Rebecca Wilks

Rebecca Wilks; Photographer, Teacher, Yarnellian, Do-Gooder

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Genuine Article

Rattlesnake Canyon Detail

It started well, with the call of a canyon wren.  Actually, it started the night before with Harley engines and loud voices into the night in Boulder City, NV.  If I was inclined to the literary, I’d say they foreshadowed a week of sleep deprivation.

There were five of us including one of my mentors, Kerrick James.  The small group kept us nimble, and we got on well.  Though they say that there’s one in every group, and if you don’t know who that is it’s probably you.  I’ll not dwell on that either.

Kayaker Harry Ford, Emerald Cave, Colorado River
We dropped kayaks into the Colorado River just below Hoover Dam (now THAT was a different vantage point) and floated 11 miles in nine hours or so.  We saw some pretty side canyons as well as bighorn sheep and a pair of Bald Eagles.  The highlight of the day, though, was Emerald Cave.  Words fail me but, not surprisingly, I have a picture for you.  This is Harry modeling for me in the cave.  The green, which is so vivid that it looks fake, is in fact real.

Dawn in Monument Valley
We were all over southern Nevada, Utah, and the Arizona Strip; often disappointed by heavy rain (we sensibly scrapped a much-anticipated trip to Toroweep) and socked-in skies.  Conditions got much nicer in Monument Valley, where we had classic sweet light on the dunes.  Here again, if you hadn’t been there you’d think the color was an invention, but it too is real.

Sunset from Hunt's Mesa
I’d been to Hunt’s Mesa once before, with Navajo Photographer LeRoy DeJolie.  His heartfelt words about the deep significance of the place to the Navajo has stayed with me and came rushing back as we crested the last of many harrowing rises and all of Monument Valley was laid out before us.  The clouds and the light were extraordinary.  And real.

In the end we traversed 1500 miles, 8 different beds in as many days, big rain, mud, rocks, minimal sleep and the whole range of food.  It doesn’t get much better than that, or more real.

More images are on the website.  As always, I appreciate you stopping by.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Stock Call Shoots

Dawn on Kendrick Peak, Flagstaff AZ

So, many prominent magazines find photographs to publish by way of the stock call.  They send out lists of places they’d like photographed, and the photographers go there, do the work, and send them in.  There’s no guarantee, but I’ve had some success with the process.  

A reasonable person could balk at the possibility of doing a lot of work with no reward, but there’s another side to this practice; I have the opportunity to see new places.  There has been a lot of that in July and August.

Passing Storm, Route 99, AZ
First there was a driving trip with three other photographers to work on some scenic drives and a hike in Northern Arizona.  The whirlwind day started at 4:00AM and ended with a burger and a beer in Pine, AZ, at 9:00PM; Arguably the best beer I've ever had.  I think we went through Winslow 4 times.  It was a lovely day of camaraderie and obsessiveness.  This was the highlight for me; a beautiful distant monsoon storm viewed from a lonely stretch of road.

Hiker on the Weatherford Trail, Flagstaff AZ
The second trip was a three-hikes-three-days-at-altitude camping trip around Flagstaff.  Whew; I’m no longer in my twenties.  My husband and dog were good sports about this one.  They’re both pretty willing models; this is my husband on the Weatherford Trail.

The header image is a happy coincidence.  We found a new place to camp up a little hill near Hart Prairie and I was treated to this view of pink fog burning off near Kendrick Peak at sunrise just a half-mile walk from camp, while the rest of the family slept.

Sunrise Along Vulture Mine Road, AZ
Earlier this week I had a solitary early morning drive along Vulture Mine Road, South of Wickenburg.  I loved the sunrise through a clearing storm.

I have no way of knowing whether the images will sell, but I’m grateful for the ideas and motivation that the stock calls give.  I have some more trips planned before the deadlines hit, too.
I hope to see you on the road. 

More images are available in the Northern Arizona Gallery on the website.