Best Pix of 2016: Arizona


It was amazing getting to experience the southwest with my wife, Ashley. While I had been to the Grand Canyon before, she had never been. It was awesome seeing her reaction as the sun rose revealing the true beauty and vastness of the canyon. This photo was taken shortly after sunrise as we made our way towards the South Kaibab trailhead. All in all, we spent roughly 12 hours at the park (from 2am-2pm). Together, we spent the night under the stars, hiked the trails, and enjoyed breathtaking views. 


Although this photo could be considered a landscape, it could also be viewed as a unique moment in time. I had originally planned to photograph the Milky Way galactic plane passing over Humphrey's Peak (Arizona'a tallest mountain to the left and out of frame). Even though I was able to capture many shots of the Milky Way passing over the mountain, the shot above is my favorite of the bunch. The shot was taken around 2am during our last night in Arizona. It was 1:30am and I had gotten all the shots I had planned for. Before leaving though, I decided to take a shot looking directly down US Route 180, the road I had pulled over on to take the shots. Since it was the middle of the night, there were no cars around for miles leaving me ample time to take the 25 second exposure required to photograph a starry sky. The photo has several points of interest; the long straight roads of the southwest, the mountains, the orange sky glow of Flagstaff 30 miles to the south, the planet Mars shining brightly directly over the roadway, and the Milky Way galactic center peaking out from the clouds on the left of the frame. That night, I did not get much sleep after getting back to the hotel at 3am. Despite that, it was all worth it to get of my favorite shots of the year.  


The Grand Canyon is one place where photographs cannot capture the experience of actually seeing it for yourself. Even though the shot above is one of my favorites of our trip, it still does not compare to actually being there. The photo above was taken towards the end of our 12 hour visit at Desert View Point on the east end of the park. It showcases many of the things that make the canyon so beautiful; the layers of rock carved away by the Colorado River, the river itself running through the middle of the frame, the midday clouds casting shadows over the vast space. Looking at a map later on, I discovered the most distant rock formations along the horizon of the picture were more than 40-50 miles away from where we were standing. Visiting the Grand Canyon has left a lasting impression on me. I hope to visit again to explore even further. 

Things & Spaces

One of Edward Stuhl's wishes before he passed away in 2014 was to have his ashes spread at some of his favorite places. During our trip to Arizona, we were able to fulfill that wish when we visited the Red Rocks of Sedona. Pictured above is the butterfly engraved urn containing his ashes set in front of one of the most beautiful of Sedona's red rocks, Courthouse Butte. Before visiting Sedona ourselves, we had only heard of its allure from my father in law. Shortly after retirement, he and his wife and my mother in law, Judy, had spent several weeks there. What they brought back were stories of Sedona's unique character and appeal. Although we would have preferred to experience the Arizonan town with him while he was alive, we were able to enjoy Sedona with him in our own special way.