Video: Monument Valley with Fuji X Weekly (500th Post!)

Follow along with me as I photograph Monument Valley! The video above, Monument Valley with Fuji X Weekly, is a behind-the-scenes look at my photographic adventure to the incredible desert formations of southern Utah and northern Arizona on the Navajo Nation. It was a thrill to experience Monument Valley. It really is an amazing place!

This was my last trip before the worldwide pandemic shut down all of my travel plans. So far I’ve had to cancel two trips, and there’s likely one or two more that won’t happen. I hope that this video will bring you some joy. I hope that it reminds you of some recent travels that you’ve done. I hope that it inspires you to dream of where you’ll go and what you’ll photograph when you can once again go places.

My wife, Amanda, and I created this video. Actually, she did the majority of the work. Amanda recorded the clips. She did all of the editing. She coached me through the narration. I have a face for radio and a voice for print, yet somehow she made the video look great! Her vision, her storytelling, and her talents are what made this happen. Thank you, Amanda!

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Evening at Monument Valley – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Rokinon 12mm

The photographs in the video were captured using a Fujifilm X-T30 and X-T1. I used four different lenses: a Fujinon 100-400mm, Fujinon 90mm f/2, Fujinon 35mm f/2 and Rokinon 12mm f/2. Amanda recorded the video using a Fujifilm X-T20 with a 16-50mm lens and a GoPro Hero 8 Black. The film simulation recipes used on the X-T30 were Velvia, Kodachrome 64, Analog Color, Dramatic Monochrome and Agfa Scala, and Velvia and Monochrome were used on the X-T1. Amanda used PRO Neg. Hi on the X-T20.

This article marks a significant milestone that I wanted to point out to you. This is the 500th post on Fuji X Weekly! Many blogs never make it to 500 posts, either because they publish too infrequently or they simply give up before it’s reached. What it means for you is that there’s a lot of content on this blog! If you haven’t been following Fuji X Weekly since the beginning, there are a ton of articles that you might have missed. There are perhaps many posts that could be helpful to you and your photography that you’ve never seen. I invite you to explore the older articles. The best way to do this is click the four lines on the top-right of this page, and either search a topic or browse the archive. Anyway, thank you for being a part of Fuji X Weekly! Without you, the 500 Posts milestone would not have been reached. You are appreciated!

Be sure to follow Fuji X Weekly, so that you don’t miss anything! I invite you to follow the Fuji X Weekly YouTube channel, as well. If you liked the Monument Valley video, I invite you to give it a thumbs-up, comment and share!

See also: Monument Valley – A Monumental Landscape

Fujifilm X100F Review Blog

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Monument Valley – A Monumental Landscape

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Evening at Monument Valley – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Rokinon 12mm

I just got back from Monument Valley, which sits on the border between Arizona and Utah on Navajo land near Four Corners. Situated on the Colorado Plateau, Monument Valley features large rock formations and red desert sand. It’s a lonely place; there are only a few very small towns scattered nearby. Despite being in the middle of nowhere, it attracts many tourists from across the world. Monument Valley is the iconic American West landscape, and it is nothing short of stunning!

You’ve seen Monument Valley before, even if you didn’t know what you were looking at. Certainly you’ve seen pictures of it in calendars and magazines and on social media. Many different movies have had scenes filmed in Monument Valley. Forest Gump concluded his cross country run there. Marty McFly went back in time to the old west in Monument Valley. Clark Griswold drove his car off the road at this place. Many “westerns” were filmed in Monument Valley, including a few starring John Wayne. In many ways Monument Valley still looks and feels like the rugged and wild American West, so it’s easy to understand Hollywood’s draw to this location.

Monument Valley was on my photographic bucket list for a long time. I’ve wanted to visit and capture the iconic landscape for many years. I’d seen the black-and-white prints by Ansel Adams and the color pictures in Arizona Highways magazine that showcased this incredible landscape, which made me want to experience it for myself. I had to make my own images. I needed to get to Monument Valley. Honestly, though, I didn’t realize its exact location until recently. I knew it was in northern Arizona somewhere. Or maybe southern Utah. As it turns out, most of it is in far northeastern Arizona, and a little of it sits in far southeastern Utah, but all of it belongs to the Navajo Nation.

