There are some amazing Native American ruins in northern Arizona. One of my favorites is at Wupatki National Monument. The main ruins are interesting, but I prefer the Wukoki Pueblo as it gives me a better feeling of what it was like to live there.
I shot this image of a wall at Wukoki through one of its windows. I thought the window made a great frame showing part of the pueblo and the sky. There are many wonderful photo opportunities at Wukoki, as well as the other ruins in the area. While it’s easy to see the big images, check out the small details too.
The National Monument contains over 800 ruins, and you can easily drive to the five largest ones. You will see other ruins as you drive through the area, but they are off limits to visitors.
Your entry fee to Wupatki National Monument includes admission to Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, which is at the other end of the main road.
Keep an eye out on the people there. One time we saw Santa Claus vacationing at Wukoki. We were getting ready to leave when a car pulled up and parked. A man got out and started walking toward the ruins. He was heavy set, in his 60’s, had snow white shoulder length hair, and a matching long beard, was wearing a bright red shirt and shorts, and had a jolly bounce in his step. Anyone who saw him would say it was Santa. The world is full of magic moments like this, if you are open to them.
While most of us don’t live in our cars, some of us may sleep in our cars, or RVs overnight when going out on a shoot. Before you do this, check out this article by Nicole Jordan. Two years ago she chose to live out of her car and travel the country. In the article, she lists 17 things she does to stay safe. These tips are good for people who are spending the night in a car or RV, or are even parking at a trailhead to take a hike.
Two things I would add are buying a tool to break a window and cut a seat belt. They are cheap and can save your life. Also, you can set off your car alarm if you are threatened. This will grab the attention of everyone in the area.
I see butterflies are everywhere. I easily see a dozen on my one minute walk to the mail box. Seeing them flit by reminds me of fall, when orange and red leaves flutter from tree to forest floor.
Soon, fall colors will be here. The reds, yellows, oranges and other colors will be popping up everywhere, so grab your camera and take some great photographs of Mother Nature’s big show.
To help you get the most out of your shooting, I’ve updated my annual list of links about fall colors and where to find them. Since I live in Arizona, I’ve put together a special section for my state. But I also have an extensive listing for the rest of the country and a listing for Canada. There are also links to articles to help you take great photographs of Nature’s display of color.
As you go to these websites, you will often find many links to other sites. You could easily spend an entire day following link after link, or just go to the main pages I have listed here.
I hope you get some fantastic photographs this year. Feel free to leave a comment with a link to your images of changing colors. I’m sure everyone would love to see them. And if you have a favorite place to shoot that’s not on my list, let me know.
Have Fun, Jeff
Fall Colors on the Coconino – This Coconino National Forest site explains why leaves change colors, what trees produce what colors, and hikes to see this wonder of nature.
Leaf-ometer – It tells how the leaves are changing around Flagstaff.
The Pinal Mountainsnear Globe offer several trails with maples, sumacs and sycamores that change color. Colors usually peak in late October. Check out the Ice House Canyon trial, Six-Shooter Canyon trail and the Pinal Mountain Range. Ice House can be hard to find, so get directions from the Ranger station in Globe.
There’s a National Fall Color Hotline too, 1-800-354-4595. Call this number and choose the area of the country you’re interested in and get information on leaf color, scenic drives, peak times for the colors and other fall activities.
How To Take Photographs On A Windy Day – This is one of my articles, and it will help you get great photos of fall colors even if there’s a little breeze, or howling wind, when you arrive at your shooting destination.
Check out my latest video on powering your phone and tablet when you can’t plug in.
If you find yourself nowhere near an electrical outlet, but need to charge your phone or tablet, then this power supply is just what you need. It will quickly charge your devices and get you going again.
I purchased one of these when I was taking a lot of photos with my phone at a Pompeii exhibit, and drained my battery. Since then, I’ve used it when in nature and at events where I can’t charge my phone easily. I just plug in the power supply to my phone to quickly charge it up.
Have Fun, Jeff
August 20, 2021
by admin Comments Off on Check out my ebooks
This shot of a rainbow over the Red Rocks of Sedona almost didn’t happen. It was Thanksgiving Day, several years ago, and we were going to a friend’s house for dinner. I wanted to bring my camera, as I usually do, but I thought it would be rude to bring it on this occasion. My wife, Linda-Ann, told me to bring it as you never know what will happen.
We arrived at our friend’s apartment, and when she opened the door I could see straight through to the balcony, and there was this rainbow. Thanksgiving or not, I grabbed my camera and took some photographs. This was a very slow moving storm, so every 20 to 30 minutes I took some more photos. I was able to do this for about two hours before the rainbow disappeared. It was this event that cemented the words, “bring your camera,” into my mind.
Have you ever decided to take your camera at the last minute, and wound up with some great shots?
Have Fun Jeff
July 29, 2021
by admin Comments Off on What’s In My Bag – Rain Gear
In this issue of What’s In My Bag, I talk about the two pieces of rain gear I always have with me when I go out to shoot photographs.
The weather in Arizona changes, especially in the monsoon season. The news never seems to get it right. It will say there is a 0% chance of rain, and we get a downpour for an hour or two. Or they say there’s a 90% chance of rain, and we get nothing. I think the monsoons are too unpredictable for the weather man or woman to figure out.
I would rather have rain gear, and not need it, then need it and not have it. I’ve experienced the latter several times, and I didn’t like it. And rain gear is so small and light, that there’s no reason not to always have it with you.
With a little creativity, rain gear can serve many functions.
If you get lost, a couple of cheap ponchos can be made into a tent.
A poncho can be used as a solar still to make drinking water.
If a strong, cold wind is blowing, a poncho can stop the wind from penetrating your cloths and keep you from getting hypothermia.
There are also several first aid situations where a poncho comes in handy.
I will often stroll around old towns, just to explore and see what I find. This was a house that was built on stilts. It was condemned as it was toward another house. A couple of weeks before it was to be demolished, a contractor bought it.
He replaced the stilts with a cinder block basement, which added more usable space. Then, over the course of a few years, he rebuilt the house. It looks brand new, but in Jerome, if you remodel or tear down a home, you have to use a certain amount of the original building material in the new home. I think it’s 10%. This lets Jerome keep it’s “historical” classification in the state.
I’ve seen remodeled homes that left old doors, beams and columns in the house, and boards from a kitchen floor used to make a wrap-around porch.
Much of the wood in this house was destroyed by the elements, and pieces of the outside wall were missing. You could look right into the house through these large holes.
The day I was there, the wind had grabbed the curtain and blown it out of the window, where it snagged onto the wood. I went back the next day to take some more photos, but the curtain was back inside the house.
You never know what you’ll find when you want around, but take lots of photos, because you never know if some great subject you find will be there tomorrow.