Category

Arizona

The Wave Under Stars at Night, North Coyote Buttes, Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness

Arizona, Astrophotography and Night Scapes, The Wave

Astrophotography and Night Photography at the Wave, North Coyote Buttes

The Wave, a fantastic area of ancient, stone-frozen sand dunes and tortured rock, is a real favorite of mine. Among photographers it is both something of a Mecca as well as a cliche. There are quite a few photographers who shun the Wave since it is so popular, while at the same time folks visit from around the world hoping to receive a permit to make the hike to this special place. I have made at least four trips there (see past blog articles about the Wave), although the last couple times it was mostly for enjoyment and few new images came out of the effort. I wanted to do something very different this time. After some brainstorming with night photography expert and road trip buddy Garry McCarthy, we came up with a rough plan, watched the weather closely and finally decided it was worth a try. The following few images came from our efforts. It really was spectacular being alone at night at the Wave, with a slight warm breeze and occasional critter noises being the only sounds other than our time exposure camera clicks. If you like these, please check out a larger selection of Landscape Astrophotography pictures on this website or on my new Landscape Astrophotography website. If you are curious how some of the lighting was done, here is a self-portrait of me lighting the Wave during a long time exposure.

The Wave at Night, under a clear night sky full of stars.  The Wave, an area of fantastic eroded sandstone featuring beautiful swirls, wild colors, countless striations, and bizarre shapes set amidst the dramatic surrounding North Coyote Buttes of Arizona and Utah. The sandstone formations of the North Coyote Buttes, including the Wave, date from the Jurassic period. Managed by the Bureau of Land Management, the Wave is located in the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness and is accessible on foot by permit only

The Wave at Night, under a clear night sky full of stars. The Wave, an area of fantastic eroded sandstone featuring beautiful swirls, wild colors, countless striations, and bizarre shapes set amidst the dramatic surrounding North Coyote Buttes of Arizona and Utah. The sandstone formations of the North Coyote Buttes, including the Wave, date from the Jurassic period. Managed by the Bureau of Land Management, the Wave is located in the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness and is accessible on foot by permit only.
Image ID: 28621
Location: North Coyote Buttes, Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness, Arizona, USA

These images were shot on today’s today cameras, with top optics, and will print well up to 4’x6′. Please contact me if you are interested in canvas murals or aluminum prints for your home or office. Cheers and thanks for looking!

The Second Wave at Night.  The Second Wave, a spectacular sandstone formation in the North Coyote Buttes, lies under a sky full of stars, Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness, Arizona

The Second Wave at Night. The Second Wave, a spectacular sandstone formation in the North Coyote Buttes, lies under a sky full of stars.
Image ID: 28627
Location: North Coyote Buttes, Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness, Arizona, USA

The Wave at Night, under a clear night sky full of stars.  The Wave, an area of fantastic eroded sandstone featuring beautiful swirls, wild colors, countless striations, and bizarre shapes set amidst the dramatic surrounding North Coyote Buttes of Arizona and Utah. The sandstone formations of the North Coyote Buttes, including the Wave, date from the Jurassic period. Managed by the Bureau of Land Management, the Wave is located in the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness and is accessible on foot by permit only

The Wave at Night, under a clear night sky full of stars. The Wave, an area of fantastic eroded sandstone featuring beautiful swirls, wild colors, countless striations, and bizarre shapes set amidst the dramatic surrounding North Coyote Buttes of Arizona and Utah. The sandstone formations of the North Coyote Buttes, including the Wave, date from the Jurassic period. Managed by the Bureau of Land Management, the Wave is located in the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness and is accessible on foot by permit only.
Image ID: 28623
Location: North Coyote Buttes, Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness, Arizona, USA

Brain Rocks, White Pocket, Arizona

Arizona, White Pocket

White Pocket Photographs, Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, Arizona

White Pocket is a relatively large area compared to, say, the Wave in nearby North Coyote Buttes. When I was there with some buddies in March, I saw many compositions that looked appealing but was unable to make photos of them in the little time we had when the light actually “got good”. The brain rocks area at White Pocket is amazing, some of the best examples of brain rocks I’ve ever seen, so I spent a good portion of my time there framing them up. This was taken just after sunset, when the cloud formation above the rocks was most interesting. Could these in fact be sections of some enormous central cortex: the temporal lobe and parietal lobe of some ancient underground fossilized Homer Simpson whose skull — the only part of him still above ground — was lobotomized by the howling winds of the American Southwest? And also, why did I just say that? OK, that was weak but these rocks are so cool they are known to cause photographers to wax poetic and say innane things at times. I can’t wait to return to White Pocket, its awesome.

