Rebecca Wilks

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

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Monthly Favorites 2020


Runner-up.  Mojave Desert Sand Dunes

What can be said about 2020 that hasn’t already?  If I stick with the positive, I’ll say that I needed a nudge to slow down (which certainly occurred), and that I was motivated to try lots of new things (I’ve been messing with tabletop still lifes and Intentional Camera Movement) and have done lots of on-line education, principally two Out of Chicago seminars.


I continue to be so very grateful for the support of friends and family, as well as clients and social media acquaintances.  Connection has become even more important this year.


So, here goes my annual exercise of choosing one favorite image from each month of the year.  Enjoy!



Petroglyph in Ironwood Forest, Arizona

There’s magic in exploring a new place, especially when I have a tip about something exciting like petroglyphs.  Sharing an image of the ones I was tipped off on would seem like cheating, but these I found on my own, wandering around the area.  Ironwood Forest National Monument is an under-utilized gem which is well worth exploring.


The handoff, Hashknife Pony Express in Holbrook Arizona

What a thrill to be invited to chilly Holbrook, Arizona to photograph the Hashknife Pony Express! This multi-day ride from Holbrook to Scottsdale delivers real US Mail and has taken place for 61 years. Shawn and Wade were kind enough to model for us at sunrise.


Spring at Organ Pipe National Monument Arizona

Owl clover at Organ Pipe National Monument took my breath away on a gorgeous spring day.  It wasn’t a spectacular spring for flowers, but they were there for those who looked.


Primrose, stone stairs, and moon set, Yarnell Hill Arizona

Yarnell Hill is my front door, and driving in and out in April, I kept seeing more primrose blooms each trip.  I was positioning for shots of the setting full moon at sunrise and stumbled on these clusters of blooms on either side of some disused stone stairs.  What a cool moment!


Tabletop photography of the versatile Gerbera Daisy.  Part of the fun here is controlling the lighting, which is not so easy out in nature.  I also appreciate the lack of wind in the house.


Layers, Yarnell Hill Arizona

Close to home again, this time waiting for the full moon to rise over the Weaver Mountains in the evening (there’s a pattern here) I looked behind me and there were the purple mountains majesty rising from the desert floor.


Sunburst in the aspens, Kaibab Plateau Arizona

My favorite little stand of aspens on the Kaibab Plateau.  I’ve photographed the heck out of this area in autumn, but I rather like it in summer, too.


Rock Comet, San Clemente California

This image is just plain off the wall.  I was wandering around the beach in San Clemente, trying to shoot something different than the usual pier shots, and decided to take a walk looking down.  It was low tide, and the rock (lovely on its own) had created this pattern in the retreating tide.  I thought it looked like a comet.


ICM backlighted aspen, Kaibab Plateau Arizona

A bit of a new take on the backlighted autumn aspen shot, this one was taken while moving the camera.  The Wickenburg Art Club, which I’ve recently been juried into, does a fun annual show called “Double Takes,” where artists of other types and writers choose a work by a photographer for inspiration.  The two are exhibited together.  I liked this one enough to submit it, and you can see it and its not-yet-created counterpart there, along with many other pairs, March 1 – April 14.



Late autumn, Kebler Pass Colorado

Colorado was so very spectacular last autumn that choosing a favorite was nearly impossible.  Here, a stand of aspens on Kebler Pass.


Cloudburst and sunset from the El Tovar Hotel, Grand Canyon Arizona

Zing!  A sunset storm from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. 


Gypsy on the dunes

Dog.  This year’s recurring theme.


Thanks again for riding along this year.  Who knows what 2021 will bring, but there will be photos.

Friday, December 25, 2020


S-curve in the Dunes

Try as I might, I’ve got no unified photographic or philosophical theme for this month. Some of you might be grateful for that, but since I’m here. I might as well put up a few images and stories.


ICM; road stripes and cottonwood leaves

We had one rainy day here in Yarnell, which saturated the late autumn colors and convinced me to go for a walk and play with camera movement.  ICM (intentional camera movement), like snow, can make scraggly things look beautiful.  Until we have some real snow this is what I’ve got. 


Harbinger of Winter, Yarnell

The absence of ice (always a favorite subject) inspired me to cheat a bit, collecting leaves and leaving them to freeze in a pan of water overnight.

Assay Office, Robson's Mining World AZ

The Barber Shop, Robson's Mining World AZ

Robson's Mining World AZ

I’ve recently juried into the Wickenburg Art Club (I’ll have work in two exhibits coming up, which will be fun; stay tuned).  We had the pleasure of a group trip to Robson’s Mining World, an odd and delightful amalgam of restored and purpose-built buildings and stuff near Aguila Arizona, which is not really near anything.  This is not the kind of photography I usually do but it's perfect for getting out of that rut.


Antique Balance and Pears

A friend has moved and is emptying out the storage units.  Plural. I looked through her boxes (donated stuff for the Yarnell Community Center Thrift Store) and found the balance scale, which she meant to keep.  As cool as it is, I’ll give it back, of course.  I had to play with it a little first, though, with the tabletop lighting and diffusion tent.


Sunset among the Joshua Trees, Mojave National Preserve

Our solstice trip to the Mojave Desert was odd and truncated this year.  We woke up on day 4 with increasing winds which made it difficult to get the pop-up camper top down.  The forecast called for continued gusts to 40MPH for two days.   This is supposed to be fun, we thought, so rather than shelter in the camper for two days with a very restless dog, we came home 3 days early.  I’m still a bit sad, but home is awesome, too.



G had her first experience with sand dunes. Running. It might have been the best part of the trip for us, too.  No worries, this is not one of the famous National Park dune fields in California and dogs are allowed.



On the way home, I was struck by the odd light in a dust storm on the Ivanpah Solar Field.  There’s no shortage of weird in the Mojave.