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Butte Between two Boulders – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm

I was only able to stay in Monument Valley for one day. I had one day to capture the pictures that I wanted, or at least as many of them as I could. I planned the trip carefully, doing much research ahead of time so that I would know what to expect. It paid off because I believe I made the most of my short time there. I didn’t come away with every picture that I had hoped for, but I came away with a good group, and that means I had a good day. I’ll have to return, hopefully soon, for the rest.

Something that struck me about Monument Valley is how quiet and peaceful it was. You can set your own pace and take things slow. The wide open spaces allowed for moments of true serenity. You can find yourself alone. Monument Valley is sacred land to the Navajo, and you can feel that while there, permeating from the stone and sand. My visit was during the off season, and I’m sure the atmosphere during the summer months can be quite different.

All of the Navajo people that I met and spoke with were exceedingly friendly and helpful. They seemed quite proud of this place, eager to share its beauty with the world. One lady, who was selling jewelry along a dirt road, was happy to tell me about her favorite photograph, which had been on the cover of Arizona Highways, that featured a nearby tree, which has since died because it was struck by lightning. I felt like I was an invited guest, and the Navajo people were happy to have me there.

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Mitchell Mesa – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T1 & Fujinon 35mm

But I could sense another side. This is private land. Among the rock formations are little houses. There are ranches scattered throughout Monument Valley. Visitors are allowed in only very specific places, which are clearly marked, unless you have an official guide. At one stop I overheard a guide telling his group that he was not allowed to take people to one particular spot because the occupant of a nearby house “doesn’t like white people.” I can certainly understand that past hurts might still sting. The Navajo haven’t always been treated well by America. This is their home. This is their sacred land where their ancestors lived and died. They don’t have to allow anyone in. They could keep Monument Valley to themselves, and not welcome visitors. I’m sure there are some who would prefer that. I was a stranger in a strange land. I was the outsider. Gratefully, I was welcomed in and treated kindly.

From what I could tell from my short visit, the Navajo way of life is slower, simpler, quieter, and more free than my own. There are no Walmarts or McDonalds or Starbucks within 100 miles, probably further than that. I didn’t see any signs of commercialism and consumerism. I’m sure life in the dry desert can be difficult, but to the Navajo it is worth dealing with those difficulties in order to live life their way; to be who they are. Their culture is preserved by living out their traditions.

The photographs in this article were captured with a Fujifilm X-T30 and Fujifilm X-T1. The lenses I used were a Fujinon 35mm f/2Fujinon 100-400mm and Rokinon 12mm f/2. On the X-T30 I used my Velvia (except color +4), Kodachrome 64, Dramatic Monochrome and Agfa Scala film simulation recipes, and on the X-T1 I used Velvia and Monochrome. The challenge when visiting a place like Monument Valley is creating something unique when it’s been photographed from every angle imaginable. That’s an extraordinarily difficult task, but not completely impossible. While most of my pictures have been done before by others, I think a few of them are fairly unique; at least I’ve never seen one identical. I hope that you enjoy them!

B&W:

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Monument Valley – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm

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Mittens in Monochrome – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T1 & Fujinon 35mm

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Mitchell Mesa in Monochrome – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm

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Reflection on a Dirt Road – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm

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Navajo Flag – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Rokinon 12mm

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Four Flags – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm

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Shrub on the Edge of the Wash – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Rokinon 12mm

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Rocks & Mitten – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm

Color:

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Forest Gump Was Here – Monument Valley, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm

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Highway Through The Hole – Monument Valley, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm

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Dying Tree in the Red Desert – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm

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Yucca – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm

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Red Ripples – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm

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Puddle In The Sand – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Evening Mittens – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T1 & Fujinon 35mm

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Last Light on the Mittens – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T1 & Fujinon 35mm

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Photoessay: November Arizona, Part 2: Monochrome

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North Mountain Saguaro – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

Part 1: Color

Many years ago, Ansel Adams photographed the Arizona desert in black-and-white. Many people might be unaware that he was a regular contributor to Arizona Highways magazine back in the day. Adams’ photographs of the desert have been an inspiration to me even before I captured a single exposure in Arizona. Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not trying to compare myself with the legend. What I am saying is that Arizona and black-and-white photography go together like peanut butter and jelly. There’s something timeless about it that just makes me feel good on the inside. It brings me back to those classic pictures by Ansel Adams that I carefully studied back in the early years of my own picture-making. As colorful as Arizona can be, to me it looks best in black-and-white.

