Pittman Valley Summer Cloud Panorama

Pittman Valley, Arizona summer clouds panorama

The summer of 2009 must have been a great one. It was a great one, in ways that I’m only more fully appreciating now, as I sift through my files.

I was living on the high, beautiful, wide open Coconino Plateau between Flagstaff and Williams, Arizona. I was renting “Stone House”, a small home on an historic ranch in Pittman Valley. Right outside was all the sky.

I spent many hours happily cutting and splitting firewood for the wood stove to keep me warm through the winter. I prepared that wood in the summer, so it had plenty of time to cure in the hot, dry Arizona high country sun so that it would be ready to burn hot in winter.

I also had my camera with me at all times. I gave up hunting wild animals long ago merely because I wanted to be free to hunt light, with  my camera, eyes, and feelings. I suppose I’m a photographic mountain man. Running a chainsaw or seeking another exquisite expression using a camera lens both seem natural to me.

This panorama was created by first taking six high resolution shots of the scene outside my back yard at that time. I merged them using Adobe Photoshop to create the kind of wide image that could not otherwise be expressed in a single photo.

Even today, it still seems like magic to me. All of it: the camera equipment, the computer equipment. But more importantly, the life of it. Having the privilege to live this peaceful life. This appreciative life.

Sunflowers Summer Of 2010

San Francisco Peaks, Flagstaff, Arizona

Combing through my photo files gives me a fresh perspective on them. What’s the best, what’s not.

But also to delve into some photos with the latest tools, like Adobe Lightroom 5. They keep tweaking the tools to make them more subtle, and thus more powerful for expressing a photographer’s mind’s eye.

In this photo taken northwest of Flagstaff, Arizona, I was savoring the mountain high country. Mountain peaks, warmth without sweating like a pig. Cool nights camping in the forest.

But that summer, the sunflowers exploded in force. Riotous. What caused that? The next summer, not so much. So I’m glad to have photos of it like this one.