A few weekends ago, I found myself way out west – twice – with cowboys and cacti, gold mining and hiking, mountain men and macro lenses.
The first part of the adventure was way out west in Apache Junction. OK – the direction is east for me (from Scottsdale), and not all that far, but certainly west in spirit as the AZ PAC headed to the Apacheland Festival. Anytime you can share the day with a bunch of characters is a good day for photography – and I’m not talking about just the AZ Photographers Adventure Club. The Muleskinners re-enacted a good ol’ fashion gunfight (they shot, we shot, they shot, we shot…you get it) and joined us later in the day for one of the greatest group pics of all time.
It’s almost embarrassing to say that I have lived in Arizona for more than 20 years, and the Yellowbird Native American Dance Troupe presentation is the first time I’ve seen hoop dancing. On the plus side – it was well worth the wait. The challenge for us was to capture the grace, the movement, and the beauty in a single frame as the dancers transformed their hoops into interpretations of nature’s creatures.
General travels around the grounds took us to mining machinery, real horses and talented artists. And at the end of the day, much like the people of Apacheland transformed a day in 2012 to the 1800’s, the Arizona Photographers transformed their photos into memories from yesterday to yesteryear with some very creative of post-processing techniques. Take a look on our Meet Up Photos for the Apacheland Festival to see what I mean.
On Sunday, I awoke thinking “go west, young man” (except I’m not young, nor a man) and this time it meant REALLY west – at least for me – to the White Tank Mountains for a trail hike and macro photography lesson with Stephen Vanherpen, our west side organizer. Stephen started out the day with a short presentation and some great tips on equipment and techniques for microphotography. My favorite “takeaways”:
- When the scenery isn’t that interesting, think micro to find the shot
- It’s all about the lighting
- Bring a black piece of fabric (I usually use my hoodie) for a dramatic backdrop for flowers
- Be careful of the bees (actually, that’s my own piece of advice)
It was so cool – in fact, it was down right cold standing there (not sure what the temperature was that morning, but several members donned their gloves and zipped up their jackets). Then off we went up on the Black Rock Trail, which has some amazing petroglyphs, backlit cactus, and a waterfall – sometimes – not this time, but sometimes. Loved the rock steps leading up to the waterfall area, and Stephen’s lesson in the sound a hummingbird makes as it flies in loops to protect its territory!
Best of all, the unhurried stroll up and down the trail gave us plenty of time to get to know each other and share some ideas and experiences. My daughter refers to this as “photo hiking” – step step shoot, step step shoot, step shoot, step, “can I take your picture?” shoot, “will you take my picture?” (followed by the story how we have no pictures of ourselves anywhere because we are always behind the camera) shoot, step. Here are the Photos!
Thanks Stephen, for organizing a great meet up and a great day!
To Join Photo events & Photowalks like this every weekend Join a Camera Club Such as Photographers Adventure Club
Photos By: Miachelle DePiano & Mike Millar
Mike Millar says
A wonderfully written article. I wish I had gone to the Apacheland event. It sounds like you all had a good time. Thank you for choosing my photo for your article!