Snow Blankets Sedona

A major winter storm moved across Arizona on New Year's Eve.  We checked out Sedona, and specifically Crescent Moon, also known by some as Red Rock Crossing, to experience a most unusual photographic opportunity.

We left with safety and caution as our guides as to how far north we would drive (note to self, remind mom we are responsible)!  What really drove us was the excitement to see what might be covering those gorgeous red rocks.  But first . . . 

The roads were clear the whole way!  Thanks guys.

Along the road north of Black Canyon City.

Along the road.

Behind McDonald's in Camp Verde.

Fifteen shot panorama from the Ranger Station.

From the Ranger Station just outside Sedona.  Checking for park closures, maps, suggestions, etc.  It was cold and the sky was just beginning to clear up.

White out!!!!

Bell Rock

I think this is Bell Rock as well.

On our way to Crescent Moon.  Can't complain about this scenery.  Tom rode 'camera' as we drove.

Still snowing lightly around town.

There is a man walking right behind this tree.  It became a challenge to get a 'clean' shot!

I like Barbara's better.  See below.

Aren't these reflections just the coolest ever?  Yes!

Taken before the clouds got serious about moving on.  For those asking for some EXIF and post processing information:  This image was processed using exposure blending.  It is not the same as HDR processing, rather it uses two images (usually) to achieve a more realistic or artistic interpretation desired by the photographer.  In both images:  ISO 400, 70mm focal length, taken with  a Nikon D600 and 24-70mm Nikkor lens.  One image was shot at 0 EV and 1/750 and the other image was shot at -2 EV and 1/3000.  The negative exposure compensation, achieved  by the faster  shutter speed, gave Tom the moody sky image he was after.  The image was then processed using the 2 exposures that were layered in Photoshop and blended together to get the darker sky on one over the lighter foreground on the other, then erasing parts of the top image.   While not an HDR processed image, Tom is seeking to accomplish the same goal, which is to represent a greater dynamic range in the image, while avoiding the ghosting and chromatic aberration which are common byproducts of HDR processing.

There was a lot of discussion on how to best capture snow falling, and believe me, it was falling from these over-burdened branches in big chunks.    To my knowledge, David was the only one that got a shot of it!  Kersplash!  Good luck David!

While I like this photo, I like the one taken by David (below) much better.  I put this one on just to show how composition makes such a difference.

David's image, for me, captures a much better representation of the red rock, which then complements that lovely orange leaf above and the red in Cathedral Rock in the background.  He cuts out the area across Oak Creek which really does not add anything to the image.  It is a much tighter, more focused and interesting image than the one I took above.  If you are asking what this would look like if the water was smooth and silky, you are asking a good question!  EXIF:  ISO 200, 16mm focal length, 1 EV, f/9 at 1/100 with Canon EOS 7D and EF-S15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens.  Minimal post processing.

One of the nicest photographic opportunities at this location is, of course, to capture reflections.  Usually one is restricted to reflections off Oak Creek.  But, after monsoon storms or snow melts, there is one place everyone loves to check out.  It is a big slab of red rock with indentations.  It is located so that if you are clever, patient and work your shot, you can get some interesting reflections.  On this day there was not much in any of the pools so it was a tough assignment!

Another interpretation.  Some folks like it darker!  Yep, that is me walking back and offering David an opportunity to get a sense of scale!  Actually, I was in the way!!

One more way to work the shot.  

Another version of catching falling snow!  Just love it.

At some point you have to leave.  Right?  Dang it!  Tom caught some late Golden Hour shots from the car as we headed home.  A full day of magic.  Must admit, it was a long ride home.

Taken from the parking lot at Tlaquepaque where we stopped for dinner at El Rincon.