Saturday, July 12, 2014

Sedona, Arizona - Red Rock Sunset and Moonrise

Cathedral Rock in Sedona was the scene of today's adventure.  I stopped by to pick up Karl in my new Jeep Patriot 4x4 and off we went to meet a group of photographers venturing to Cathedral Rock in Sedona.  As I prepare the photographs for this post, I see that today's learning was mainly around making panoramic shots.  In my opinion, the views pushed me to do this as a single photo doesn't capture the wide vistas with the vibrant colors of rock, sky and vegetation.

We left Phoenix early and had a lot of time to stop at viewing points that I normally drive by.  Here is a panoramic with the dramatic rocks and sky.

We had a little time so we drove in to Sedona and had coffee at The Hidden Garden Cafe at the Tlaquepaque shopping area.

We met the group leaders at Weber's IGA Parking lot (corner of Highway 179 and Verde Valley School Road) at 5PM.  We then drove down Verde Valley School Road, past where the pavement ends and parked in the dirt parking lot. (The Jeep did a great job!)  It started to rain so I grabbed the umbrella (which also was a great walking stick), backpack with camera equipment, and tripods and off we went.  We were a little bit behind the group so we made our way towards the noise and found the set of tripods all pointed in the same direction.  This was more like a "hike" than a "walk", so I texted KPR to let him know that I was already hiking after having the new adventure car for only a day!

The area was filled with family and friends enjoying the cool water on a hot summer day.  I think that this activity is a beautiful part of the Red Rock State park.  For the photography group, the ultimate goal was to get the scene without people, but I really like this one as it shows people enjoying the water.  I was not ready to dive in and didn't bring other clothes.  I would like to return and enjoy this spot.  Also, take note of the color of Cathedral Rock in the background.  The bright sunlight washes out the reds.

We took a lot of test photos and all found the perfect spot.  We watched the threatening weather, covered the cameras with plastic covers from time to time, and moved under trees when cloudbursts rolled over.  We were eventually rewarded with red rocks that glowed in the sunset.  My camera was on a tripod and I was using a remote controller so I was able to watch as the rocks glowed red and continue to take photographs.  This is the "classic shot" with the reflections in the pond.  Other photographers were set up to my left and had a more open view of both of the rocks.

The red coloring was amazing and if I had not seen this happen myself, would not believe that this colorful change actually happened.  Beautiful.  Karl had turned to photograph the actual sunset, so if I can get him to guest post a photograph here I will update the blog post and resent it.

We then had about a half hour to wait until the  moon made it from the horizon to a place above the rocks. The cloud cover was heavy and chances slim.  We waited and waited, changed lenses for the changing light conditions and waited.  No moon viewing.  This is my last photo of this trip.  My new f1.8 50 mm lens was able to capture the night color with deep blue cloudy skies, the red rock and the green of the trees.

I am very happy to now know about this location and would like to return.
Notes on getting there: park and walk to the end of the dirt road, go to the right and walk with the cliffs rising to your right.  Follow the path until you come to a large tree growing across the path. There is room to pass underneath, then take the path to the left to get to the reflecting pools.

[Trip leader Larry lives in Sedona and the photos on the Meetup page link below are his. You can see what we were trying to capture: Sunset and Moonrise Cathedral Rock.  The first paragraph on the Meetup page ends in "see all".  Click the "see all" to open up the description of the outing and Larry's photos.]

This panoramic was taken from a rest stop on the way from Oak Creek to the I17 freeway.  I am experimenting!

This photo was taken on the way home from Sedona on Sunday.  It is from the rest stop Sunset Point and is of the Bradshaw Mountains with the little tiny town of Bumblebee at the base of the mountains.  The panoramic is experimental as I have never made one this wide.  It's not perfect but you can get an idea on the view and the summer storm.

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