Living on the gorgeous California Central Coast brings many blessings, especially for wine lovers who are fortunate enough to reside in the North County area. In recent years Paso Robles and the so-called Templeton Gap region have become renowned for their abundance, variety, and quality of superb wines. The area is a haven for budding and experienced winemakers alike from all over the world, amply demonstrated by the numerous award-winning wines produced. This winter has brought us some much-needed rain along with several severe storms – a photographer’s delight.
During an excursion along rural Highway 46 West in Paso Robles, I waited for a storm to clear over some vineyards near Peachy Canyon. The late afternoon cloud formations were stunning, and formed a large thick swath of dark puffy clouds over the grapevines. This image is an HDR photograph generated by combining multiple RAW files taken at different shutter speeds, then merged and tonemapped in Photomatix software. The composite image was further processed in Lightroom 4 and onOne Software’s Perfect Effects, a favorite of mine. Hope you enjoy viewing the image as much as I did experiencing the scene.
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.