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Downtown Phoenix From North Mountain – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Saguaro In The City – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Monochrome Desert Hill – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2 

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Hillside Saguaro – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Lookout Mountain – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Cactus Sun – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Morning In The Desert – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Arizona Saguaro – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Saguaro Couple – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Rushing New River – Peoria, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Bridge Over Troubled Waters – Peoria, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

See also:
Willow Beach, Arizona
McCormick Stillman Railroad Park, Scottsdale, Arizona

Photoessay: November Arizona, Part 1: Color

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River & Rays – Lake Mead Nat’l Rec. Area, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

I love Arizona! It is perhaps the most beautiful state in America. Some might disagree with that sentiment, thinking that the desert is dull and brown, but I find it to be a colorful and diverse landscape. Others might consider California, Colorado or my current home state of Utah, or perhaps another state like Maine, Alaska, Hawaii, etc., to be more majestic, and they are each certainly majestic, but to me Arizona is at the top of the list, and my heart belongs there.

My family and I like to travel to Arizona whenever we can, which is usually once or twice each year. A few weeks ago we visited some family of ours in Phoenix, and of course I brought my Fujifilm X-T30 along, with a Fujinon 35mm f/2 attached to the front. I appreciate this setup for travel because it’s small and lightweight enough to not get in the way, yet can produce some stunning pictures. The film simulations I used were Velvia, Kodachrome 64, and “Classic Negative” (for Quit My Job). This wasn’t a photography trip, but as always I captured a number of pictures. I hope you enjoy!

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In It Together – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Gravel Road Above The City – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Desert Above, City Below – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Desert City – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Saguaro Above Phoenix – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Desert Neighborhood – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Lookout Mountain From North Mountain – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Phoenix From North Mountain – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Above The City – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Two Palms – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Palm Tree Bees – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Desert Hill – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Red Barrel Cactus – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Foothills Saguaro – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Desert Warmth – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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The Desert – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Bright Spikes – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Palo Verde Sun – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Quit My Job – Lake Mead Nat’l Rec. Area, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Lucy – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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New River Trail – Peoria, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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New River – Peoria, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Water Under The Bridge – Peoria, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Falls & Foam – Peoria, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Pigeons Over A Roof – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

Part 2: Monochrome

See also:
Willow Beach, Arizona
McCormick Stillman Railroad Park, Scottsdale, Arizona

Travel: McCormick Stillman Railroad Park, Scottsdale, AZ

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Ol’ Number 11 – Scottsdale, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30

Almost two years ago my family and I visited the McCormick Stillman Railroad Park in Scottsdale, Arizona, and I captured it with a Fujifilm X100F. The McCormick Stillman Railroad Park is one of the best city parks in America (it’s actually been ranked #1), and it truly is a neat place to go. If you are in Phoenix, Arizona, with your family, I highly recommend that you stop by this park. It’s especially magical around Christmas, as they elaborately decorate it for the holiday season. Last week my family and I returned to the McCormick Stillman Railroad Park, but this time I had a Fujifilm X-T30 and Fujinon 35mm f/2 lens to photograph the visit.

What I love about this park is that there’s something for everyone. There’s a large playground for the kids. There are barbecue grills and pavilions and large grassy areas to throw a ball or Frisbee. There’s a gift shop where you can buy ice cream in the summer and hot cocoa in the winter. There’s a museum. There’s a carousel. There are scale trains which you can ride that loop around the park. It’s both modern and historic. You can feel mindfulness and nostalgic simultaneously. It really is unique. And, of course, it can make an interesting subject for photography. I used my Kodachrome 64 film simulation recipe for most of these pictures.

