Wednesday, January 30, 2008


I took this photo of the trunk and broken branches of a gnarled pine tree near Sunset Crater. The weather near Sunset Crater is very harsh. It's cold and windy in the winter and hot and dry in the summer. It's a wonder to me that any large trees can grow in that area at all. Here's another photo of the tree. You can see the branches have been twisted and gnarled by the winds and harsh weather.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Here's a stitched photo of about 4 individual photos I took at Wupatki National Monument. I have to say that I have done better with stitching photos, you can definitely see some of the seams between the photos. But I still thought this one was post-worthy. The ruins on the left are the reconstructed Wupatki Pueblo, for which the park is named. Click here to see why Wupatki Pueblo is so special. Part of the Painted Desert can be seen near the horizon. Like the stone cliffs around it, the Wupatki Pueblo is made from red Moenkopi sandstone, a very common type of stone in this area.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Wukoki Window

The desert seen through a window in the reconstructed Wukoki Pueblo in Wupatki National Monument.

Here's a similar photo with the flash.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Simple Contrast

A found this single common mullein (Verbascum thapsus) plant growing from the crevice of volcanic rock in the Bonito Lava Flow near Sunset Crater National Monument. I like the simplicity of this photograph, just rock, sky and plant, but there is also a lot of contrast of color and texture between the sky and lava rock.

*Thanks to my dad, Jim Blodgett, for help with the plant identification.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Dusting of Snow

I captured this shot after we got a short dusting of snow the other day. The dark of the trees and the white of snow made for a perfect opportunity for a black & white photo.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Rest Stop Snowman

I stopped at a rest stop just after entering Sunset Crater National Monument and found this little guy waiting for me. Someone had stopped there in the last couple of days and used what little snow was around to make a mini-snowman. And with the San Francisco Peaks in the background, I thought it made for a good photo.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Repeating Pattern

I thought the repeating pattern produced by the desert brush and the snow drifts behind each one made for an interesting shot. What do you think?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Wukoki Pueblo Wall

Here's a macro shot of one of the reconstructed stone walls at the Wukoki Pueblo. The prehistoric people used primarily local red Moenkopi sandstone to build the Wukoki structure. To learn more about the Wukoki Pueblo see this post from a few days ago.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Winter Southern Sky

This photo was taken near the entrance to Sunset Crater National Monument. I thought the clouds over the meadow made some interesting formations, especially with the winter sun shining behind them.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Wukoki Ruins

This is the Wukoki Ruin in Wupatki National Monument. Built more than 800 years ago it provided a home for 2-3 families year round. Constructed on top of a sandstone outcropping, the pueblo is up several feet above the terrain, enabling it's prehistoric inhabitants to have an unobstructed 360 degree view of the surrounding landscape.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Painted Desert Sky

I took this photo at the Painted Desert Vista rest stop off of NF-545 between Sunset Crater and Wupatki National Monuments. The clouds had made an interesting formation, forming a clear delineation between clouds and clear sky. The reds and oranges of the Painted Desert can just barely be seen on the horizon. You can see I was still high enough in elevation that there was still a dusting of snow on the ground.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Flagstaff Buzz

Hi Everyone! I just wanted tell you about a Flagstaff website I found recently. It's called The Flagstaff Buzz and its address is The site has lots of useful and interesting information about Flagstaff and is part of a larger website network called The Arizona Buzz that includes websites about many other Arizona cities. Check out the site to see if your Arizona city is included.

Also, I should mention that they are holding a photo contest right now at Flagstaff Buzz. Click here for more information. All you have to do is enter your photo into the contest and you could win a free bag of Mogollon Mudd coffee. But hurry because the contest ends January 31st.

Pine Cone on Cinder Field

I took this picture in Sunset Crater National Monument. Sunset Crater is what's called a cinder cone, a small volcano made up of gravel-sized pieces of volcanic stone called cinders. This is what the pine cone is sitting on in the photo above. Cinders are so common around Flagstaff, that the city "mines" many of the smaller cinder cones outside of town and spreads in on the roads during snowy or icy weather so cars have more traction.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Winter Sun Over Wukoki Ruins

The winter Arizona sun as it peaks around the side of the Wukoki Pueblo at Wupatki National Monument. Built about 800 years ago, this structure was most likely home to 2-3 families. I will be posting more photos of this pueblo in the future, so stay tuned.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Endless Road to Wupatki

This photo is of that same road as was posted yesterday, just a different stretch of it. This part of the road is at a little higher elevation, so there are still pinyon pine and juniper around. Some of you mentioned in your comments yesterday that the road seemed to go on forever....well, I think the same could definitely be said about the road in this photo.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

First of Many

I took a little photography fieldtrip out to Sunset Crater and Wupatki National Monuments yesterday and took tons of pictures.....222 to be exact. So, needless to say, you will be seeing mostly photos from that trip for the next several posts. I still have a lot of post-processing to do of the images, but here is one to get us started.

