Rebecca Wilks

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

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Driving in circles and other stories


May Peace Prevail on Earth

February started with a visit to a favorite place, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, this time on assignment.  The area I was asked to photograph is on a 21-mile one way loop road, which I drove four times. 

Organ Pipe Cactus and Sunrise

Organ Pipe is famous for is namesake cactus, common in Mexico but only occurring in a small area the States.

 For the sake of convenience I posted up in Twin Peaks campground, large and half shut down for COVID.  Mostly I’d rather not stay in campgrounds, but it was OK except that I was ¼ mile round trip from the nearest open restroom.

 Proximity was a boon for the pitch-dark departures, seeking sunrise around the loop.  The Monument sits right on the Mexican border, and I did give a thought to how suspicious I might look at that hour to the Border Patrol, who keep up a strong presence there.  I imagined trying to vouch for myself and was ultimately grateful I didn’t have to.

Morning Light from the Ajo Mountain Loop Drive

I was blessed with particularly lovely sunrise light on those early mornings.

There are a couple of hikes along the loop, and I enjoyed photographing the little details we only notice when on foot, or perhaps even closer to the ground.

January 1 we dedicated a Peace Pole at the Community Center here in Yarnell.  I organized a photo booth for the first time, which was an interesting departure from landscape work.  That’s me in the photo booth with the pole in the header image.

Lake Pleasant Sunrise

Lake pleasant is about an hour away and is a great spot to camp and kayak with friends.  At least it would have been if not for the rain and wind.  Storms, though, are great for photography.  I hiked up to a high point in the predawn dark (we’re developing a theme) and oddly without my friends, who have a more normal sleep schedule.  The light was spectacular.

Lake Pleasant Sunrise

Bob Brandon with the painting

Local Yarnell painter Robert Brandon took a liking to this image and interpreted it in acrylics.  He and I have been talking about painting lessons for me for years.  I think it might be time to work on that.

Later in the month we finally had snow in Yarnell.  We got about 18”, which is a big dump for us.  We were snowed-in for a few days, but I laced up the Sorels and slogged through town with my camera and the dog.  We walked in circles here too.

I’m still playing with camera movement (ICM for “intentional camera movement,” which I suppose should distinguish these shots from just plain mistakes).  Here are a couple of favorites, from Lake Pleasant and from the ‘hood.

Finally, if you're out and about, check out my images in a group show at the Wickenburg Art Center until February 21, and the Guatemala Cultural Exchange Exhibit at the Gilbert Historical Museum Gallery until February 21.  We're still planning to have a reception when the Guate images are hung at Burton Barr Library in Phoenix, but we don't know when that will be. I'll let you know.

Circle back to the winter gallery on the website for more of the latest.