Cave Creek Hot Air Balloon Festival - May 28, 2016

I went to the Hot Air Balloon Festival in Cave Creek (AZ) last night. Things started out slowly but, once the sun started to set and the balloons started to fill, it became quite fantastic. The lighting was truly magical at dusk when combined with the glow of the hot air balloons. I had a blast walking around trying to capture some of the magic.

Mobile Home Fire - Avondale, AZ

I was dropping off my car at the tire shop around 8 am on Saturday morning when I heard an explosion. I looked over to the south and saw smoke billowing in the distance about four blocks away. I grabbed the camera out of my bag and headed toward the commotion. As I made my way down the street I came upon a mobile home community surrounded by firetrucks and police cars. It turns out one of the mobile homes caught fire, or exploded actually, which then caused two more homes to catch fire. Unfortunately, an elderly couple living in the first home were critically injured in the explosion. 

South Mountain - May 1, 2016

I came upon these gentlemen this morning at the top of South Mountain. They had gathered for a small church service or prayer circle inside the small stone ramada up by Dobbins Lookout. After the service three of the men climbed on top of the giant stone compass that sits up there and pulled out these cool looking horns. They raised them high to the sky and made three or four quick blasts that sounded quite beautiful. I have no idea what it signified or what it meant ceremonially, but it was pretty cool to hear them echoing off the quiet hills of the early morning while the rest of the world was still asleep.

Rainbow Valley Road Tree

I woke up early this morning to pay a visit to my favorite tree. It sits just at the edge of a farmer’s field on Rainbow Valley Road in Goodyear, Arizona. I don’t know the history of it but it looks like it was burned by a fire sometime long ago. I visit it frequently, trying again and again to get a really nice photograph, but I’ve yet to be satisfied by my results. One day it will all come together, the sun will shine right, clouds will fill the vacant sky, and the perfect shot will be made. Until then, I will persist.

South Mountain Saturday Morning

I wake up early most weekends and take a drive. I bring my camera, my coffee, and my music, and hit the road. I’m usually out the door by 5:00am and have about four hours of adventure before the rest of the family wakes up. Normally, I have no planned destination. I just go. I let the morning take me where it wants. I can end up almost anywhere. Sometimes I find myself in the city; sometimes it’s way out in the desert. Sometimes I visit places I’ve already been and sometimes I find myself in new territory. I’m always looking, exploring, and searching, snapping many photos along the way. No one else is usually around and it can sometimes feel like I have the whole world to myself. 

The Buckeye Billboard and Inspiration

I took these photos on a Wednesday afternoon in May. I’ve shot this billboard before, several times over the years, and have always been intrigued by it. It sits on the edge of a farmer’s field just off highway MC 85 in Buckeye, AZ. 

On this particular day I was sitting at home watching a documentary on Robert Frank (Leaving Home, Coming Home: A Portrait of Robert Frank). As I lay there watching (and listening) I couldn’t help but be inspired. Remembering this billboard, I jumped up, grabbed my gear, and headed out the door. I drove down to Buckeye and scouted out the spot. In the past I’ve always shot the sign from the side of the highway. I’d just pull over, get out, and shoot from a distance. On this day I decided to take a little bit of a risk and turned off the highway onto the dirt road that runs on the farmer’s property. I wanted to get closer to that billboard than I’ve ever been before. As I drove slowly toward the sign a pick-up truck appeared in the distance and started heading my way. I’m sure I was kicking up a lot of dust and being quite conspicuous. As the truck approached I got a little nervous. I rolled down my window readying myself to explain exactly what I was doing there and hoping I wasn’t about to get in trouble. However, the gentleman in the truck simply waved at me and drove on by. I was definitely relieved to not be kicked out - but also a little disappointed to not be able to possibly find out more about the billboard. Anyway, I got out of the car, snapped a few shots, walked around, snapped a few more, and then quickly made my way back to the main road. 

Somewhat Like Psycho

We were in Vancouver visiting Liz’s parents for a few days. One particular evening Liz and her Mom decided they wanted to play around with their hair colors so they went upstairs to the bathroom to do their thing. Liz’s Dad and I retired to the living room and began watching a movie on TV. After about an hour had passed Liz came downstairs and said she was about to wash the dye out of her hair. She thought I should grab my camera and take some pictures because, “…They might turn out really cool! It’ll be like that movie Psycho.“ (You gotta love her.)

I grabbed my camera and ran upstairs behind her. She jumped in the shower and began washing the dye out of her hair. I took a bunch of shots of the dye running down her legs, running into the drain, and basically, splashing all over the place. It was a little tricky to keep the water in the shower with the door open, and I had to be mindful that my camera didn’t get wet, but I think I got some fairly decent shots. I had my 50mm lens on the camera because it’s fast and the light was low. In my mind I was thinking these shots would look best as black & white but after I got them on my monitor I thought color was definitely better. I don’t know if they encapsulate the shower scene in Psycho as much, but I think that the final shot I chose - the bottom one - is certainly interesting.

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