Sedona Red Rocks at Late Afternoon

I’m finally getting back to the digital darkroom after taking a break for about a week.  The weekend before last was pretty intense, traveling between Phoenix, Sedona, Camp Verde and Arcosanti, and I had (have!) a ton of photos to process.  However, I also had a house that was in dire need of a good cleaning, so I spent this past weekend being a domestic goddess instead of spending time on my photography…not my first choice, but a necessary one.

So, now I’m back to processing more of the photos that I took that weekend, and tonight I’m working on the ones that I took on Highway 179 heading toward Sedona.  If you have never had the pleasure of taking this drive, especially in the late afternoon as the sun is low in the sky, you have no idea what you’re missing.  It is truly one of the most beautiful places on God’s earth, and I feel so fortunate to live within two hours driving distance from it.

Our first stop was at a deserted wooden bridge that spans Dry Beaver Creek.  Ordinarily this stream is just a trickle, at most, but with all the winter rains we’ve had, as well as the beginning of the snow melt, the stream was flowing higher than we had ever seen it.

Dry Beaver Creek, Sedona, AZ

From there, we stopped at every one of the scenic pullouts on the way to Sedona.  The trick to getting good shots of the red rocks is to be in the right place at the right time of day.  In the late afternoon, the sun setting in the west (to the left side of the highway) brings the red rocks in the east (on the right) to a gorgeous, jaw-dropping red glow, especially when there are dark thunderclouds in the distance.  There were no thunderclouds on this beautiful spring day, but the effect was magnificent regardless.

Red Rocks at Sundown

There’s just something about the juxtaposition of the green pine and juniper against the red rocks, and the rocks against the blue sky that makes you accept without question the existence of a Higher Power.  Standing at the base of the red cliffs, you can almost sense the spirits of those who lived and died here for thousands of years past.  It’s a place where you can truly get in touch with Mother Earth just by standing or sitting quietly and letting your senses absorb your surroundings.  To me, it’s a sacred place, even if it is overrun by tourists like myself. Ah, well…

Courthouse Rock, Sedona, AZ

I’ve started uploading this series of photos to Flickr.  They are available in the set named “Sedona – March 2010“.  So far, I’m working on the ones that I shot in bracketed series of three, and I’ve processed them as HDR’s using Photomatix.  I’m using the Tone Compression option instead of the Detail Enhancement option, because I think it produces a more realistic, less cartoonish result for landscapes.  So far I’ve not done any further processing on the HDR’s outside of Photomatix, they seem to suit my fancy as they are.

I’m hoping that before the end of the week, I’ll have all the photos done from last weekend, because I have a three-day weekend coming up and it’s time to do some shooting!