Rebecca Wilks

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

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Monthly Favorites 2023

Here I am again, inviting you along on a little trip down gratitude lane.  I enjoy this yearly exercise and I hope you will too.

Roping at D Spur Ranch Arizona


Lisa Langell offers a delightful workshop she calls “Magic of Cowboys” at a ranch east of Phoenix. Our group did everything from portraiture to capturing gunshots to exciting action.  This was my favorite, though I’m pretty sure the longhorn would disagree. This image will be part of a show called “Double Takes” at the Wickenburg Art Center.  It will be displayed next to a painting inspired by it.  I can’t wait to see it!

Guatemalan Friend

Guatemala is an exemplary place for street photography, and this shot in Santa Catarina Palopo is my favorite so far.  Not only was she happy to be photographed, but she was wearing her colorful traje, standing in front of a great background and (lest we forget) holding a rooster. This was one of those moments of connection that make international travel so special.

Globe Mallow, Sonoran Desert National Monument Arizona
Spring Bouquet, near Tonto National Forest Arizona


I don’t know how to define the popular term “superbloom,” but I will say that last spring was a doozie.  I couldn’t decide between these two.  The first is globe mallow overtaking a cactus skeleton in Sonoran Desert National Monument.  I’d never been there before, which made the visit that much more delightful.

The second was a friend’s neighborhood. We spent the day together, chasing flowers in the Tonto National Forest East of Phoenix and the best shots were here, literally in the median of highway 87.  I love the color and the context that the mountains provide, and that you can’t tell it’s a highway median.

Spring Cottonwoods in the Hassayampa River Arizona

The drone has literally given me new perspectives, especially on familiar places close to home.  The cottonwood trees in the Hassayampa River are exuberant in the spring.   They tend to look a bit ratty close-up but from a distance like this, they’re the heart of the Spring season.  I’m also a sucker for historic bridges like this one on Wagoner Road. This shot has made me think about a bigger photo project along those lines.

Top-down view of Watson Lake Prescott Arizona

Abstract, aerial, directional light, dramatic, and from a top-down perspective.  Delicious.

Golspie Burn Scotland

East Clear Creek Arizona

June was a big month, so I’m going to allow myself two; one domestic and one international.

We’d been planning and re-planning a trip to Scotland through the COVID years.  Finally, we got there and there are so many images of stone structures, waterfalls, seascapes, and highland cows that making a choice is impossible.  Today, my favorite is this lovely waterfall at Golspie Burn, but tomorrow it might be the 3:30 AM sunrise on Skye

The Arizona shot is a drone perspective on one of my favorite spots, the Kinder Crossing area on East Clear Creek.  That’s Marco casting in lovely light.

Fish Lake National Forest Utah

Especially this year, I’ve been discovering beautiful places through Marco’s fishing.  Our time in this lovely area in the Fish Lake National Forest in Utah started out as an escape from the 100 + degree temperatures at lower altitudes.  At 10,000 ft it was a joy.  300 feet above that, from the drone, this just got better.  The light green trees are aspens, and they were a thing to behold when we returned in the autumn.

Sunrise on the Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho

Two weeks seemed like long enough to circle up through Montana and back, but that’s a lot of driving.  I suppose we’ll have to keep trying the timing until we get it right.  Two weeks of photography also makes for some tough choices, but here’s my selection and I’m sticking to it.  This little tributary of the Salmon River in Idaho is called Fourth of July Creek (who could resist?) and the mountains sporting morning glow are the Sawtooths.

Lake Stream Gorge, Fish Lake National Forest Utah

This one gives me that ‘full heart” feeling, even though it’s not technically perfect.  We’re back in that same part of the Fish Lake National Forest as the July shot.  I loved this angle on the spectacular gorge enough to come back and shoot it again the next day.  I love the backlight and color.

Caddo Lake Texas

Caddo Lake Redux.  This was my second go with the girls, and I had a ton of ideas about what to do differently.  Some worked, some fell victim to the overcast but not foggy weather, and then there was the unexpected.  This pond was free of the surface gunk we saw in the more popular places, and delicate and diminutive floating heart flowers against the reflections were winners.

Maple leaves under ice, Zion National Park Utah

Zion, like many National Parks, is not so dog-friendly.  Marco had never seen it, though, so we made a little detour on the way back from Gold Butte and took a short hike on Checkerboard Mesa.  This little scene captivated me.  It still does.

Afton Canyon California

When I fly the drone over places I’ve not seen from the ground, I’m sometimes surprised.  There’s a lot going on here in Afton Canyon (Mojave Trails National Monument); railroad tracks and bridge, geology, topography (I love that s-curve canyon), and the Mojave River and Road.  Desert at its best.


Thanks for riding along this year, and here’s wishing you the best in 2024.

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