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Nature Pictures

Arizona Trip Part 5, Miscellaneous.

Here’s some other random things we saw.

We watched the sunset from Windy Point about halfway up Mt Lemmon.



WindyPoint WindyPointSunset

On the way down, we saw the Tucson lights:


We saw Lake Powell.

LakePowell11mm LakePowell50mm

I also took a panaroma with my T2i. This is the “small” version (you can click it). For the large version (90 MP), click here.

Lake Powell Mosaic Small

We barely made it to Meteor Crater in time to take some pictures, too:


Up next, non-astro photos from Kitt Peak.

Arizona Trip Part 3, Red Rock

Just as you get to Sedona, you’ll be stunned by some red rock formations. Pictures below. Click for hi-res.


RedRock2 RedRock3

Arizona Trip Part 2, The Grand Canyon

We arrived at the Grand Canyon shortly after sunset. It was pretty cloudy AND snowing, so it wouldn’t have made that much of a difference. The first thing you notice upon coming to the canyon is the sheer size. I’ve been there several times before, but it’s been quite a while. (As before, click any image to view it full-resolution).


After dinner, we decided to return to see if any “sucker holes” existed so I could get some photos of the stars. We got lucky. Below is a 10m shot taken at ISO 800. You can see star trails around Polaris. I’d point out it wasn’t completely clear the whole time.

ISO 800 Canyon Shot

I also did a 15″ shot of Auriga, which was just poking out of the clouds. The stars really were dazzling here.

Auriga at Canyon

Also visible here is Jupiter, just above the clouds.

The next morning, we woke up at 5 AM to watch the sunrise. It was pretty cloudy, but there were some holes.



Grand Canyon Sunrise 9

We spent the rest of the day at various spots throughout the Canyon’s rim. We also did a plane flight over the canyon through Grand Canyon airlines. Below are some of the best shots:






I did take a lot more images. I will soon post a link to some lower-res shots of all the rest.

Arizona Trip Part 1, Picacho Peak

I just completed a week-long vacation in Arizona. The main purpose was to get another night at Kitt Peak National Observatory for their Advanced Observing Program. I’ll blog thoroughly about that later, but I wanted to share some pictures and thoughts from the other stuff I did. You may click any picture for a higher-res version. (Warning: Some of the hi-res files are huge).

The last time I was in Arizona, I was driving from Phoenix to Tucson, admiring the view, and trying to find a place to stop off for some pictures. About halfway, I saw an awesome-looking mountain on the right side of the road, and decided to pull over. It’s called Picacho Peak and is absolutely gorgeous.


Picacho Peak is on the left. Not seen here is a small peak further to the left. You can’t hike to the top of it, but you can hike around it and get nice views of the desert. It’s only about a mile. The peak itself is at 3,374 feet and is either a 2- or 3-mile hike depending on which trail you take. We decided on the Hunter Trail, which was about 2 miles. The other trail (Sunset Vista) is longer, but less strenuous. It follows a gradual slope up the right side of the mountain.

The first part of the trail involves hiking up to the mountain face. This is quite challenging as it’s basically a “path of steepest ascent” climb.

Picacho Peak Rock Wall

From here, you hike around the rock face to the saddle point between the two larger peaks.

Picacho Saddle

The next part was very challenging. You climb down about 300 feet around the back side of the mountain using cables. I decided to turn back once I got to the bottom of this drop, mainly out of exhaustion. I don’t do a lot of hikes, so I wasn’t incredibly well-prepared for this one. I wish I had done it before going down 300 feet though, cause going back up was very strenuous. My friend made it to the summit. Here are some of his pics:

Picacho Summit 2

Picacho Summit 1

While the hike back down was easier, once I got to the saddle, I was still very tired. My legs were very wobbly! Wish I could’ve gotten to the top. We were needing to leave to head up to Kitt Peak and I didn’t want to slow my friend down. He figured he could make it to the top pretty quickly, and he did.

The next post will be about the Grand Canyon.