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Trains Boarding – Scottsdale, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30

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Santa Fe Sun – Scottsdale, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30

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Aguila – Scottsdale, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30

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Happy Train Riders – Scottsdale, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30

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Looking Back – Scottsdale, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30

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P&P 42 – Scottsdale, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30

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Train Rides Today – Scottsdale, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30

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Little Trolley Rider – Scottsdale, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30

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It’s Not Too Late – Scottsdale, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30

Photoessay: Monochrome Sun Rays Over Willow Beach, Arizona

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Rays Over Colorado River – Lake Mead Nat’l Rec. Area, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

Along U.S. Highway 93, about 12 miles south of the Hoover Dam, there’s a scenic view pullout, which offers tremendous views of desert mountains and canyons and a glimpse of the Colorado River at Willow Beach. This is part of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. It’s easy to drive right on past this spot, as I have done many times before. Those who do stop here are rewarded with an incredible vista. It’s not the Grand Canyon, but it’s like a small glimpse of the Grand Canyon. It’s a quintessential Arizona landscape. Actually, you can see both Arizona and Nevada, as the river marks the boundary between the two states.

When I was at this scenic pullout last week, there was a storm passing through, which provided a dramatic sky with streaking light rays from the peeking sun. It was an amazing sight, yet short lived. I had my Fujifilm X-T30 with me, alternating between a Fujinon 35mm f/2 and a Fujinon 90mm f/2 attached to the front. A more wide-angle lens might have been nice, but these are the two lenses that I had with me. I captured a number of frames, then the great light disappeared as quickly as it had come.

Because I had a camera with me, and I decided to stop, I was able to witness and record this beautiful moment. Many cars zoomed down the highway, perhaps witnessing the scene quickly from behind their windows, or perhaps not noticing it at all, and only a few stopped. I’m thankful that I was one of the few who stopped, and what a great reward I was given for doing so. Sometimes the journey is the destination, especially if you are a photographer.

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Light Streaming – Lake Mead Nat’l Rec. Area, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 90mm f/2

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Light & Mesa – Lake Mead Nat’l Rec. Area, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 90mm f/2

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Shining Down – Lake Mead Nat’l Rec. Area, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 90mm f/2

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Pouring Light Over Desert – Lake Mead Nat’l Rec. Area, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 90mm f/2

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Dramatic Desert Sky – Lake Mead Nat’l Rec. Area, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Rays Over The Desert – Lake Mead Nat’l Rec. Area, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Rays Over Willow Beach – Lake Mead Nat’l Rec. Area, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

Arizona Highways & Vintage Kodachrome

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Last night when I checked the mail, waiting inside the metal box was the September issue of Arizona Highways. For those who may not know, this magazine has a long history of  publishing great photographs, and many renown artists have been found in its pages throughout the decades. The newest issue of Arizona Highways features many pictures from the 1950’s and 1960’s, including the cover photograph by Allen Reed, so I found it especially interesting.

As I was flipping through the pages of the magazine this morning while sipping coffee, I was drawn to the Kodachromes, which can be seen many times in this issue. I was impressed with how well my Vintage Kodachrome film simulation recipe mimics the aesthetics of these pictures. It shouldn’t be too surprising since I consulted (among other things) some old Arizona Highways magazines when I created it, but it is a bit surprising that it’s possible to get this look right out of camera. Studying this issue was good confirmation that I got those settings right, and it made me want to shoot with it more. Perhaps later this week I’ll use Vintage Kodachrome for my Film Simulation Challenge.

If you can, pick up a copy of the latest issue of Arizona Highways so you can view these pictures for yourself. Look carefully at the vintage photographs captured by Ansel Adams, Ray Manley, Chuck Abbot and others. Esther Henderson’s pictures were especially impressive, and this was my introduction to her work. It was great inspiration for me, and perhaps it will be for you, too.

