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Canyons of Northern AZ

Discussion in 'Scenic, Architecture, and Travel' started by maritan, Apr 6, 2016.

  1. maritan

    maritan Mu-43 Veteran

    388
    Oct 30, 2014
    My wife and I decided to take advantage of my cousin's visit to AZ and took her on a weekend tour of a small portion of Northern AZ. Thanks to the immense patience of and constructive input from both ladies, I was able to come away with quite a few pictures that I was very happy with. Here's a selection.

    We woke up super early in the morning to try and get to the Grand Canyon from Flagstaff before the sun rose. We did make it in time for my cousin to see nothing but darkness at the rim. When the sky started brightening and she could see just how vast a vista she was staring at, she couldn't contain her astonishment:
    25502738734_b6588a4f33_h.
    Grand Canyon Sunrise


    From there, we visited a bunch of spots for her to take it all in. After getting some food in us, and a little rest, we headed out to the Desertview watchtower. I knew the nearly full moon was going to be rising that day and wanted to take advantage of the opportunity. I found a dead tree that seemed to be pointing at the watchtower and the rising moon (upper right corner), so I had to quickly set up and take a shot:
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    Desertview Watchtower with Rising Moon


    Then, as I was watching the beautiful light and evening unfold, I noticed another dead tree, standing this time, that seemed to frame the watchtower and the moon perfectly:
    [​IMG]
    Desertview Watchtower and Moon


    The ladies were getting tired, so we headed back to warm and get some more food in us. Once done, I had an idea to get some star trails using the nearly full moon to light up the canyon. Taken over 90 minutes from around 11pm to around half past midnight, the stars seemingly rotated around the North Star while the nearly full moon lit the ledge and the canyon to bring out details that made dealing the cold and windy conditions well worth it. This was taken using the Live Composite mode:
    26163683675_d1684f98d4_h.
    Grand Canyon Star Trails on a Nearly Full Moon Night


    The next day, we met with a Native American lady that gave us a tour of a couple canyons in Northern Arizona. These places are considered sacred land and are not to be visited by the lay person unless accompanied by a Native American licensed to show you the canyons. These canyons are also not easily accessible - miles of soft clay roads that will get you stuck in your high clearance SUV/ Jeep at the first sign of moisture. The first canyon she took us to was vast, but much more intimate than the Grand Canyon. We were closer to the formations, yet far enough away to appreciate the lay of the land:
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    Northern AZ Canyon


    One of the small details that made this visit so worth it: at the canyon in the middle of AZ, proof positive that Arizona was once under the sea many eons ago. Erosion of the land has laid bare several 1"-2" pieces of coral just lying about waiting to be discovered by curious eyes:
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    Piece of Coral


    From there, we went to another canyon that was just as beautiful, but in a different way. This one was even more intimate since we were walking around the formations. And the formations were more mud than rock! The slightest touch would probably cause pieces to crumble away. With the nearly full moon rising, and the sun having set behind the ridge behind us, the moon was bright in the sky and the soft light was bathing the various formations (the white lines are all natural):
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    Northern AZ Canyon #2 Moon Rise


    Feedback and constructive criticism are always welcome.
     
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  2. siftu

    siftu Mu-43 Top Veteran

    634
    Mar 26, 2015
    Bay Area, CA
    siftu
    That first one is really good. Are those moons real, I would have thought it would have been tiny with the 7-14mm
     
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  3. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Great light captured on the first one.
     
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  4. hazwing

    hazwing Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 25, 2012
    Australia
    missed this the first time it was posted. Great photos and commentary!
     
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  5. maritan

    maritan Mu-43 Veteran

    388
    Oct 30, 2014
    Thanks @siftu@siftu. No, the moon is definitely not that large with a 7-14 - you might not even notice it if you didn't know it was there. I did want to emphasize the moon though because it was a major reason why I was out there trying to capture the scene. I used a 40-150mm lens to capture the moon separately and then shrunk it down and put it into the picture.

    Thank you @wjiang@wjiang and @hazwing@hazwing for commenting.
     
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  6. siftu

    siftu Mu-43 Top Veteran

    634
    Mar 26, 2015
    Bay Area, CA
    siftu
    ha I was actually thinking that looked like a 40-150 moon. Anyway really nice blend!
     
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