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.
My Fine Art Metal Prints start at just $125, and shipping throughout the Continental US runs only $10-21 up to the largest sizes.
Check out my new “Mosel Valley Castles” photo wall calendars, featuring amazing castles of southwest Germany. Some are in ruins, some have been upgraded from fortresses to palaces, and some are close to original, but all are spectacularly sited in high places with commanding views.
Included are amazing views of and from Reichsburg Cochem, Burg Thurant, Burg Eltz, Burg Landshut in Bernkastel-Kues, Ehrenburg, and the upper and lower Oberburg and Niederburg Manderscheid castles.
As usual, I’m offering two sizes, Standard and oversized Premium. Check them out by clicking on each calendar image. (Click “Preview” on the linked page to see all the monthly photos.)
Our weekend guests Alex and Sabina arrived to unseasonably wet and cold autumn weather.
As with previous visitors, I’d promised Alex a Grand Canyon aerial tour. I mention only Alex because while he and I had flown together before, Sabina had expressed such fear of airplanes that I’d presumptively invited another friend in her place. Saturday, rain confined us indoors. Based on forecast improvement, we designated Monday for hiking and autumn leaf-peeping. That left only Sunday, weather permitting, for flying.
Sunday morning, both Flagstaff Pulliam (KFLG) and Grand Canyon (KGCN) Airports reported scattered clouds at 1,700 feet above ground (AGL), roughly 8,700 feet above sea level (MSL). While that was adequate for the route, the Grand Canyon Special Flight Rules Area requires a 10,000-foot MSL minimum altitude to overfly the Canyon.
Lacking pilot weather reports, I explained that we could safely fly to the Grand Canyon, but depending on arrival-time conditions we might not be able to cross. Alex was predictably game to go. Sabina, however, surprised everyone by volunteering to join us—her sister and friends had told her she’d be nuts to miss the Grand Canyon from above.
Although apprehensive, Sabina took the copilot seat, usually best for nervous passengers. Noting clenched teeth and hands while taxiing out, I offered to turn around, but she insisted we continue. After takeoff, however, she began peering out the window…
Friends have long asked me to offer some of my most popular photographic images on high-quality “Art Note Cards” of the sort often found in art galleries, for use in personal communications with friends and clients.
It has taken me quite some time to research the highest quality cards, the most appropriate card stock, and to cull and select images. Well here, finally, are my first series offerings.
These oversize 5″ x 7″ photo art greeting cards are press-printed on premium textured art watercolor stock, and come in multiples of four cards per image, including envelopes. (Various value packs offer up to five images on twenty cards.) Inner panels are blank for inscribing your own personal messages, and of course envelopes are included.
Thursday, I flew to meet a pilot friend for lunch. Sounds routine, doesn’t it? But Uwe Goehl, Canadian Airbus captain who flies the world for a Middle-Eastern airline, lives in faraway Abu Dhabi. We last met six years ago, so when Uwe enrolled in hot-air balloon training just across the state line at Hurricane, Utah, I jumped at the chance to reconnect. As always when bound for unfamiliar airports, I phoned ahead.
“As long as you’re not staying over the weekend,” said Art Granger, manager of Hurricane’s General Dick Stout Field Airport (1L8). “We’re closing the runway for reconstruction Monday morning—you wouldn’t want to get stuck here for three months.”
That got my attention. Sure, I planned only a day trip, but what if delayed by weather or an unexpected mechanical problem? I remembered my friend Julie, whose airplane was stranded at another airport when runway reconstruction started two days early and she couldn’t leave. So I arranged to meet Uwe at nearby St. George Regional Airport (KSGU), instead.
St. George is only 150 miles from Flagstaff, but over a stunningly remote route. Halfway lies none other than the Grand Canyon, followed by the uninhabited “Arizona Strip.” En route, only Grand Canyon National Park Airport reports weather, beyond which there are no airstrips, towns, nor even ranches for 100 miles. So while excited, I obsessively double-checked my survival kit, outerwear, water, and energy bars…
A day-long snowstorm had just passed when I flew Jean to Phoenix to see her mom. Lingering flurries receded to the east, while from the west approached the intense cobalt skies seen only after snow.
