It was just to be a quick 20-minute flight home from Cottonwood to Flagstaff, Arizona.
But brevity of flight in the Flying Carpet or any airplane, has little to do with what you might see out the windshield. I had already photographed stunning snow showers gracing edges of the Coconino Plateau on my outbound leg.
The showers had thickened slightly by the time I made my way home, and over Sedona I found myself treading ghostly passages, chasing glimpses of Flagstaff’s San Francisco Peaks.
I rounded a veiled corner and emerged from a snowy chasm over this vibrant vista of Oak Creek Canyon. Magical light illuminated rich colors of the canyon walls, and in place of Arizona’s stereotypical blue sky it was topped with a wispy, frosty crown.
Another subtle element makes this image special. Among my challenges photographing the desert Southwest, is that people living elsewhere often find it difficult to take our regional rock colors seriously. So I treasure views like this one, where grassy terrain at right and atop the plateau help the eye to resolve those vibrant mineral-laden cliffs as real.
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