Brain rocks and clouds, sunset, White Pocket, Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, Arizona

Brain rocks and clouds, sunset, White Pocket.
Image ID: 26619
Location: White Pocket, Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, Arizona, USA

Tortured Landscape, White Pocket, Vermilion Cliffs National Monument

Arizona, White Pocket

White Pocket was the highight of our recent banzai trip to northern Arizona and southern Utah. A remote and spectacular setting in the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument that includes such well-known landscapes as the Wave, North Coyote Buttes and Buckskin Gulch (thank you Bill Clinton!), White Pocket lies not far from the South Coyote Buttes management area in northern Arizona. Getting to White Pocket was half the fun, requiring several hours of offroading on very sandy dirt roads. Charly Moore of Overland Canyon Tours took us there. We had a great time, were well taken care of by Charly, and were even treated to some great light in the last hour before sunset which was a bonus since the most of the day had been overcast and drab. White Pocket is a tortured landscape, full of bent and twisted sandstone forms. Once ancient sand dunes that were buried over time, the sandstone was slowly compressed under great pressure. After millenia underground the rock has re-emerged in its present wonderful and varied form. It comprises some of the most interesting and beautiful scenery I have ever scene, and I look forward to returning to camp and spend a few days there in the future.

White Pocket, sandstone forms and colors are amazing, Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, Arizona

White Pocket, sandstone forms and colors are amazing.
Image ID: 26605
Location: White Pocket, Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, Arizona, USA

More White Pocket Arizona landscape photographs.

Horseshoe Bend and Colorado River

Arizona

Horseshoe Bend is a stunning 180° bend in the Colorado River which has eroded a dramatic, 1100-foot gorge below the surrounding mesa. It lies near Page, Arizona, Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell and is a short, easy hike from the highway to the precipice. Thankfully the personal injury attorneys have not yet made their mark on the place, for there are no ugly fences or intrusive signs reminding us of the obvious.

Horseshoe Bend. The Colorado River makes a 180-degree turn at Horseshoe Bend. Here the river has eroded the Navajo sandstone for eons, digging a canyon 1100-feet deep, Page, Arizona

Horseshoe Bend. The Colorado River makes a 180-degree turn at Horseshoe Bend. Here the river has eroded the Navajo sandstone for eons, digging a canyon 1100-feet deep.
Image ID: 26618
Location: Horseshoe Bend, Page, Arizona, USA

Horseshoe Bend photos.

Monument Valley Panoramic Photo

Arizona, Landscape

I just received an inquiry about my Monument Valley panoramic photo. I had forgotten about this image, and when I saw it again I was reminded of the beautiful, warm light that fell on the buttes when I last visited there. I was on my way south from Arches National Park in Utah to Page, Arizona. I had about 45 minutes to stop and admire the sunset, and then had to keep moving on down the road. I got this one image. You can click to see it larger (although the full size image in print spans about 8′). This was taken in January, and there is a slight dusting of snow on the ground:

Monument Valley panorama

Monument Valley panorama.
Image ID: 19531
Location: Monument Valley, Arizona, USA

Northern Cardinal Photo

Arizona, Birds

Northern cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis). This was the other small songbird that I hoped to see in Arizona. It is very similar to the Pyrrhuloxia (see yesterday’s post). In fact the female cardinal looks a lot like the male Pyrrhuloxia at first glance, although the shape of the beak (among other things) is diagnostic.

Northern cardinal, male, Cardinalis cardinalis, Amado, Arizona

Northern cardinal, male.
Image ID: 22891
Species: Northern cardinal, Cardinalis cardinalis
Location: Amado, Arizona, USA

Northern cardinal, female, Cardinalis cardinalis, Amado, Arizona

Northern cardinal, female.
Image ID: 22929
Species: Northern cardinal, Cardinalis cardinalis
Location: Amado, Arizona, USA

Shot at Bill Forbes’ Pond at Elephant Head, which I visited and described recently.

Pyrrhuloxia Photo

Arizona, Birds

Pyrrhuloxia (Cardinalis sinuatus). This was one of the two birds I was hoping to see in Arizona. In general, we do not see small colorful birds like this in Southern California (except for escaped exotics like parrots). At first I thought Pyrrhuloxia was the latin (scientific) name for this bird, but then I learned the latin name is Cardinalis sinuatus. So I guess the Pyrrhuloxia is closely related to the Cardinal (see tomorrow’s post). Regardless, it’s a pretty little bird.

Pyrrhuloxia, male, Cardinalis sinuatus, Amado, Arizona

Pyrrhuloxia, male.
Image ID: 22894
Species: Pyrrhuloxia, Cardinalis sinuatus
Location: Amado, Arizona, USA

Shot at Bill Forbes’ Pond at Elephant Head, which I visited and described recently.

Gambel’s Quail Photo

Arizona, Birds

A Gambel’s quail (Callipepla gambelii). Bill told me to expect a quail family, complete with lots of chicks, to show up about 9:30. They were right on time each morning!

Gambel's quail, male, Callipepla gambelii, Amado, Arizona

Gambel’s quail, male.
Image ID: 22925
Species: Gambel's quail, Callipepla gambelii
Location: Amado, Arizona, USA

Gambel's quail, chicks, Callipepla gambelii, Amado, Arizona

Gambel’s quail, chicks.
Image ID: 22920
Species: Gambel's quail, Callipepla gambelii
Location: Amado, Arizona, USA

Shot at Bill Forbes’ Pond at Elephant Head, which I visited and described recently.