By the time I dropped Jean and steered for my next appointment at Prescott, a few new snow showers sprinkled northern Arizona’s mountains. No worry–Flagstaff’s San Francisco Peaks beckoned clearly from between them for my subsequent flight home.
Ninety minutes later, I preflighted for my final fifty-mile hop. Prescott’s Love Field Airport lies in an open valley, with Flagstaff 2,000 feet higher at the base of Arizona’s tallest mountains. Therefore you can usually see Flagstaff’s “Peaks” directly from Prescott’s airport tiedowns.
Now, however, the snow showers between here and home were denser than before…
Recently I flew out-of-town visitors over the Grand Canyon. As always it was amazing, but I found myself dodging clouds so we returned early.
On our way back, however, sun pierced clouds over flaming autumn aspens lining the Inner Basin of Arizona’s San Francisco Peaks, and… Wow, one of my most amazing aerial sights ever! (Click on photo to see a larger image.)
“Inner Basin Flaming Aspens” Fine Art Metal Print sizes and pricing* in ready-to-hang frameless floating wall mounts (pictured at my Fine Art Metal Prints page):
*Prices include standard shipping within Continental US. (Contact me for pricing of custom sizes and framing options.)
Order your “Inner Basin Aspens” Fine Art Metal Prints HERE.
NEW! 2019 “Views from Kachina Wetlands” Photo Wall Calendars
Nearly every day for years I’ve hiked or biked this beautiful wetlands near Flagstaff, photographing sunsets, weather phenomena, wildflowers, and birds.
(The Audubon Society ranks Kachina Wetlands among Northern Arizona’s top birding sites.)
Finally this year I’ve collected some of my favorite and most unique Kachina Wetlands images into Standard and Premium-sized wall calendars, including many from my “Down to Earth” series of Fine Art Metal Prints.
2019 “Views from Flagstaff” Photo Wall Calendars
These calendars feature some of my favorite photographs shot in and around our beloved Flagstaff, Arizona, including several from my “Down to Earth” series of Fine Art Metal Prints.
Among them are photographs of historic downtown Flagstaff including the landmark Weatherford and Monte Vista hotels, the San Francisco Peaks, Coconino County Fair, seasonal views of summer sunflowers and autumn aspens, and Flagstaff’s famed New Years “Great Pinecone Drop!”
(Previous buyers note that this year’s “Views from Flagstaff” calendars contain the same great photos as last year’s.)
2019 “Views from Japan” Photo Wall Calendars
Once again, I’m also offering my terrestrial, “Views from Japan” photographic wall calendars.
Although a departure from my aerial persona, Jean and I have been so taken with Japan’s beauty and character during our travels that I can’t resist sharing special images from there.
This is one country you must make plans to visit! And once seeing the included photographs, I suspect you’ll agree.
Included are amazing views of Kyoto’s and Nara’s exquisite temples, Matsumoto Castle, Osaka’s Dotombori Entertainment District, a Shinto wedding at Miyajima Island, Tokyo’s Ginza District, and Ogimachi Historic Town.
(Previous buyers note that this year’s “Views from Japan” calendars contain the same great photos as in prior years.)
2019 “Views from Korea” Photo Wall Calendars
Check out my “Views from Korea” photographic wall calendars!
Included are amazing photographs taken in the Republic of [South] Korea, little-known among Americans, with its fascinating blend of old and new.
See Seoul’s renowned Gyeongbokgung Palace, Gunsan’s Barley Festival, traditional Korean horsemen in Jeonju, Gochang-eup Fortress, and more troubling, North Korea viewed from the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) Joint Security Area.
(Previous buyers note that this year’s “Views from Korea” calendars contain the same great photos as in prior years.)