Shadow

jump rope shadow

Shadow

This image is an oldie, but has long been one of my favorites.  It was shot on the mission trip in the Southwest.  My photography friends and I were working on a lesson on shadow.  I find this shadow of a young Navajo boy jumping rope is simple, yet storytelling.  I’m hopeful that I will be aware of other interesting shadow opportunities that I encounter.

Cactus

purple and green cactus

Cactus

The unusual beauty of cactus always surprises me.  This cactus was especially colorful, and helped to remind me that interest and beauty can be found even in what appears to be ordinary and unexciting.  The constant challenge comes in allowing myself to see it.

Desert Moonrise

moonrise in the desert

Desert Moonrise

This gorgeous scene was one we came upon while exploring beautiful Arches National Park a few years ago.  The colors of the desert are so rich and rewarding at certain times of the day.  I love the reds and oranges in the rocks in this shot, and the rising moon just made it a “must shoot” situation.  I am so grateful to have traveled to so many stunning places across the beautiful United States.

The Painted Desert

Painted Desert in Arizona

The Painted Desert

A visit to The Painted Desert, in Arizona, this summer, treated us to the strange and beautiful colors of the hot, dry sand.  The various layers of color in the canvas here reveal millions of years of work by Mother Nature.  It’s an interesting, albeit desolate, place to visit.  We happened to travel through in the heat of the day – not the best time for making nice photographs.  This park is another one of those places that changes dramatically depending on the time of day and conditions.  An unexpected highlight for us was meeting a young woman who was working in the park.  She was kind and knowledgeable, and gave us some personal insight into this fascinating desert.  I’m so grateful that there are people like her (and her husband) who find it important to love and share our nation’s natural treasures.

Monument Valley Riders

horseback in monument valley

Monument Valley Riders

On one of my very favorite trips through Monument Valley, in Utah, we were in and out of the car a million times shooting some of the most beautiful landscapes, when we came upon this picture perfect scene of four riders on horseback in the valley.  It was just such perfection.  It was as if a movie set had been placed before us.  Though this photo was made several years and many Monument Valley trips ago, it continues to be one of my all time favorites.

Milky Way

nightime milky way in the southwest

Milky Way

So, honestly, I feel less than thrilled to post this particular image.  It was made while in the Four Corners area on the mission trip, and does, indeed, illustrate why those of us on this trip love to sit out under the stars every night, no matter how tired.  It is, however, my very first attempt to capture the milky way in an image.  I was using my brand new wide angle lens.  At an ISO of 1600, a wide open aperture, and a 20 second shutter speed, I positioned my camera on a pile of large rocks, aimed it toward the sky, and fired away using my auto release cord.  I was really only moderately pleased with my results.  While I did record some “close” images, nothing really took my breath away.  Because I was shooting in the dark, and not able to truly review my images (other than in the viewfinder, where they all looked amazing), I found it hard to tweak the settings to improve the results.  So, while I am not thrilled with the sharpness of the image among other things, there are a few things I do like about it.  I was pleased with the silhouetting of the landscape in the foreground and the luck I had in capturing the satellite in the upper left hand corner.  It was also quite a trill to see how beautifully the milky way showed itself in the image – even better than to the naked eye.  All in all, I felt like this was a decent first attempt at capturing a pleasing image of our galaxy from one of my favorite places on earth.  It only makes me look forward to further attempts in my future!

Chapel at Tlaquepaque

sedona chapel

Chapel at Tlaquepaque

Located in the beautiful and serene red rocks of Sedona, Arizona, is a fabulous little arts and crafts village known as Tlaquepaque.  It is a life long vision and creation of Abe Miller, who sought out this perfect location for a living arts community which would reflect the beauty and perfection of its natural surroundings.  The word Tlaquepaque is from the ancient language of the Aztecs, meaning the “best of everything.”  This small sanctuary is known as the Chapel at Tlaquepaque.  It is beautifully peaceful amid all of the shops and restaurants in the village, and its grounds offered much appreciated shade on a hot June afternoon.

 

Navajo Pup

chain up dog on car hood

Navajo Pup

So I am, for sure, in and out of commission this week due to the massive wind storms we have had in Virginia.  No power or water at my house, and nothing but hot, hard manual labor to be done, so I’m grabbing time and connection wherever I can.

This dog, a Navajo pet, has somehow gotten accustomed to being chained up outside in the 102 degree heat.  This is, sadly, how many dogs on the reservation spend their days.  This particular pup is fortunate to have a car hood to seek shade under when the sun gets unbearable.  As I picked up his children for Bible School, they told me his name is Bear.  I guess he is pretty lucky, as far as Navajo dogs go.