All images ©Daron W. Krueger
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In February of 2023, I did the Fountain Festival of Fine Art in Fountain Hills AZ. While I was there, I stayed an extra week to explore and shoot some key areas of Arizona–Grand Canyon and Sedona. I was also able to spend an hour at White Sands National Monument on the way, and a day at Lost Dutchman State Park near Phoenix, which gives a great view of Superstition Mountain.
My visit was plagued by snow, and with many days spent in a motel room, I only managed two days of shooting–a day and a half in Sedona, and an evening in Grand Canyon. Only the main road to the Visitor Center on the south rim of Grand Canyon was open, and no hiking trails were cleared, so my only vantage point was Mather Point. It is one of the best views of the canyon, and I got there late in the afternoon, so I had some light and I stayed until after the sun had set, which often gives great views of deep canyons.
I enjoyed a couple of hiking paths in Sedona, as well as watching the iconic Cathedral Rock glow at sunset. The rock formations also looked great after sunset, when there were no shadows and a soft light gave them a peaceful feel. Soldier Pass trail was a blast, with a clear blue sky and cool temperatures. I explored the area around the seven sacred pools, as well as the cave spur–I got an image looking out a window in the cave. I walked a portion of the Easy Breezy trail at Cathedral Rock the next morning, before the clouds rolled in and I had to head for my motel in Flagstaff after lunch to wait out the snow.
After two days–18 inches of snow–the road to the south rim of the Grand Canyon was opened about 3pm and I made the hour and a half drive to Mather Point. All the hiking trails were waist deep in snow, so I couldn’t do any of the exploring I had planned. although it was bitter cold and windy, I stayed until after sundown and got some interesting images of the canyon. The afternoon light made the canyon wall glow with strong shadows for a dramatic look. After the sun set, all the valleys and crevices were visible with all their textures–these are my favorite images I got there.
My last day there, I had to rearrange my planned routing, went to Horseshoe Bend near Page AZ in the morning instead of at sunset, as it was the only place the roads were open. The road reports said the roads to Grand Canyon were opened at noon, so I made the two hour drive there only to find the reports were wrong. By this time, there was no time to get anywhere else, so I lost most of my light that day.
Despite shooting for less than half the time I had planned, I got some great images of Sedona, Superstition Mountain, White Sands, and the Grand Canyon.