Friday, February 27, 2015

Photo of the Week - February 16-22, 2015

Photo of the Week - February 16-22, 2015|

Sunset on River Road, San Manuel, Arizona

This day would see us (Eric Peffer and I) spending quality photo time in Oracle State Park (Oracle, Arizona) and then along River Road in San Manuel, Arizona.  Our journey along the trail system and then the Kannally Ranch House in Oracle State Park was good, but lighting for photography was sketchy at best.  After the stop at the historic ranch house we headed toward the Galiuro Mountains and San Manuel.  No clear destination, just back roads and an exceptional and very inaccessible mountain range.  

As we rolled along River Road the sun began its final dip into the Arizona landscape.  Eric parked in a area that was only a couple miles from the last time we were in this area.  That trip was especially remarkable as we watched the sun vanish behind thick cloud cover near sunset.  The Galiuro Mountains behind us, suddenly began showing a beautiful golden stream of light across the range.
We were surprised at the changing scene and were able to capture some epic photos.

The photo above is from our recent trip.  The Arizona sunsets continue to amaze me.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Photo of the Week - February 9-15

Photo of the Week - February 9-15

This photo was taken on Sunday, February 15th from my parent's back porch near Tucson, Arizona.  Not much of a story behind the photo.  Simply a walk out the back door with the camera.  If only photography was always that easy. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Photo of the Week - February 2-8, 2015- Arizona BASE Boogie

Peralta Cliffs Base Jump

My photo of the week draws a pretty good portrayal of life in the desert southwest.  An outstanding sunset, stately saguaro's, serious lack of clouds, jumbled array of rock & mountain topography and yes, a base jumper.  

I can fairly easily include all of that list on almost any day of the year taking photos, except for that elusive jumper.  This jumper is tied to the popular Arizona BASE Boogie, and my boogie connection is through a good, base jumping friend of mine, Gauge Score.

I get a small bundle of credit for ushering Gauge into adventure sports.  I introduced him to bungee jumping, and he has taken adventure to new heights (and cliffs, antenna's, bridges, etc.).  Sporting only a couple of sky dives and a single base jump (tandem), I am a long leap from real base jumping and livin' the life, but I am still jazzed to have been at the event.   My friend, Eric Peffer and I did our best to capture the amazing jumps, the stunning scenery, and the fun moments that a crowd of crazy people will bestow.

After taking over 800 photos (whew!), I chose the photo up top as my favorite. We had shot at Saguaro Lake early in the day and ended up at the Peralta Cliffs.  This is the only photo that I snapped that had a base jumper and the sunset.  There were only a few that came down that late in the day and it took one to go a little off course to sneak in the disappearing orb in the sky.  I was lucky to get a few saguaro's  into the frame and to get the reflection of the sun on the canopy.

Oh, and one last note.  This jumper happened to be the only naked jumper of the day.  You get to witness the 'G' version of of his clothes-less flight. 

The real photo of the day award goes to Eric for taking the shot of me, below.  The landing area had around 70 people and he did a great job of framing it, sans people, with a glorious backdrop.

Monday, February 2, 2015

The Unleaded / Diesel Sign

The Unleaded / Diesel Sign

We were on our way back to Tucson, Arizona, after putting on the Viva Bike Vegas cycling event in Las Vegas, aboard a very large, and a sluggishly slow Penske Truck.  A full tank had gotten us to Kingman, AZ and it was now time to feed the beast.

a slow mode of transportation

Marco and I were in the Penske and Richard was driving near us in a rental SUV.  Thankfully, Marco had taken on the duty of driving because that was the last thing I wanted to do.  My past experience driving one of these beasts was very shaky and involved two large California cities and driving aimlessly around trying to find overnight parking in the congestion of downtown San Francisco. Needless to say, I wasn't thrilled about getting behind the wheel of a large truck again. 

Abandoned store/gas station in Kingman, AZ

Before filling the beast, Richard handed me the keys to the SUV and said I was free to take off if I wanted to.  So we switched vehicles, but I decided to wait and follow them to Phoenix where I would take a different road that would route me home north of Tucson. 

But we never got that far.  As they pulled out of the gas station and rolled about even with where I was parked near the highway entrance, the Penske sputtered to a stop in the middle of the road.  
Apparently, someone (and I am not naming any names here...) fed the beast with regular gasoline instead of diesel.  Science experiment #1 would tell us that they had just enough diesel gas in the line to make it to the highway entrance, not an inch closer.  
It was going to be a long night.

So we huddled up around how were going to handle our dilemma.  Eventually phone calls were made and we were told salvation would be parked behind us in 45 minutes.  Exactly 45 minutes our salvation stepped out of his wrecker and greeted us.  We knew that the evil gasoline would need to be sucked out of the tank and diesel put in its proper place.  We also knew that this was and going to be a costly mistake.  Little did we realize, that there is a safety mechanism that prevents gas to be siphoned from a Penske Truck.  The roughly 50? gallons would have to be extracted by a basic straw. 

As you can imagine this took awhile.  So I decided to use my free time to see what I could do with my camera.  I was surprised at the results.  With nothing better to do I found and conquered: 
1.  An abandoned store/gas station that was well hidden (and probably why it went out of business).  Interesting graffiti and the perfect Unleaded/Diesel sign that perfectly portrayed our journey's adventure.  The main building was accessible and led to an interesting exploration.

2.  Cool rustic fence line that caught the last rays of the sun.
3.  A dirt road that led to some beautiful sights.

4.  One last patch of sun as it moved into darkness

An unusual photo opportunity, but was kind of glad that it opened up.  

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Photo of the Week - January 26 - February 1, 2015 - 'Rain in the Desert'

Photo of the Week - January 26-February 1, 2015
'Rain in the Desert'

Record rain fall pounded the Tucson area this week.  Much needed, but the search for stellar photos was horribly hampered.  Records fell as a Pacific storm unleashed 1.39 inches on Friday(January 30), and another 1.41 inches drenched the city on Saturday(as of 6pm). These 2 days would contribute about 1/4 of our yearly total. A drop in the bucket, for my previous residence in the rain forest of Sitka, Alaska.
U.S. Weather Data working overtime reveals Sitka with 87+ inches of rain a year with 33 inches of snow fall.  

Mt. Lemmon, rising above the city, would receive 5.4 inches of liquid sunshine (term borrowed from Washington).
This rare occurrence must be a sorry sight for those seeking the desert during Superbowl week, 2+ hours of pavement from Tucson.  

A unique, missed photo, of a coyote out my window, was my flash of nearly good fortune amongst dreary weather and a week of blood sugars that were not among my best, and were keeping me somewhat caged indoors.  I fired the camera 3 or 4 times as the coyote passed my point of view.  It would have been classic stuff since Canis latrans had some interesting behavior.  
Guess my camera settings had been 'nudged' as the photos were total black.   The setting might have worked had a lightening strike hit at the exact time as I had taken the photos. 

The rain began to fall on Friday and I watched it rain.  And rain.  And rain some more.  The water began to spill onto the deck and seep toward the house.  When water begins to create an H2O imprint in the desert then it is photo time.  I grabbed the camera and caught many photos including the one at the top of the page.