I took this photo from small rise just off of NF-545, a quiet forest road that connects Sunset Crater NM and Wupatki NM. In the distance you can see part of what is known as the Painted Desert, a large high desert area just northeast of Flagstaff. In the Painted Desert, erosion has exposed several layers of bedrock each of which is of a different color ranging from pink to purple to blue to gray.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

AZ Snowbowl Panoramic

I took this panoramic shot from a ski run at the Arizona Snowbowl ski area just outside of Flagstaff, Arizona. The view is looking almost due west from Agassiz Peak. Click here for more information on Snowbowl.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Flagstaff's 1st Train Depot

This is Flagstaff's original train depot. Built in 1889, it was constructed from local moenkopi sandstone, which is what gives it it's characteristic red rock color. It was used until 1927 when it was replaced by Flagstaff's current train depot and Amtrak station.

Here's another view of it from a previous post.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

New Banner Photo

Well, as you can see, I've changed the photo in the banner at the top of the page. Please leave me a comment and let me know what you think of the new photo. Below is the old banner photo and the new one, so you can compare them side by side.

the old one

the new one

Bicycle City

Mountain biking is extremely popular here in Flagstaff. However, it's not uncommon to see people biking through town on older, more street-friendly versions as well. Many of these "commuter" bicycles are built more with comfort in mind, as opposed to the pure performance bikes used for trail riding. This photo is of an early Schwinn model bicycle that someone had locked up near downtown. I had to get a photo of it. Its sleek, attractive curves and colorful paint job is not something you see often anymore.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Autumn Yucca

I took this picture on the West Fork Trail in Oak Creek Canyon south of Flagstaff. The plant in the photo is a yucca and generally grows in dry, desert like conditions. The photo was taken in the beginning of November, during the height of the canyon's Fall color, as you can see from the fallen leaves around the yucca plant.

Friday, January 11, 2008


A close up shot of barbed wire with a field of monsoon flowers and the San Francisco Peaks in the background.

Here's another post with a similar photo.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

New Flagstaff Mural

This is one of Flagstaff's newest murals. Entitled "All From a Moment Alive" it was painted late last year by the Flagstaff mural artist Lyle Motley. It's located on the side of a building on N. Agassiz St. just north of Route 66 on the east side of the street. If you're interested in any of his other work please visit his website at:

Click here to see some additional photographs of this mural.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Bubbly Icicle

An icicle with bubbles in it that formed in a ponderosa pine tree outside our apartment.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Southwest Architecture

Common to Southwest architecture is the adobe building. Once used by prehistoric inhabitants of the Southwest and later historic settlers, the adobe building is created by stacking mud and straw bricks and then covering them with a plaster of fine clay and water, making a hard, almost water tight outer surface for the structure. Though no longer used in their traditional form (in most areas) their influence can be seen through the Southwest, most notably in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The above photo was taken of a faux adobe building on Route 66 in downtown Flagstaff. They even included roof beams in the artificial facade. Today, the building houses, very appropriately, a gallery of Southwest photography.

Monday, January 7, 2008

AZ SnowBowl

I took this photo from the ski lift at the Arizona Snowbowl, a ski area northwest of Flagstaff. Snowbowl doesn't make snow artificially, so in the last few years they've had a hard time staying open here in the high desert of Northern Arizona. But so far this year we've had a fair amount of snow, allowing the ski area to open and stay open.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Annual Pine Cone Drop

Each year Flagstaff marks the beginning of the new year in an interesting way. On December 31st everyone gathers in downtown Flagstaff to watch the annual pine cone drop from the top of the Weatherford Hotel. Similar to the ball drop in Times Square, about 10 seconds before midnight the pine cone begins lowering from the top of the hotel and just as the clock strikes 12 the huge pine cone reaches street level marking the beginning of the New Year. Unfortunately, I was not in town this year to see it, but a few days before New Years I got a few pictures of the pine cone poised above the street ready to come to life on December 31st. The above photo is the front of the Weatherford Hotel with the pine cone and a countdown clock. Here are some additional photos of the hotel and pine cone.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

White Wildflower

A touch of summer to get you through the winter.
(If anyone can help me ID this flower, it would be much appreciated.)

UPDATE: a big thanks to Thomas for help with identifying this flower. It appears to be a sweet white violet (Viola macloskeyi)

Friday, January 4, 2008

Mount Elden

This is a view of Mount Elden as seen from a skybridge on the third floor of Flagstaff Medical Center. Mount Elden is what's called a Lava Dome and is much more rounded on top than the San Francisco Peaks.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

No Name

I'm not sure the name of this building or even what's housed inside, but I do like its design. It's on the corner of San Francisco St. and Birch Ave.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008


A young ponderosa pine tree still covered with snow from our last snow storm.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Hotel Monte Vista

The sign atop the Hotel Monte Vista in downtown Flagstaff. I know I've posted photos of the hotel before, but I couldn't resist another one. The building is just so photogenic! By the way....