 

Photoessay: An Arizona Spring in Color

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Colorful Cactus Blooms – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

When most people think of Arizona, they picture dry dusty deserts and sprawling cities. It’s hot. It’s brown. It’s inhospitable. There are endless rows of look-alike stucco homes. Many people might be unaware that the desert bursts with color in the spring. Arizona isn’t just brown, there are vibrant greens, blues, reds, yellows, purples and other colors, especially in the spring, which is my favorite season in the state.

Arizona isn’t all desert, either. While it may be best known for the Grand Canyon, you might be surprised to learn that the largest ponderosa pine forest in the world is in Arizona. There are tall mountains and even winter skiing. The state is full of surprises. It’s one reason why I love Arizona and appreciate visiting whenever I can.

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Yellow Palo Verde – Black Canyon, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

I used to live in Arizona. Back when I was barely an adult, the Air Force sent me to live in Arizona. I met my wife there. My first two kids were born there. I have a deep fondness for the state. I would love to live there again someday. It’s a wonderful place for photography. I highly recommend grabbing a subscription to Arizona Highways magazine to see many wonderful pictures of the state. A fact that you might be surprised to learn is that Ansel Adams was frequently published in that magazine back in the day. Many great photographers were, and still are.

The photographs in this article were captured a few weeks ago. I used my Fujifilm X-T30 camera with a Fujinon 35mm f/2 lens and a Fujinon 90mm f/2 lens, which are both excellent examples of Fujifilm’s great glass that they’ve become renown for. I hope that you enjoy this variety of photographs that demonstrate there’s more color in Arizona than one might initially think.

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Pine In The Sky – Flagstaff, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Green Leaves – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Agave Green – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Cactus & Blue Sky – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Palo Verde In The Windy Blue – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Palm – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Vultures In A Tree – Wickenburg, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Wildflowers & Stone – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Impatient? Stop & Smell – Sedona, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Yellow Rose of Arizona – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Little Bloom Design – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Yellow Blossom Flowers – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Splash of Red Among Green – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Bougainvillea Bloom – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Bloom In The Rocks – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Blooming Cactus Landscape – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Red Prickly Pears – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Beginning To Blossom Red – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Desert Landscape – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Spring Saguaro – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Yucca Bloom – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Cactus Blooming Red – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Red Ball Fruit – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Barrel Cactus – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Cactiscape – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Prickled – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Pops of Yellow – Black Canyon, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Yellow Desert – Black Canyon, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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One Barrel Cactus Bloom – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Red Spiky Blooms – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Red & Purple Desert Blossoms – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

Travel: Sedona, Arizona, in Color

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Warm Rock & Blue Sky – Sedona, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

A couple of weeks ago I passed through Sedona, which is an incredibly beautiful town in northern Arizona. Sedona is surrounded by amazing red rock formations. The place feels like it should be a national park, but it isn’t. It’s a tourist town, and people come to see the rocks. It’s the subject of many photographers’ attention. You’ve likely seen pictures of Sedona in magazines and calendars. I had the chance to stop in Sedona in the early afternoon for lunch while travelling between Phoenix and Flagstaff. I didn’t stay for nearly long enough, only to eat and capture a handful of pictures. Sedona is one of those places you want to see over and over, and I wish that I lived closer to it so that I could photograph it more often.

Some would say that the middle of the day, when the sun is high in the sky, is a terrible time for landscape photography. The golden hour is when you should be out with your camera. While it’s true that around sunrise and sunset is a great time for photography, anytime can be a good time. Just because the sun is high, drenching the scene in harsh light, doesn’t mean that one can’t capture a decent picture. Today’s cameras, such as the Fujifilm X-T30 that I used for these photographs, have a great dynamic range latitude, and can handle the bright highlights and deep shadows surprisingly well. While it’s best to attempt to capture a subject in the best light possible, if that’s not practical you do the best you can with the light you have.

Something that I did have going for me were clouds. I prefer a partly-cloudy sky over an endless blue sky for landscape photography. Even an overcast sky can sometimes be more interesting than a cloudless one. Clouds add interest to the scene and can sometimes have a positive effect on the light.

I hope that you enjoy these color photographs of Sedona, Arizona!

