Saturday, November 28, 2009

Celebrating the skies of AZ

I'm back!  "Back" in this case refers both to resuming blog posts and my return to the place I consider "home":  Arizona.  Stepping off the plane in Phoenix last Friday evening and seeing the fading  sunset casing a warm glow over thes sandstone rocks near Sky Harbor, I immediately felt a sense of relief, contentment and just plain joy at being away from the grey skies and bleak winter landscape of New England.  I will be spending the winter and possibly more of the next year in Bisbee.  I am exited to be doing part-time innkeeping at the beautifully restored Letson Loft Hotel in downtown Bisbee.  Bisbee is a small mining town located in the southeastern part of the state.  It is listed as one of the top 100 small town art communities in the country and is hugely popular as a tourist destination, often showing up on recommended small towns in the US to visit lists.

I promptly came down with a cold after coming to town, and combined with the resulting poor sleep, beginning work at the hotel, getting unpacked and settled in, and computer/internet access issues, I was unable to do anything art-related until today.  Today was gorgeous - bright, sunny skies and mild temperatures.  Some scattered cumulus clouds began gathering in the afternoon, presenting an excellent opportunity for some sunset photos.  Having lived and spent time in many parts of the country, I have yet to see skies or sunsets that can compare to those of the west and southwest.

Here are a handful of the photos from Friday evening's photoshoot (and two sunrise photos taken in Tucson last Saturday) that I hope will give a sense of the beautiful skies here in AZ:

First Light
Swirling cirrus clouds reflect the warm light of the rising desert sun

Sunrise Silhouette
The forms of the Sonoran desert provide a dramatic contrast against the pastel palette of the morning sky

Sunset over Tombstone Canyon
Taken from a vantage point over the Bisbee tunnel along Hwy 80

East towards Bisbee
A waxing moon and clouds over the distant mountains along Hwy 92

Sierra Vista bound
This shot was taken using a shutter speed of 6 seconds with tripod mount and shutter delay to capture the tailights of a car heading along Hwy 92

Fading sky with passers-by
The streaks of passing cars catch the colors of the final light of the setting sun to the southwest.


  1. What I like best about "Sierra Vista bound" is actually the close bushes all highlighted by the flash. For some reason flash +sunset photography really appeals to me. Way cool! (needs an armadillo). ;)

  2. "Needs an armadillo" - haha! You know, the lighting is from the car headlights passing by, and that's why it gives that muted effect that extends far past what you'd get with the camera flash. I just did these for the heck of it, but I rather liked the surreal effect of the streaking light and also the way it lit the road and shoulder.

  3. I'm seriously sooo blonde. Yeaaaah that makes more sense. I guess the pics I've seen with that effect (without cars?) are probably studio lights used outdoors.. eh? Hey! Pretend I'm sending you really big and expensive awesome studio lights to use outdoors there (and a eco-friendly power generator).. ;) I'll send along an e-card to complete the 'package'. :D

  4. Dude - you totally crack me up! :o). Actually, I've seen examples where a penlight was used to selectively light areas of a rock, and even a campfire that lit up the side of a tree in a 6 min. exposure photo that was posted to another forum I read. Hand-held lanterns can be used as well for selective lighting of objects at night.


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