I blogged photos from this trip twice back in November, 2009, here and here. I was always frustrated that I hadn't made anything of a batch of images I had taken at dawn. A recent comment by a friend sent me looking through my files at images of Arizona and I came across the disappointing series. At the time, I rejected the image because of some irregularities in the sky. I had set up my gear in the dark and hadn't noticed dust on my lens. I also couldn't seem to get the color right. After a little software tweaking this week, this photo is a great reminder that time can bring a fresh new look and change everything. Here's the backstory...
I was working at a conference in Scottsdale, Arizona. Golf scores and pending health care legislation were the topics of polite chats at outdoor cocktail parties where staff in starched shirts and vests passed plates of southwestern finger food. Good work if you can get it.
But no matter how nice that sounds, It was hard to be fully focused on work or the amenities of the resort. Tilting back my martini glass, I would inevitably gaze up and past the putting greens. The evening sky changed colors constantly and revealed new details on the ridge line. I was finding it hard not to abandon ship, have an adventure for myself and take some pictures. Nobody else seemed to notice.
After three days of not leaving the campus of the resort, I'm sure I was the only person to check out of the hotel at 4:00 a.m. I had about 30 hours before boarding my flight home and I was going to make the most of it. I drove for 45 minutes to escape the Phoenix sprawl. There was no traffic on the two lane road and the shape of the Superstition Mountains was starting to emerge out of the darkness. I pulled over and, after a few minutes of hunting the desert by headlamp, I found this Cholla cactus and stand of Saguaro.