“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Capture My Arizona Photo of the Day, NIKON D200,f/18 @ 14 mm, 1/30, ISO 100
"White Pocket is part of the 112,500 acre Paria Canyon – Vermillion Cliffs wilderness located about 30 miles west of Page, Arizona. This remote acreage was officially designated a national wilderness area in 1984 under the Arizona Wilderness Act. Unlike North Coyote Buttes (the “Wave”) and other protected areas, no passes are required for access and hiking at White Pocket. Still, the area is remote and the deep “sugar sand” covered road is impassable certain times of the year, even for high clearance four-wheel-drive vehicles. With all of that in mind, we were delighted to have the place to ourselves on our first visit to White Pockets a few years ago.
Since that time, the location has been published in Arizona Highways magazine and it is no longer a best-kept secret. In fact, during our most recent visit to the area, it seem like a pre-announced photography outing with about 15 fully outfitted landscape photographers on site. All were friendly and accommodating, some even offering photography tips and sharing high-end lenses. Most gratifying, everyone was respectful of the land, grateful for the rare opportunity to opportunity to visit this unique place.
NIKON D200,f/22 @ 17 mm, 1/20, ISO 100
Everyone else left the area when dark storm clouds and rain emerged in the late morning. We remained at White Pocket a couple more hours, which proved to be the most worthwhile experience.
D200,f/22 @ 12 mm, 1/6, ISO 100
White pockets is comprised of hard white and pastel colored rock, some having a glazed porcelain like surface. Some of the formations resemble “brain rock,” while other sections have a smooth flowing appearance. On the day of the storm, the “pockets” were full of fresh clear water, displaying mirror image reflections of the dramatic stormy sky. After the rain, the white rock was transformed to a warm taupe color, creating a whole new visual experience, which remained through the time of our departure.
Despite the rain and extensive flooding of the road, we made it safely out of White Pocket and back to Lee's Ferry, Arizona, with no problems. The trip home conjured up memories of our first journey to the area, when we broke a shock absorber on the jeep, and a more recent trip involving a flat tire and broken tire jack.
NIKON D200,f/20 @ 18 mm, 1/25, ISO 100
That time, we were truly outside of the electronic communication loop, with no cell phone service or clear “On Star” access. Fortunately, we were “rescued” by a true professional photographer and a real gentleman, John Weller. Refusing to accept any money for his time and effort, John said, "I'm glad to have my little Subaru help out a Hummer!" We are still grateful for the assistance and remain inspired by John’s recent book, Great Sand Dunes National Park: Between Light and Shadow."
NIKON D300,f/22 @ 20 mm, 1/100, ISO 200
Excerpt from Windswept Landscape: Images from the Arizona-Utah Border, Tom Gendron, Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer and Steve Stilwell.
Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer
Landscape photography techniques, photo expedition travel planning and hiking tips.