It’s cold outside…and I don’t want to get up and shoot photos!

We’ve had several days of snow across northern Arizona with about 20 inches measured in Flagstaff — and lesser amounts in the lower elevations. Snow levels were low enough that Sedona recorded snow but little or no accumulation. That means that a few inches or more fell and accumulated in Oak Creek Canyon. When there is snow on the red rock the scenery can be amazing and worth photographing. Even if it’s cold outside.

Morning light illuminates the red rock walls of Oak Creek Canyon above Slide Rock State Park. (HDR image)
Morning light illuminates the red rock walls of Oak Creek Canyon above Slide Rock State Park. (HDR image)

All things considered, it wasn’t too bad. Temperatures were in the mid-teens when I left Flagstaff and were in the mid-20s near Slide Rock State Park. This is much warmer than last year when I shot photographs at Slide Rock State Park.

Snow clings to the steep walls of Oak Creek Canyon. (HDR image)
Snow clings to the steep walls of Oak Creek Canyon. (HDR image)

To add to the visual interest, there were clouds clinging to the upper walls of the canyon that caught the early morning sun.

Wispy clouds swirl around the cliff tops of Oak Creek Canyon.
Wispy clouds swirl around the cliff tops of Oak Creek Canyon.

Because of the extreme dynamic range of light with dark shadows and brightly-lit snow I took multiple exposures and then experimented with HDR (high dynamic range) to tone map the results. Definitely a lot of fun but like many HDR images some of the results look a bit cartoonish. Nonetheless, presented here for your amusement.

Reflected sky in the deep pools of Oak Creek.
Reflected sky in the deep pools of Oak Creek.

 

So, I’m glad I got up early and braved the cold. The photos were worth it. After I finished shooting, I headed to Indian Gardens Oak Creek Market for coffee and a bagel.