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Dead Tree & Red Rock – Sedona, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Hint of Red on a Green Hill – Sedona, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Green Shadow & Highlights – Sedona, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Illuminated Rock – Sedona, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Red Rock Behind The Treetops – Sedona, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Red Rocks of Sedona – Sedona, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Red Rock Formations – Sedona, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Clouds Behind Red Rocks – Sedona, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Light Red & Dark Green – Sedona, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

Fujifilm X100F, The Chronicle Camera (At McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park)

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Train Ride Through The Christmas Tunnel – Scottsdale, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

There are many reasons to photograph. It might be because someone is paying you money to do so. It could be because you want to hang a pretty picture on your wall. Perhaps you want to share what you ate for lunch with your social network followers. Maybe you have a message you want to photographically convey. Or it might be because you are compelled to create art. There are any number of reasons to take a picture.

Ever since I purchased my Fujifilm X100F, I have found myself much more than ever before using the camera to chronicle my family and the adventures we have. I’m documenting us, the Roesch family. This is something I’ve always done, but never to the extent that I’ve done over the last six months. I’ve captured a heck-of-a-lot of family snapshots lately.

There are several reasons why I’m photographing my family more, and it comes down to gear. The X100F is the perfect chronicle camera. It’s small and lightweight enough to fit in my pocket, so I carry it around with me and it’s never in the way. The image quality is nothing short of fantastic. Many of the different film simulations are great for people pictures. The leaf shutter and built-in fill-flash are great for portraits. It produces wonderful pictures right out of the camera that don’t require editing, so I’m not bogged down with post-processing.

That last point is an important one. I used to spend hours and hours and hours sitting in front of a computer screen editing RAW files. That’s time spent away from family. My workflow was constantly backlogged. I found myself purposefully not capturing images because I knew that meant editing them, which required time that I didn’t have. In fact, I still have thousands of RAW exposures sitting on hard drives that I never got around to post-processing.

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Joyful Johanna – Scottsdale, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

With the X100F, I not only have more time to capture pictures, but I’m also not worried about the time that I would have to spend with each image after exposure. I click the shutter and the image is done. It’s ready to be uploaded to the web (which is where I backup my pictures). I’ve saved so much time, and I believe that this more than anything accounts for why I’m now taking more family snapshots.

Years from now these pictures will be worth more to my family and I than any of the other ones. These will be the cherished photographs. I have an old box of slides that my grandparents captured, mostly in the 1950’s and 1960’s. There are images of Yosemite and Yellowstone and such in that box, but the pictures that are most interesting are the family snapshots. Pictures of my dad and his siblings as young kids, or my grandparents when they were young adults, are particularly fascinating.

The photographs in this post are from our family trip to Arizona last Christmas. There’s a really neat place in Scottsdale called the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park, which is just an incredible place for any train enthusiast (and what kid isn’t a train enthusiast?). We spent an afternoon at the park, and these are the family snapshots that I captured. The kids had a blast! It was a really good couple of hours. Because I chronicled it with my camera–the adventure was documented–my kids and their future kids will have these treasured exposures. This will be meaningful to them.

The Fujifilm X100F is a great camera because, among other things, it makes family snapshots easy, producing excellent results without fuss. I’m so glad that I purchased it six months ago. I can’t wait to use it to chronicle the next family adventure, wherever and whenever that might be.

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Looking Out The Bright Window – Scottsdale, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

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Christmas Joy – Scottsdale, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

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What Time Does The Train Leave? – Scottsdale, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

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Leaving The Station – Scottsdale, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

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Learning Scale – Scottsdale, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

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Joshua At The Train Museum – Scottsdale, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

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Trolley Driver – Scottsdale, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

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Bottle Time – Scottsdale, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

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Happy Holiday Baby – Scottsdale, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

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Happy Girls – Scottsdale, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

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Joy On The Lighted Path – Scottsdale, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

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Christmas Bulb Reflection – Scottsdale, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

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Our Arizona Christmas – Scottsdale, AZ – Fujifilm X100F (captured by a stranger)