As I’ve mentioned before, one of my favorite places to visit and photograph is the great state of Arizona, which is ripe with photographic pickings. Perhaps it’s because I feel deeply connected to Native American art and culture and love to visit the ancient ruins, or that I am addicted to roaming old ghost mining towns, which are plentiful throughout the state. Whatever the reason, there is simply something very alluring about this beautiful region of the Southwest, from the redrock country surrounding Sedona, to the pine-clad forests of the Mogollon Rim high country and the great deserts beyond. In recent years I took an extended trip to the Prescott region in northcentral Arizona and ended up with hundreds of Camera Raw files to process, as is typical in such scenic areas.
Although I have post-processed many images from this wonderful excursion, I have only recently gotten around to working on many others. Even though I’m working today in our photography studio at Studios on Park in Paso Robles, California, I wanted to post two more images I worked up from my ‘stormy’ visit to the Verde Valley region. For more detailed information and photographs, please see my prior posts Ruins of the Arizona Verde Valley, Storm Over Arizona’s Verde Valley and The Historic Ghost Town of Jerome.
Many people are familiar with ancient Native American ruins such as Mesa Verde in Colorado; Chaco Canyon in New Mexico; and Canyon de Chelly in northeast Arizona. However, few are aware of several wonderful ancient sites near the towns of Jerome, Clarkdale, Sedona and Camp Verde: Tuzigoot National Monument, Montezuma Castle National Monument, Montezuma Well, and Palatki Ruins. These images were two of many taken during a wet and wild thunderstorm from atop Tuzigoot National Monument, just east of the charming small town of Clarkdale, Arizona, home of the historic and highly-recommended Verde Canyon Railroad.
The Tuzigoot ruins sit proudly on a hilltop overlooking the spectacular Verde Valley in the high desert not far from the historic ghost mining town of Jerome. In the image above, you can see the town of Clarkdale in the distance as storm clouds loom overhead. I was very fortunate that a huge storm rolled in while visiting Tuzigoot, as the cloud formations and lighting that afternoon were spectacular. The views from atop the hill were simply stunning. I highly recommend visiting Arizona’s Verde Valley if you are in the Jerome or Sedona areas. All images are HDR (high dynamic range) images processed in Photomatix, Lightroom, Photoshop, and with onOne Software’s Perfect Effects.
Although I’m working today in the photography studio at Studios on the Park in Paso Robles, California, I wanted to add a post on a texture-blended image I often receive many questions about by gallery patrons. They often ask how the composite was created and the vintage look achieved. The image, Wish You Were Here, was taken at dawn at Harford Pier, Port San Luis Harbor, in Avila Beach, California, and is comprised of multiple HDR bracketed Camera Raw shots processed in Photomatix, Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. At a later time, I blended a vintage postcard texture with an angel into the pier photograph.
This process was done by utilizing Photoshop scripts created by the highly respected photographer, author, and instructor Uwe Steinmueller, Editor and Owner of Digital Outback Photo. Mr. Steinmueller has created many useful plug-ins and scripts for digital post-processing which I highly recommend. The scripts used in the above image are his DOP Texture-Blending scripts, which allow the photographer many choices in achieving the final artistic look desired. I must credit the amazingly talented Jerry Jones of Shadowhouse Creations for his huge array of outstanding textures. The postcard with the angel was sourced from Shadowhouse. I highly recommend his textures if you are interested in this technique. And don’t forget to make a donation!
I would also like to dedicate this post to my elderly father, Rudolph Besta, who is currently hospitalized after taking a fall. The morning I took this photograph, I had just driven Dad to the airport for a return visit to our hometown in the St. Louis metropolitan area, where he is now in the hospital. So this image is now all the more poignant for me. Please get well Dad. I do “wish you were here” and I love you very much.