Friday, July 2, 2010

Sky Friday - from the archives

Nothing photo-worthy happening in the skies here lately, so I've gone back into the archives for material from this past winter, of which there was plenty.

These photos - taken almost 6 months ago to the day - were from a hike I took off Hwy 80, about 10-15 miles south of Tombstone.  The area is sparsely populated, with a few scattered homes out at the end of various non-descript dirt roads.  I drove out one, towards the base of some hills with exposed rock strata, intending to hike and scramble up.  Monkey came along with me.

The skies were offering a menacing potential for rain, but none came.  Even being the middle of winter, it wasn't particularly cold or windy - a fleece pullover was all I needed.

I am a big fan of the early 20th century western artist Maynard Dixon.  For those not familiar with his work, he was the master at expressing the southwestern landscape via his use of color and form, and distilling it to the bare minimum.  His skies and cloudscapes are incomparable, and are so associated with his work that people frequently use the term "Maynard Dixon skies" when describing a beautiful sky in the southwest.

These are examples of what I consider "Maynard Dixon skies":  dramatic, sweeping clouds playing center stage with the land as an accompaniment.   On a hot summer day when the humidity is creeping up, these are a reprieve.

South towards the Mule Mtns.  
Afternoon sun casts dramatic shadows on these hills under the colorful clouds.  The Mule Mtns. are in shadow in the center.   Focal length:  42mm.

The clouds clearly dominate in this 18mm shot taken from the same vantage point as above.

Crepescular rays over the Huachucas
Discreet rays of sun - "God rays" - break through the clouds to illuminate Sierra Vista.
Another 18mm shot; view is to the west.

Winter over the Mustang and Whetstone ranges
Clouds in the far horizon add to the sense of scale in this view that is to the northwest.  A good example of the basin and range topography of southern AZ.  Focal length = 55mm.

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