Northwestern New Mexico / Northeastern Arizona


One of the things I remember thinking while packing my bag for this trip was how stoked I was that it was monsoon season. On my last trip to Page, Arizona to shoot the slot canyons it was the end of monsoon season, and on the high plains of Northern Arizona, you can see them just rolling along. So it was easy to shoot lightning that day, which was the first day I shot lightning on my own without any help.


That was a big day for me, and this time I was heading to country I knew would provide stellar background for lightning shots……

…..Except that it was one of those trips where I was always six hours too early or too late.  As we emerged from the Carlsbad Caverns to see the bats all fly out at night, lightning struck closeby and they closed the park (park law) and we had to evacuate.

Then, we missed the monsoons over White Sands by six hours. Then, we missed the monsoon/lightning over Window Rock by 3 hours. Then, we pulled into Canyon de Chelly totally wiped and didn’t have the energy to trek back out of the canyon to shoot the rim for the storm that was passing over to the north. Sigh. It wasn’t in the stars for me and the lightning on this trip.


Either way, this blog and the process itself, is about learning – which I love – so what I learned this time around was just to roll with it. There were a few moments of aggravation given that it’s likely the last time for a long time I’ll be in New Mexico, but so be it. 


I was able to capture some pretty amazing shots deep in Navajo country, and met some interesting folks along the way. I saw 6,000 year old petroglyphs/somethingglyphs carved into rock walls, and got to eat Fry Bread. We also were treated to some really touching stories from our Navajo guide through Canyon de Chelly. We hiked up to a plateau on one of the rock formations (along the way I found centuries-old pottery pieces which was EPIC) and rested in the shade. He shared stories about his family with us, and while driving along the sandy roads he would quietly sing in his native tongue. 


That’s a win in anyone’s book.

Full gallery is below.

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