After visiting the Upper Tanque Verde Falls in February (see previous week’s post), I hiked up to the Lower Falls in March. The hike to the Lower Falls allowed for a bit of exploration and boulder hopping, but I preferred to photograph the clearly delineated cliff striations at the Upper Falls. After using an ND filter to make the water flatten out, I was able to walk away with at least one good panorama of the Lower Falls.
Glassy Water and Lower Tanque Verde Falls, near Tucson, AZ (16″x54″)
While photographing Tanque Verde Falls, the striations in the rock kept drawing my attention. I tried to get in close to the cliff face to use the striped rock to both frame the falls and lead the viewer’s eye towards the cascading water.
Striations and Tanque Verde Falls, near Tucson, AZ (16″x36″)
After taking a few photographs of Tanque Verde Falls from above, I tried to get below the falls to photograph the water from below. I made the main focus of the three-frame vertical panorama the small cascade at my feet, but I tried to capture the larger falls in the upper right corner of the composition.
Looking Up at Upper Tanque Verde Falls, near Tucson, AZ (16″x15″)
Last February, I took a late winter walk out to the upper portion of Tanque Verde Falls. After scrambling around on the rock shelves for a few minutes, I found a spot that allowed me to photograph both the cascading water and the striations in the cliff face.
Looking Down on Upper Tanque Verde Falls (color), near Tucson, AZ (16″x32″)
Looking Down on Upper Tanque Verde Falls (B&W), near Tucson, AZ (16″x32″)
As we were hiking back to the car from Sheepshead, I stopped to take a few panoramas of the setting sun casting shadows across the grass and cliffs. Early morning and late afternoon are my favorite times of day in Cochise Stronghold because the grass turns a golden brown.
Last Look back at the Cliffs, Cochise Stronghold, AZ (16″x70″)
Setting Sun and Cliffs, Cochise Stronghold, AZ (13″x60″)
After climbing a multi-pitch route in Cochise Stronghold, we hiked back to the truck at sunset. I stopped to photograph the scrub oak trees cast long shadows across the high desert grasses.
Oak Tree Shadow in Grass, Cochise Stronghold, AZ (13″x44″)
After topping out on Sheepshead, we took a few minutes to eat a snack and snap a few photographs before walking off the back of the cliff and climbing more on the northwest face. Afternoon light contrasted with shadows and outlines of scraggly trees eking out an existence on the harsh clifftop. The air was surprisingly clear. Rows of mountains disappeared over the southern Arizona horizon.
Pothole, Tree, Shadow on Sheepshead, Cochise Stronghold, southern AZ (12″x18″)
Boulder, Tree, Shadow on Sheepshead, Cochise Stronghold, southern AZ (12″x18″)
Clear skies and cool temperatures in January provided ideal conditions to climb a few multi-pitch routes at Cochise Stronghold in southern Arizona. We started the first route on the northwest-facing edge of Sheep’s Head. Rivulets of ice filled the cracks, and gusts of wind left me shivering at the belay stations. By the time we ascended a few hundred feet, the sun had risen enough that I could take off my down jacket and climb more comfortably. When we reached the top of the rock dome, we found floating sheets of ice in small pools of water.
Euphoria Top-Out, Cochise Stronghold, AZ (16″x66″)
Another angle on the monsoon storm over Tucson.
Monsoon Storm over Tucson from Windy Point, Coronado National Forest, AZ (14″x48″)
While climbing on one of the fins at Windy Point (along the Catalina Highway outside Tucson, AZ) in August, I watched a monsoon storm rumble across the valley below. I took a few minutes to photograph the storm clouds as they approached us. After I drove home I realized that I had also captured a lightning bolt in the panorama.
Lightning and Monsoon Clouds fromWindy Point, Coronado National Forest, AZ (26″x64″)