

Our walk out of the Devil’s Bridge area was pretty uneventful.  We talked with a few other tourists about Chaco Sandals (they dug our sandals), hiking, the area, and about the great day we were all having.  That was the highlight of the walk out.  Oh, that and the views all around of course!

After wrapping up at the bridge we headed into town for a few.  Caden had a specific errand to run.  A new cable release for his Rebel XS….  Rollies was the destination.

As an aside, I’ve got to say that Caden’s photography skills are developing quickly.  More quickly than mine ever developed.  He’s got an interest in shooting that’s pretty amazing, and he’s learning quickly.  I think in part it’s due to his interest in someday being a geologist.  He’s interested in the details around him…..  I’m looking forward to seeing what he shot today.

We took a quick ride into town.  A new hat for me (I’d forgotten my hat at home), a stop at Rollies (I spent nothing there), some frozen lemonade, and a stop into World of Jerky.  Sedona was busy of course!  So many people wandering the shops!!!  So many cars.  We didn’t stay long.  Shop, then bail.

After our quick visit to town we stopped by New Frontiers.  Chips, guac, seared & blackened tofu, drinks, and a few other items.  A picinic lunch if you will.  We wrapped it all up and headed out.

Our next destination was the Palatki ruins.  The plan was to have lunch, walk the ruins, take some photos, and move on from there.

The ride out was terrific.  I’d never been to the ruins site before, so it was all new.  More to Sedona every time I visit!  We found the site pretty quickly, parked, and headed to the ranger station with our meal in tow.

Our lunch took place in a wonderful shaded spot.  The ruins site is a lush green area with red rock cliffs as the backdrop.  A small house, now a Forest Service station, is the only building near the ruins, and it’s a nice place to stop.  Only a few feet from our lunch spot we found a tree dropping pomegranates.  Several peach and apple trees could also be found around the site.  How different!

The walk into the actual ruins was a short one.  Easy too.  I’d recomend it to anyone who wanted a quick hike with a big payoff….an amazing set of ruins!

Both the path and site were pretty busy.  Other tourists crossed our path regularly.  But not so often that you’d think the place was too busy.  It was just the right amount of “busy.”

When we arrived at the site a volunteer was talking to a few more visitors.  The location’s history and purpose.  Who lived there, when did they live there, and where then went to.  The people from this site eventually moved on to another well known location in Arizona….but I’ll leave that part to you to discover….when you take your trip there.  🙂

Sadira started chatting with the ranger.  Caden and I started scouring the site for pictures.  And we found some for sure.  He disappeared into the remains of one building, I walked off toward a restricted area, and we both started shooting.  Too much fun!

While Caden shot in one of the ruins I decided to turn the camera on him.  Hey, he’s turned the camera on me as well (never publish them Caden……).  🙂  It’s only fair, right?

I even managed to set up an HDR into the ruins while Caden was shooting.  He was toying with his camera settings for a good bit, and it gave me time to fire off 3 shots in his direction.  One -2, 0, and +2 exposure.  I don’t usually deal with HDR in shots with people, but I think this one can be labeled as a success!

When we each finished getting what we wanted we were treated to a special opportunity.  A better view of the site from a lesser known location….all thanks to the volunteer at the site!  What a great surprise, and what a great view of the site.  It’s several photos above…..

All three of us spent a good while taking pictures of the site from a distance.  Caden took a few photos of Sadira and I with the ruins as our back drop.  Those shots came out pretty good.  I’ll leave it to Sadira to get those posted on her site.  I seem to have plenty of shots here tonight!

We finally wrapped up close to 3 p.m.  One more stop for the day….well, that was the plan at least.  By the time we got to the truck I was feeling a little tired.  A long day in the hot sun, and half the day without a hat.  Yeah, tiring!

Once we all sat down in the truck it was pretty easy to agree on the fact it had been a great day.  Why exhaust ourselves?  There would be another time, another day, and another opportunity to see more.  You’ve got to save a few surprises for yourself.

The ride home took us through Jerome.  The initial plan was to have late lunch at the Haunted Hamburger.  But I was still full from our “snack lunch,” Caden passed out in the back of the truck, and Sadira agreed there was no need to stop today.  3 tired pups, that’s what we were.

Tonight’s final photo was an experiment in the extreme.  An HDR that incorporated photos with purposeful lens flare.  I saw the splashes of light across my viewfinder and I knew there would be flare.  I decided to go with it and to let it be as it is after processing.  Somehow this shot sits well with me!  Random beams of light, spots streaking across, and a mild desaturation of the real colors (the rocks are super red you know).  This one works for me, not as a print, but just as something a little different!

Well, there’s today’s wrap.  Many more photos were taken.  Several have been selected for print.  None of the selected shots made it here tonight.  I have to keep some surprises for the new gallery you know!

Comments 4

  1. Certainly and fun and tiring day! I enjoyed myself so much and can not wait to return…I want to spend more time at those ruins…and I am thinking that we should certainly consider camping there soon…I just posted the pictures of us…and I think I’ve earned the right to put my feet up now…

    I wonder what tomorrow will hold?

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