A newer Airstream at Organ Pipe

Time with the “CanonBlogger”

Richard Charpentier Arizona, Notes from Rich, Photographing Arizona, Photography 2 Comments

My favorite scene from this trip. It feels very peaceful to me. And the tree reminds me of a bonzai that I don't have to water.

So, as regular readers know, this past weekend I went up to do a quick whirlwind through White Pocket once again. And along for this trip was Jason, of CanonBlogger.com. Jason runs a very successful blog, and also a fun podcast on learning digital photography. Be sure to pop by his site.

This afternoon, I read with amusement his first installment on the whirlwind trip we took.  Jason mentioned the minor hesitation about meeting up with someone you only know from Internet conversation for the first time.  It gave me a great chuckle, as I always have the same concern too.

Well, they’re into photography and seem pretty cool.  But you know, they could be some raging nut cake who ditches me in the middle of the desert, takes off with my Nissan Titan, and drop kicks my 5D Mark II into a crevasse.  Wow, that would totally suck!

Fortunately for me, Jason wasn’t a raging nut cake, didn’t punt my camera, and he was kind to my Nissan Titan.  So, it was all good.

On the right side of the image you might just see my shadow stretching off toward the monolith.

We met up at the Page Municipal Airport and headed off a little afternoon several days ago.  Even though White Pocket is only 28 miles from the Airport (in a direct line) it actually takes hours to get into the area.  You gotta drive way around, then down a dirt road that is a total disaster, and finally spend even more time rolling through sand dunes.  It can be an exhausting trip to be sure.  Fortunately, the scenery is well worth the travel!

As we drove along I pointed out areas to Jason.  There’s Cottonwood Canyon Road.  It leads to Yellow Rock, Hackberry Canyon, a super cool arch, and more.  There’s the entry to the Paria River Canyon.  Huge walls, amazing images.  There’s the entrance to Buckskin Gulch, Wire Pass, Coyote Buttes North, Coyote Buttes South, amazing multi-colored badlands…..and the list goes on.

Poor Jason traveling along was blown away with the scenery.  And I was racing along to get us to White Pocket before sunset.  I drove right past so many photo opportunities it wasn’t funny.  And I think it was causing Jason to have several mild strokes.  “Why drive by all of these amazing scenes?”

Simple answer…..to get to the really amazing ones!

Sunrise and sunset mean you've got to work around your shadow.

We kept pushing on.  Jason kept seeing amazing photo op after amazing photo op.  Yeah, that is how it works in that area.  Something gorgeous around every corner.  The million dollar shot jumping out at you every 5 minutes.  That’s a lot of million dollar shots to be sure!  Somebody should cash in on that……

Finally after 3 hours of driving to get to a place only 28 miles as the crow flies, we arrived in White Pocket.  And Jason got to see why I kept pushing on.  The place is stunning.  The ride in is stunning.  Bottom line.

We were stunned.

Heck, I’ve been there many times and I’m still blown away with each visit.

Camp was setup quickly, the tent went up in no time, we round up gear and we were off and running.  Well, not literally running.  You have to do a 5 minute walk through the dunes, and it would be tough to run in all that sand.  So, we were off and walking……

Once we entered the main formations I made a beeline toward the area where I shot the S Curve last time.  Time of day being what it was, I knew where colors would be popping.  Jason was wowed the entire way in, and it was hard to resist the temptation to start shooting right away.  I understand that feeling fully.  I also get the overwhelmed, “What should I start with, it’s all so darned cool.”

For several hours we worked our way around the rocks.  We bumped into a photographer form California several times.  He did a 10 hour drive to the area two weekends in a row.  Clearly he’s loving the photo opportunities as well.  Can’t say I blame him, if I had more time I’d be in the Page area a lot more.

For the evening light dinner was made.  My new portable table was tested out, and it did a good job!  Temperatures weren’t bad, but things did start cooling off.  Nothing terrible though.

In order to get around the shadows we cast, photographers will go through many gyrations to get the shot. See my shadow? See where Jason is not casting a shadow. Yup.

Somewhere past midnight the temperatures really dropped.  I was in a 20 degree bag, and I’ll tell you what, it didn’t cut it.  2:30 a.m. I woke up shaking in the sleeping bag.  Brrrrr….  We did survive the night though.  After 4 a.m. I cranked up the truck, warmed up, and chatted away for a bit.  Hooray for the Titan’s heating system, it warms up fast.

Soon enough daylight started warming the sky and the temperatures.  We bundled up and headed out for another round of shooting.  Sunrise in White Pocket is something amazing.  Move with the light, move along as the shadows retrench, and watch for those colors.

Overall it was a great trip.  Returning Jason to Page I pointed out even more locations to photograph.  We went back via 89A, giving him more reasons to return to Arizona.  The Vermillion Cliffs in all their glory, Cliff Dwellers, Marble Canyon, Lee’s Ferry, Waterholes Canyon, Antelope Canyon, and the stunning views offered around Lake Powell.

Jason let me know, I’m a photographic tease.  So many great places to shoot, so little time.  Ah well, there’s always the next trip, right?  🙂

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