Rebecca Wilks

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

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Fortuitous Atmospheric Phenomena

Birds repositioning for a hazy sunrise, Peeples Valley Arizona

Storms bring good stuff, which creates an excellent excuse to catch you up what I've been doing, photographically.

Google Images, East side of the White Tanks Mountains, 1990 and 2023

Ready for some quiet time after December's usual excesses, I headed for the desert January 3.  I had two nights reserved at White Tanks Regional Park, which was a quiet little second home in the 1990s.  With the stunning encroachment of subdivisions, it has become a bit of a zoo.  

Moon behind gathering storm clouds, White Tank Mountains Arizona

That first night, while enjoying a beer and Trader Joe's Chicken Tika Masala (on my top 10 camping meal list,) I got philosophical.  This place has always been a bit challenging to shoot, and with the addition of loud crowds, I decided to bail.  My thinking was that the campsite was paid for whether I used it or not, and I could be happier for the same price in a favorite free site ("dispersed" in forest ranger lingo).  

There are spots in the Harquahala Mountains which remain quiet and still feel like a second home.  Granted I go on weekdays, but I've never seen another soul camping there.

Rainbow at last light, Harquahala Mountains Arizona

The afternoon was rainy, and I didn't expect any light until the morning.  I was in my jammies (embarrassingly early, I admit) listening to Guy Tal's webinar about (of all things) living an authentic life.  I looked up and saw this,

Purple sunset, Harquahala Mountains Arizona

and this.  I ran out into the rain in my cotton PJs and joyfully got wet shooting and laughing my head off while yelling happy profanity.  Alone has its advantages.

Foggy Tree Tunnel, Peeples Valley Arizona

It snowed here at home mid-month, but I confess there are no snow images good enough to share.  Then we had a warm spell and the El Nino moisture fell as rain.  The next morning there was fog.  Every good Arizona photographer I know loves fog.  I was on my way to photograph some bridges north of Prescott (more on that project later) and was stunned into hanging out in Peeples Valley, 3 miles from home, for over an hour.

Fogbow, Peeples Valley Arizona

Between the horses and the tree tunnel at Hidden Springs Ranch and the fogbow across the highway, it was time well spent.

Little Hell Canyon Arizona

Once all this burned off, I headed up the road to start a project on historic Arizona bridges. This one spans Little Hell Canyon near Drake.  I'll write more about this work soon.

As always, there's more in the Winter 23-24 Gallery on the website.