Valley of Fire Part IV

On of my biggest pleasures is to get the photos taken by everyone on a trip.  Yes, I was there too, but when 10 other eyes see the same place in a different way I get my enjoyment of a place multiplied over and over.  Then there is always the surprise and question when an image pops up, "How did she/he get that?"

I know how Ann gets some of her perspectives.  She hikes UP!  Like a mountain goat!  And fast!

Below are some captures from around the park that will bring back memories for year.  For me, each image adds a sense of personality and character to a very special place.

Yep, that is Ann up there.

Then, if you look carefully, the rock on the left looks even more interesting.

I feel like a mom who tell my child, "Get in there and clean up your room!"  I suppose you could climb down into that opening.

Leaving Rainbow Vista at the evening Golden Hour.

This guy sure gets around to high places.  Greg is way down there in the orange T-shirt.

We all want to go back.  There are several hikes we did not take, and even better photos of places we have been.

Good night.  Come back soon.

As we packed up the final morning.  We were headed home, going away from Valley of Fire.  "Taunt us, will you, Mother Nature?!

Valley of Fire Part III

We rose early and ate breakfast pretty quickly.  We knew that the sun was up!  I, for one, got really excited each time we turned right into the park.  Early and late  sun illuminates the rocks in ways that you cannot imagine.  Enjoy it quickly as it changes by the moment.

Seven Sisters shot early in the morning as we entered the park.  We are on a slight hill looking down on them from the road.  If you look very carefully you can see a bit of black pavement winding past them.

Would you stand under these rocks?  For long?

I will tell you, this Lefty kid shows up EVERYWHERE!  Just in case you did not know, (I made the mistake), this is a wolf.

OK, am thinking that this is an evening Golden Hour.

Near the east entrance, up on a hill, is a rock formation that reminds people of an elephant.  To get the best photo you have to hike a short, somewhat steep trail.  It is not difficult, even with a tripod.  Light really affects the elephant's appearance.

We were still just checking out some photo opportunities near the east entrance and Ann had already scurried to the top of the hill and captured this shot of the elephant.  She also climbed higher than most people would and got a full view of body, panoramic mountain range and the road!!  She almost ran back down, excited to have her first iconic image!!

Greg gets the left side of the elephant.  

A Golden Hour Elephant!

Now that I am home, I look at some of these photos and think, "Is there anything that looks like this is stable and safe to climb around?"  When you are there you can see how massive these rocks are.  They do fall, of course, but not often.  

This is what looks like a baby elephant.  It is across the street, an easy flat walk, from the larger one.

Close to the Visitor Center and down an easy hiking trail is a rock formation called Balancing Rock.  Unlike its Arches counterpart, this rock is NOT held in place by a cement collar.  It does look precariously balanced!  You can see it clearly from the road heading back to White Domes and Fire Wave and you can look up at it from the trail.  It also changes its appearance throughout the day.

The small piece of blue on the left side is a person.  Balancing rock is taller than it might look when photographed at this angle.

I am not sure, but this image appears to have been taken from the car as it is looking down, much like I saw it from the road.  Nice job Barbara!

This is a different perspective of Balancing Rock.  It is taken from the side that does not show off its balancing prowess but rather an 'eye' that from a bit of distance makes the rock formation look dragon-like.

An interesting loop hike takes you about an hour to finish and has a really steep uphill or downhill section, depending on which way you hike it.  If I were to do it again I think I would start the same way I did (easy) and when I got to the really steep rocky climb to get out I would simply turn around and go back the same way.  It would take longer, but would be much safer for me.  I think the images below are all from the area of White Domes, but I am not absolutely sure.  Many photos from this area have been included in earlier posts.

A different perspective.  The climb out is the rocky incline on the right of the center rock formation!!  Fortunately, Ann had come back down looking for me and was there to guide me safely up to the top.  This is an area that has been featured in movies, including Star Wars.

This was the only area where I found what I would call a true slot canyon.  It was short and not as colorful and interesting as Antelope Canyon.

As I sort through the many photos taken, there are many that I have no specific idea where they were shot, including some of my own!!  It is not fair to say that one weird rock looks like another, although that came to mind!  Enjoy some more photos that just give you a better idea of this fabulous place.

Just in time for Valentine's Day, Ann gives us a heart rock.

I was still going through my photos yesterday.  A have deleted about 68 percent of them!  I found two that I had missed earlier that with some brush work in the highlighted areas were decently recoverable.  The first image was taken at 21mm with the Nikkor 14-28mm f/2.8 and the second one with the Sigma 15mm f/2.8 fisheye.  I am putting in both so you can see the difference the focal length, seemingly tiny, can make in a small space.

All for this post.  There are more photos to come and I am going back to Valley of Fire tomorrow.  Yep, missed some.  Thanks for joining us.

Valley of Fire Part I

Fire Cave and Fire Wave, Seven Sisters, Beehives, White Domes, Rainbow Visa, Mouse's Tank . . . This place is the most unusual place I have photographed.  Multi-colored sandstone, rock formations that appear more like extruded rock mixtures that then hardened, caves, balanced rocks that intimidate as you walk below them, and then more and more!  Move over White Sands, this girl has a new favorite!!

Another interpretation of Windstone Arch.

Another cave/arch opportunity close to Windstone Arch.

In order for this to work for me I ended up cropping much more than I would have liked. I moved to avoid the overhang that Rick shows in the upper left.  There is not much room to move your camera around.  This cave was not big enough to crawl into so we were challenged to shoot from a slit in the end.

Another interpretation.

Greg in a tight space!!

Peek a boo!!  Rick trying to concentrate while hounded by the paparazzi!!

This is Three Fins, another formation located in the area of Windstone Arch.

Located along White Domes Trail.

Not all arches are in caves.  This is Arch Rock.  Our reference said that the best way to photograph this arch was to stand in the middle of the road.  Yikes.  At least traffic volume is very small along the road and we watched out for each other.  Reason?  You can see a darker rock behind the arch in the upper right.  To get a clean open shot through the arch you have to . . . well stand in the middle of the road!

Rick's interpretation.

This is the backside of Arch Rock.

This is the back side of Arch Rock taken by Rick walking much further back and climbing up on a mound of rock.

What follows are a group of photos that give you an idea of what it might be like to just walk around in this magical place.  I will post more specific areas, such as Fire Wave in the next post.

This image was first posted in the Challenge section.  Ann explains this is what happens to your feet when your climb on too many rocks in one day!!

In full Golden Hour bloom!!

I was surprised that there were so few birds in the area.  There are so many great nesting condominiums.  I suspect it is because the surrounding desert is very harsh with little to support many birds.

That is Tom in the background.

This is Tom's.

Barbara can get 'different' shot!

Sunsets were 'mild' by Phoenix standards but gave an even more surreal look to a place that was already unreal enough.

More to come in tomorrow's post.  We all hope you have enjoyed the images.