Around sunset, geese begin to return to the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge after spending the day in fields throughout the Middle Rio Grande Valley.
Bosque del Apache Sunset (#1), Bosque del Apache NWR, San Antonio, NM (16″x39″)
Bosque del Apache Sunset (#2), Bosque del Apache NWR, San Antonio, NM (16″x36″)
Bulb exposure of gathering summer rain clouds over a sculpture at Meow Wolf in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Meow Wolf Sculpture and Summer Clouds, Santa Fe, New Mexico (12″x18″)
While driving from Santa Fe to Albuquerque, I stopped to photograph the shifting evening light on passing clouds and Cerro Bonanza.
Cerro Bonanza and Evening Clouds, near Santa Fe, NM (16″x54″)
The shapes of the clouds appeared to mimic the shapes of the foothills outside Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Clouds over Baldy Peak and SF National Forest, near Santa Fe, NM (16″x54″)
Late winter/early spring winds blow tumbleweeds against a fence as clouds pass over the Santa Fe National Forest near Route 16 and Peña Blanca, NM.
Clouds over Santa Fe National Forest, near Peña Blanca, NM (16″x47″)
Erosion has washed away the rocks and soil under the ponderosa pine hanging onto the rock walls in the main slot canyon at Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument. One of my favorite trees in the world to photograph.
Tree in Slot Canyon, Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument, NM (18″x12″)
Spring clouds over a slot canyon composed of eroded layers of volcanic rock and ash from ancient pyroclastic flows in Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument, NM.
Spring Clouds over Slot Canyon, Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument, NM (12″x18″)
Rain clouds pass over the Sandia Mountains and Cibola National Forest at sunset outside Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Spring Rain Clouds and Sandias at Sunset, outside Albuquerque, NM (10″x16″)
Last July, I had the pleasure of seeing this spectacular thunderstorm roll over the Sandia Mountains while I was back in New Mexico for a conference. I pulled off NM SR556 to shoot a few single frame photographs and panoramas of the passing rainstorm as it dumped precipitation on Placitas.
Monsoon Clouds over Sandias (2017, Pano #1, Color), outside Albuquerque, NM (16″x65″)
Monsoon Clouds over Sandias (2017, SF #1, B&W), outside Albuquerque, NM (12″x18″)
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″)
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″)
While driving back to Arizona in August, I pulled off Interstate 10 to photograph this monsoon storm cloud north of Gage, NM.
Monsoon Storm Clouds north of Gage, near Gage, NM (16″x64″)
I liked the abstract feel of the curving railroad tracks in the foreground, desert scrub in the landscape, and gathering clouds in the sky.
Railroad Tracks, Desert, Sky, near Hatch, NM (16″x50″)
I frequently drive between Tucson, AZ and Albuquerque, NM to visit family. While driving to Hatch from I-10, I always notice a lone water tower standing over the railroad tracks along Highway 26. Last summer I finally stopped to photograph the structure and the railroad tracks. An approaching monsoon storm had also kicked up a dust storm over the wind farm across the road.
Wind Farm and Haboob, near Hatch, NM (16″x52″)
Water Tower along Highway 26, near Hatch, NM (16″x32″)
When I stepped off the plane from Nepal in late June, it was about 110F (~40C) here in southern Arizona. Fortunately, the monsoon started soon after I arrived. After work one evening I drove up to the top of Sentinel Peak (near downtown Tucson) and shot a few panoramas of the lumbering monsoon storms as they approached from the south.
Monsoon Storm from Sentinel Peak #2, Tucson Mountains, AZ (16″x74″)
Routes on the north and west faces of the rock promontory above the Prison Camp area make for great spring climbing along the Catalina Highway on Mt Lemmon. I especially liked the shadows of the passing clouds on the hills in the background.
Boot Hill Cliffs and Clouds, Coronado National Forest, AZ (16″x39″)
Just past Milepost 9.9 and the Seven Cataracts Overlook, the road cut along the Catalina Highway (General Hitchcock Highway) forms two vertical cliffs on either side of the road. The climbing cliffs just uphill from this pullout are called The Green Slabs. There are a variety of traditional (‘trad’) routes on the south face and sport climbing on the north face. Here are a few photographs from the area.
Focus on the Rock, Coronado National Forest, AZ (12″x18″)
Green Slabs Cliffs and Highway, Coronado National Forest, AZ (16″x49″)
Here is a second series of photographs from my Milagrosa to Agua Caliente Canyon loop hike. I was amazed to see water flowing near the top of Agua Caliente (second photograph) even though we had received so little moisture for most of the winter.
Looking down Milagrosa Canyon, Milagrosa Canyon, AZ (16″x33″)
Falls in Agua Caliente, Agua Caliente Canyon, AZ (12″x18″)
In March, I hiked up Milagrosa Canyon (I have posted climbing photographs from this canyon in the past). I exited the top of Milagrosa by scrambling up a series of stepped dry waterfalls. I then picked my way across a hill through the Sonoran Desert until I hit a trail that dropped back down into the head of Agua Caliente Canyon. After a brief swim at a lunch time pool, I boulder-hopped down Agua Caliente to where the two canyons join near the road. As I was sliding from boulder to boulder, countless thumb-sized, camouflaged desert toads hopped out of the way of my feet. Overall, the day was at least an 8/10 stars for fun- it felt rugged without ever being more than three hours from a trailhead.
Saguaro Cacti Marching into Milagrosa, Milagrosa Canyon, AZ (14″x16″)
Agua Caliente Pools, Agua Caliente Canyon, AZ (16″x42″)
Two hours north of Tucson along Arizona State Route 77, a small turnoff dumps you out onto a dirt road that winds up into the hilly desert. The southern Arizona climbing community has created a series of trails and low-impact camping sites so climbers can unobtrusively set up a tent and climb in the limestone canyon known as ‘The Homestead’. The limestone cracks and overhangs in this area are a fun alternative to climbing the granite and schist of Mt Lemmon.
Homestead Canyon Cliffs, Gila County, AZ (16″x54″)
Far off the Ground at Homestead Canyon, Gila County, AZ (16″x44″)
After hiking to Ventana Arch, we scrambled up the rock towers of Window Peak. The approach to the summit took a few hours; we had to ascend at least 4,500 feet from the trailhead to the peak, but the views were worth the walk. The hike down to Sabino Canyon was also gorgeous- a few rainclouds blew over and spat a few drops of water on us as we passed the last ridge near sunset.
Looking Down from Window Peak, Coronado National Forest, AZ (16″x57″)
Saguaro and Evening Clouds, Coronado National Forest, AZ (16″x36″)
Early in March, I hiked up the Ventana Canyon trail to Ventana Arch and back down through Sabino Canyon. Here are a few panoramas I took on the way up to the Arch.
Ventana Arch, Cliff, Hills, and Sky, Coronado National Forest, AZ (16″x53″)
Maiden Pools Rocks and Cacti, Ventana Canyon, AZ (16″x50″)