Today marked my return to the Wallow fire burn area in east central Arizona, just over the state line from New Mexico. I have wanted to shoot (with my camera) the burned trees in the snow for a year, and haven’t had an opportunity to do so until now. So, I braved the far-below-freezing temperatures to return to get the shots.
This should be interesting, I thought as I left home. I’ve been freezing for the last two days here at home, and now I’m going someplace even colder?? I must be crazy! Or I really want those photos! It’s mostly the latter, but I suppose it’s a little bit of both.
Up on the Rim, Hal and I, traveling together, saw the depth of the snow and got a little worried. Maybe this was a stupid idea, to do it now. But I think you have to go in winter to get snow shots, so that was the logic behind it. Fortunately, after leaving Heber and Show Low there was less snow, and it was a beautiful, nearly cloudless day, the road was warm, and almost before I knew it, we were nearing the last leg of the journey. We stopped so I could shoot the area that I have been working on since the progression began in July of 2011. A lot of the trees are gone now, bulldozed, but enough still remain to illustrate what it looks like in snow. I spent some time there, shooting those same trees, but the sun was still too high and in the wrong position. I will try again on the way home. When we continued, that’s when the road got treacherous.
The last 10 miles or so toward our destination were driven slowly. The road is not plowed often, but fortunately had been plowed recently. However, there were places where the snow had drifted, and it was still a bit thick on the road. It was mostly slushy, and we took it easy. We caught a glimpse of some elk running across the road far in front of us, but by the time we saw them, they were already halfway across, so I was unable to get a photo of them.
I am fascinated with the dream world that is the forest in snow. Even if I get only a few photographs that I like out of this experience, it will be worth it. I am having to learn (quickly) about how to shoot winter photos, and as usual with photography, that requires some trial-and-error, and hands-on learning.
A few hours later, I went out in 10° F. temperatures so I could get a shot of the moonlit, snow-covered forest. It was magical! I even got a shot from behind an icicle, looking out toward the snowy, frozen world.
Tomorrow we are planning on going cross-country skiing to get a few more photographs. If nothing else, it will quench my thirst for being in the snow, in the glittery, amazing world of a winter forest.
(Pics to come later, when I get home!)