Sun-up to Sun-Down and Beyond: A Day in Sedona!

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One day is never truly enough to photograph a place like Sedona, AZ, but when a friend told me he was going to be down there for a visit I couldn't pass up the opportunity. Sedona is one of my favorite areas and is only about a 5 hour drive from Durango.  The drive takes you along the Utah and Arizona border, right past the Four Corners Monument and on certain days can be just as beautiful as Sedona. I was very excited about heading down and meeting up with my friend, Joe. Our plan was simple, take advantage of two photographers who want to do nothing but photograph. We met up Friday night at a local Brewery and discussed the plan for the following day. Joe had never been there before so I was willing to take the lead and get us to some of my favorite spots in Sedona, as well as maybe a few new ones. On Saturday, we started out nice and early to make sunrise and first on the list was a redo of one my favorite shots from my first time there. Best thing about the location was that it is easy to find, so before I even finish my first coffee of the morning we were there and I didn't have to think to hard to get there. Joe and I surveyed the land, and waited. There weren't many clouds in the sky so as the sun started coming up we started photographing and scurrying all around our location to grab whatever we could before the sun got above the distant mountains.Soon the sun was up and we were packed up and headed to our next destination, the most photographed spot in Sedona. Now typically, I'm not one to flock to get the same shot thousands of others have grabbed, but to every rule there must be an exception, right? I can't really explain why I enjoy this particular area of Sedona so much, well actually maybe I can. To me this is a challenge, one I take on when I go to these popular tourist destinations and one I thoroughly enjoy.  The challenge, try and take a shot no one else has! An impossible task you say, well maybe, but one I'm up for and except. So down the road we went, upon pulling up the park I noticed it was still closed, but I had looked up the times of the park the day before and we only had about 15 minutes to wait until they opened the park, or so I thought. My friend Joe, in the nicest way possible says to me "So we are going to sit here for an hour until the park opens?" "What do you mean," I responded and again in the nicest way possible Joe pointed to a sign that clearly stated the park didn't open for about another hour! Well shoot! Ok off to breakfast at an alien themed diner, yes Sedona has a tiny bit of sci-fi in it with a lot of alien themed type stuff. Our bellies full and are minds sharp from cup after cup of diner coffee, we made our way back to the park.Throughout the rest of the day, we would battle some pretty harsh lighting conditions as there wasn't a cloud in the sky! However, we pressed on. We made our way up to Oak Canyon, a place I never even knew existed until the last time I drove to Sedona. Unless you come in from the North of Sedona, Oak Creek is a place you will miss, but if you did come in from the south take the highway, there is only one, out of town going north, you won't miss it. Nestled in the canyon right next to the highway, Oak Creek is full of waterfalls and makes for a beautiful scene in this high mountain desert.After a few afternoon hours, deep in Oak Creek, we headed back to town for some recharging, both physically and literally as we had a long night planned ahead and our camera batteries needed a boost. Check back later this week for the second half of our day!

Click here for the full Sedona Gallery!