Easter seems like an appropriate time to post a photo of Church Rock (from a different angle it actually does look like a church, complete with a steeple and everything). The formation is on the Navajo Nation, south of Monument Valley and east of Kayenta. In the distance, on the far right, is Agathla Peak.
If I were at White Sands, New Mexico or Imperial Sand Dunes, California I probably wouldn't have even bothered to take this simple photo, opting instead for more interesting compositions, perhaps showing several dunes if not an entire field. But when you come across a single pile of soft, ripple-covered sand in the Grand Canyon State, no matter how small, you say, "Hey, an ARIZONA dune! I gotta shoot this!" Specifically, this solitary dune is on the Navajo Nation in northern Arizona.
Somewhere On The Rez
My favorite spot on the Navajo Reservation is called No Particular Place. To get there turn onto any dirt road, follow it a bit, then pull over and wander into the sandstone and juniper.
Moonrise at Agathla Peak I
Agathla Peak looms over the Navajo Nation just south of Monument Valley. The eroded volcanic plug, which is considered sacred by the Navajo, rises 1,500 feet above the surrounding high desert. Non-tribal members sometimes call this rock "El Capitan". It's also common for people to mistake it for Shiprock, which is not too far away, just over the Arizona/New Mexico state line. Anyway, I arrived at this spot early, knowing the moon would rise near the peak. What I did not expect was that while I was waiting a huge shadow from cliffs behind me would start creeping up Agathla Peak. I was afraid the whole peak would become dark before the moon appeared. It was like an upward race between the shadow and the moon, and I was rooting for the moon. In the end both appeared in the photo, which I think actually made the picture all the more interesting.
Moonrise at Agathla Peak II
Agathla Peak looms over the Navajo Nation just south of Monument Valley. The eroded volcanic plug, which is considered sacred by the Navajo, rises 1,500 feet above the surrounding high desert. Non-tribal members sometimes call this rock "El Capitan". It's also common for people to mistake it for Shiprock, which is not too far away, just over the Arizona/New Mexico state line. The juniper tree in the foreground is lit by a remote flash.
Black Hills I
This is somewhere in the Black Hills on the Prescott National Forest. In the foreground are Crossflowers (also called Blue Mustard or Purple Mustard). On the left is a watering hole for cattle. The tree seems very happy being sandwiched between them, although I could not brighten it without also over-exposing the sky (it's an HDR thing).
Black Hills II
Crossflowers, also known as Blue Mustard or Purple Mustard, in the Black Hills on the Prescott National Forest.
Black Hills III
The Black Hills are anything but black right now. This seldom-visited area on the Prescott National Forest is covered in green grass that's pock-marked with splotches of yellow. Lavender-colored flowers are also in abundance (to see those look at the photos I posted the other day).
Black Hills IV
This particular part of the Black Hills on Arizona's Prescott National Forest gets almost no attention and there are virtually no hiking trails in the area, for most people would not consider the place glamorous enough to visit. However, the range's grassy, gently-rolling foothills are home to deer, antelope and in the springtime some pretty amazing wildflowers. I believe these lavender-colored plants are Crossflowers, also called Blue Mustard or Purple Mustard. Some sort of yellow flowers also grow in large patches throughout the Black Hills although I have yet to get good photos of them (but a few are at the bottom of this picture).
Black Hills V
Yes, this is a different spot than the previous photo I just posted. In fact this tree surrounded by Crossflowers is about a half-mile from the other one. The general description is the same, though, so for more information please click back one photo and read the caption for Black Hills I.