Tag Archives: sunset

Chasing The Devil

On Saturday I drove from Prescott and got together with three friends that came up from Phoenix and we all met in Sedona to hike and photograph the snow covered red rocks.  We didn’t really have a plan on where we were going, but with the sun elevated high in the sky and mid-day coming I thought that heading north of West Sedona would be a good place to start.  There are views that span approximately 270 degrees and we would have shadows and sunlight working together along with the deep blue sky and clouds above.

When we arrived we ventured out on a point that overlooked the valley as well as the before mentioned red rock that span from our left, to the right, and around to behind us.  The crowds were not what they were on a normal spring or even summer day.  Let’s face it, it wasn’t exactly warm, the ground was a muddy mess, and who wants to venture out into that?  A photographer does!

After spending about 30 minutes or so photographing the surround landscape, as well as slipping in a picture or two of each other hard at work, I thought it would be a fun adventure to hike up to Devil’s Bridge.  To do so you walk north on the road about a mile or a little more and then take a right at the sign where a trail will take you the rest of the way.  Having been there before I knew what the trail was like, a ever bending trail through the pines and other green trees and bushes.  The last time I did it was in the late spring or summer ,but the trail was a little different this time.  The trail portion is a good mile and a half or so.  The first half was slush and mud that was easily 2″ thick from the melting snow (at this elevation) that came in the days before.  What we, or maybe I should say I, didn’t expect was the last half of the hike was a sheet or ice.  The hike is a rather steep one, but combine that with packed snow, ice, back packs filled with gear, and of course the camera we were all carrying it can be a bit crazy to say the least.

The last part of the hike there are ‘stairs’ made of flat rock from the surrounding landscape.  Here, like a good portion of the trail before this, was nothing but ice.  Slick steps overlooking the treetops below.  To give you an idea of how steep it is, you go up about 12″-18″ for every 12″ you make with forward progress!  I was wondering if we were ever going to get there.  The last time I went there it only took about an hour, but this time it was much longer.  Regardless of the weather or conditions it can be dangerous if you aren’t paying attention.  Of we took our time, helped each other, and helped or were helped by strangers going both directions.


Not far beyond this point, or should I say incline, you reach what you came for….Devil’s Bridge (click photo above for full view).  This is a beautiful and natural made arch that overlooks the valley quite a ways down and you are surrounded by towering red rocks with their array of colors and contrast due to shadows, changing light, and of course the sky above.  We spent about an hour or so up there taking pictures, talking with one another, as well as meeting other great individuals that conquered the same cold and wet adventure.

So when you are in the amazing northcentral part of Arizona this is a must to go see.   For those of you who have not been there before, you take Dry Creek Road north off the 89A on the far west side of Sedona.  After going just a couple miles you will come to Vultee Arch ( a road) where you will take a right and then park in the paved parking lot a couple hundred yards up.  There are a several trails that will take you over many square miles or area, but to get to Devil’s Bridge you want to follow the road, which turns to dirt, just after you turn into the parking lot.  Needless to say I am not sure I would recommend doing this in the winter with snow and ice on the ground, but if you haven’t been here before be sure to put it on your list of places to go.

At the end of the day, so to speak, it was another fantastic adventure.  Nothing better than being outdoors with friends, cameras, and endless photo opps in front of us.  Get outside, take pictures and make memories of your own, and don’t be afraid to share them with me here at B.O.P.


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Watson Lake Photo Walk- Prescott, Arizona

March 22, 2014 I will be co-leading a photo walk with Larry Pollock of Larry Pollock Photography.  The walk will begin in the late afternoon with a target of reaching our chosen spot for another spectacular sunset shoot in Arizona!  You can read more about it, and even register on the waiting list, at https://www.facebook.com/groups/NorthernAZPAC/?bookmark_t=group.  You will see the event at the link above and can register via Meetup should you want to go or the many other events that will be going on as the temps start to warm up.

Watson Lake  is just north of Prescott and a place I frequent often.  It’s flat ‘grassland’ and large Cottonwood Trees (as seen above) on the south end and the enormous granite outcroppings (can be seen in B.O.P. Landscape Photography album) on the north end of the lake give such diversity for a photographer or just someone looking to get out.  Living so close, I go there often when just wanting to get out to hike around and see what I can uncover.  The obvious stands out ever time I go there, but with the options opposite extremes to the lake there are many times when I see something from a different perspective.  How many times I have hiked the same trail, cut through the same waste high weeds, or climbed the large granite rocks, but I always seem to come home with a different picture.

Watson Lake is one of two adjacent lakes that serve as reservoirs for the local communities.  The granite rocks I have spoke of, after further research, have been dated to 1.4 billion years old.  Their almost odd look due to their round edges makes one think about the history they have which clearly involved being submersed in water.  People from all over come for a nice hike to those like like to live on the edge, literally,  by climbing them.

Along with the Granite Dells, their is an abundance of wildlife and lots of individuals come out to enjoy their photography.  Birds ranging from Red Tailed Haws, American Kestrels, Coopers Hawks, and even Bald Eagles frequent the area.  There are a variety of ducks, herons, geese, and others that are an attraction to the areas as well.

Between the landscape/s and the wildlife you can see why Watson Lake is a local favorite of mine as well as others.  If you are in the Prescott area, it’s a place I certainly recommend stopping by and enjoying for yourself.

I will be sure to post pictures from the event so check back as updates are made.

Best to you,

Brian Oakley Photography

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