Snow Laced Sedona: Winter Landscape Photography

March 14, 2015  •  2 Comments


Cathedral Rock Vista Sedona AZ panoCathedral Rock Vista Sedona AZ pano “The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of a world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found?”  - J.B. Priestley


Capture My Arizona Photo of the Day

Nikon D810 1/30 at f/20 ISO 4000


Shrouded Red Rock Formation Sedona AZShrouded Red Rock Formation Sedona AZ

This past New Year’s Eve, much of arid Arizona was touched by a major winter storm.  While the storm brought rainfall to the Valley of the Sun (Phoenix metro area), higher elevations were blanketed with heavy snowfall. We headed up to Flagstaff on New Year's Day morning for our annual winter get away, "stopping" along the way in Sedona to quickly explore photo opportunities.  I did not hold high expectations for Sedona winter scenic images, as the snow always seems to quickly melt given the moderate elevation (3,800 feet) of this area.  Snow Laced Cathedral RockSnow Laced Cathedral Rock

Nikon D810 1/1250 at f/25 ISO 100

Bell Rock and Buttes  Sedona AZBell Rock and Buttes Sedona AZ

How mistaken I was, as we made our way into the snow laced red rock formations of Sedona. With heavy cloud cover and dense fog, temperatures were just below freezing and the snow was only beginning to melt. Constantly shifting clouds filtered the fleeting sunlight, adding yet a bit more drama to this winter wonderland.

NIkon D810 1/60 at f/20 ISO 100

So, our quick stop became a day of short hikes at the Bell Rock loop trail and Oak Creek (Crescent Moon Ranch Park), along with some roadside vista shots.  

Cathedral Rock Viewed Through Branches  Sedona AZ 2 panoCathedral Rock Viewed Through Branches Sedona AZ 2 pano

Our biggest challenges: Dealing with traffic congestion and finding a less traveled locations for serious landscape photography.  This being a holiday, the park areas were full of hikers and we came across several photographers, including two parties from our Capture My Arizona group.  With all of this activity, several otherwise lovely scenes were overwrought with footprints and sled marks in the snow.

Nikon D810 1/60 at f/16 ISO 100

With bit of exploration and some dumb luck, we managed to work around the footprints and crowds to find some unblemished winter scenes.  Leaving Sedona early that evening, I was overwhelmed with a sense of wonder and gratitude.  The iconic red rock formations are picturesque on a bad day and all the more enchanting in dramatic light.  With the winter storm, we were blessed with transient magical light and a truly enchanting frozen landscape.

Shrouded Red Rock Formation Sedona AZ BWShrouded Red Rock Formation Sedona AZ BW

A special thanks to my lovely and very patient wife, Anita, who had really wanted to arrive in Flagstaff well before dark. Several times, she reminded me of the icy mountain roads in the high mountain elevation of Flagstaff, 7,200 feet. What a great companion on a very different kind of New Year's Day, one not to be forgotten.

Capture My Arizona Photo of the Day 

Nikon D810 1/30 at f/20


Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer


Related posts: Frozen Meadow Aglow, Snow Laced Grand Canyon, Deep Freeze Landscape Photography, Whirlwind Photography  and Black and White Digital Photography.   


Nikon D810 1/1250 at f/25 

Conversion to Black and White, using Nik Silver Efex Pro, a Photoshop plug-in


Breathtaking!! And your writing is just as brilliant!
Paul Prrappas(non-registered)
Marcus, these are amazing shots, and I appreciate the effort you put into capturing it.
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