Sedona

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I suppose it was about a month ago now that I visited Sedona with my mom. I’ve finally gotten around to editing photos and exporting them in various file formats for printing, blogging, etc. Sometimes I think there has to be a more efficient way than my current process that I just don’t know about. It helps that I took a sick day today and was finally able to work on photography in between sniffles and tissues. My day of being stuck inside my apartment and being forced into sedentarism, a word I just created, actually flew by. It was aided by an episode of Homeland and a documentary on Kobe Bryant.

So, I really didn’t know what to expect from Sedona. My mom and I had originally planned to meet up in Tahoe, but sort of ad hoc decided randomly upon Sedona instead. I’d never been, but she had and she guaranteed me that spending six days there was still not enough to see and do everything. Though skeptical of this claim, I happily booked a flight and the trip then sort of disappeared to the back of my mind. It wasn’t until the day before that it really hit me I was leaving the next day. In hindsight, I think it made the trip even more enjoyable for me because I didn’t have a chance to start creating expectations of the trip. At the last minute, I grabbed a copy of Travels With Charley by John Steinbeck off my bookshelf, which I had pilfered from a friend last year out of a bag of books she was getting rid of. It turned out to be the perfect read for the flight there and back, and is just as timely and relevant now as it was back in 1962.

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“It is impossible to be in this high spinal country without giving thought to the first men who crossed it, the French explorers, the Lewis and Clark men. We fly it in five hours, drive it in a week, dawdle it as I was doing in a month or six weeks. But Lewis and Clark and their party started in St. Louis in 1804 and returned in 1806. And if we get to thinking we are men, we might remember that in the two and a half years of pushing through wild and unknown country to The Pacific Ocean and then back, only one man died and only one deserted. And we get sick if the milk delivery is late and nearly die of heart failure if there is an elevator strike. What must these men have thought as a really new world unrolled – or was the progress so slow that the impact was lost? I can’t believe they were unimpressed.”

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Now, before your mind goes to correcting me, I realize the inaccuracy of the quote, and the misplacement of it here in a post about Sedona, Arizona. But still, that is the spirit that unexpectedly permeated my trip to the southwest. I realized, with a fleeting sense of sadness but more wonder, that that type of discovery is not only a relic of a bygone era, but also that no such trip would be possible today. We can explore places that expand our worldview, challenge our assumptions, break down biases, but from here on out we will always know someone has been there before. I began to wonder what left in the world remains uncharted? Placing myself in the shoes of Meriweather Lewis, I realized the great sense of curiosity, mission and adventure that must have taken hold of his soul.

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I was so interested by imagining walking two moons in this man’s moccasins that I got a copy of Stephen Ambrose’s Undaunted Courage, a biography about Lewis and the expedition he led across the Louisiana Purchase to discover just what President Jefferson had bought.

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“Ocian in view! O! The joy.” – William Clark

If I were ever to get a tattoo, which is 95% unlikely, I would probably get this quote. I guess he jumped the gun and too quickly misidentified the body of water he was seeing, but the sense of adventure in it, and the happiness they must have felt at seeing what they thought was the Pacific Ocean after an incomprehensibly arduous journey, is a sentiment that stirs something in me. Plus, I always am joyous when I see the Pacific Ocean.

It’s my contention that it is impossible to take a bad photo in Sedona. The trip reinvigorated my atrophying attention and effort in photography. The past few weeks, where I’ve found time to dabble around in lightroom, I’ve tried some new editing techniques, trying to parse it down and lightly touch the photos. Like a woman’s makeup, I am trying to use editing tools to play up the natural spectacular features of the image rather than recreate something that is not there. I am quite pleased with how my Sedona photographs have turned out so far.

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I signed up for an art class. Just a two week course that focuses on photography printing and matting. We are supposed to bring two images to class that we will work with, and by the end we will have them printed and prepared for framing. As I’ve looked around, DC does have more art courses than I originally suspected. This particular one I will be taking at the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop (CHAW). I will let you all know how it goes!

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