Area Spotlight: Sedona, Arizona
About 5 years ago, I came out west to visit Arizona for a short 3 day trip. My first day, I went down to Tucson but on my second day I found one of the most beautiful high desert areas and the motivation I needed to finally make a move out west. Sedona, Arizona is truly a place where forgetting the everyday madness of life in the world is easy. Soaring formations of sandstone carved by the wind give Sedona views you will only experience there. Go at sunset or sunrise and you will think you are in a scene straight out of the movies. There are enormous amounts of outdoor activities to do in Sedona, during the day or at night. Simply put, it is heaven on earth.My first day here I woke up at around 4:00 a.m. to set out for sunrise. My destination was a popular one in Sedona called Cathedral Rock. In doing some research prior to my trip I found about a million and one pictures of Cathedral Rock with what seemed to be all taken from the same spot. This is something I have started to see time and time again as I started looking for places to photograph in the west. So my challenge is to go to the recognizable places that people want to see pictures from, but try and get an original composition. Trust me this isn’t always easy.On this particular morning, I picked up my coffee and headed to the spot where every other photographer that has ever visited Sedona has probably stood. This morning, however, I would not stand there as The Red Rock Crossing is a state park and doesn’t open till 9:00 a.m. daily. Yes, I could have easily parked my rental and hopped the very flimsy chain drawn across the entrance and hiked to everyone’s favorite spot, but on this morning I didn’t really feel like breaking any rules. So, back in the rental I started driving back up the road when I came to a trailhead that didn’t seem to go anywhere, but would put me in the perfect spot for a photograph of the other side of Cathedral Rock.I hiked out about ten minutes or so and got setup for sunrise. Never before in my life I have seen a sunrise dance through the sky like that morning. Every minute the color changed and every rock formation seemed to awaken as the Sun’s rays hit them. Beauty was all around me and I couldn’t be happier. However, beauty wasn’t the only thing all around me as the pleasant sounds of coyote’s howling started to become not so pleasant. I had heard them a few times as I set up, but they were pretty far from me and didn’t seem to be an issue, but as the morning went on their howls became closer and closer. That is when your mind starts to play tricks on you, and every noise makes you think “What was that,” “That sounded close,” or “Sh*t I need to get out of here.” So as the sun started to make its way over the mountains I decided to high tail it out of there so I didn’t become breakfast. All was not lost as this was one of the shots I got before I left.Experiencing Sedona is not just for us photographers, the views and places you can see from a short hike or jeep trail make this place a sight everyone should see. Sedona thrives on it’s tourism so book a tour with one of the many companies in town and you will not be let down. By Jeep, OHV, or feet when you get out in Sedona you will understand the magic of this beautiful place. Want to experience Sedona through the artist, then take a trip to Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village where you will experience some of Sedona’s best art galleries and restaurants.With so much to see and do in Sedona you are sure to get tired, so make sure to make some time for relaxing. No I’m not talking about the many spa’s or yoga places in town, while they are nice, if you really want to relax than find your way to one of the many “Vortex” sites in and around Sedona. Vortex? You say…. Well think of a tornado, but instead of wind there is just mounds of pure energy. No you can’t see it or feel it, but you can experience it. All around Sedona you will find maps to take you to the Vortex’s, but the major 4 (Red Rock Crossing, Bell Rock, Airport, and Boynton Canyon) are easy to get to and don’t require a lot of hiking. I can’t really speak to the mounds of energy swirling in a vortex, but I can say of these 4 places I have been to 3 of them and there is nothing but beauty all around you and I promise you will feel relaxed and refreshed just from the scenery. Here is a panoramic at sunset from the Airport Vortex!