Sedona Safari Tour

Last week Barbara and I took a long needed vacation and had the privilege to return to one of my (and everyone’s) favorite photo spots – Sedona, Arizona.  We have only just returned home and the first gallery being posted is for the new friends we made on our 3 hour Safari Jeep Tour to the Mogollin Rim and back canyons.  We made a promise to them to pass on some photos we took with them in it.

Our tour was led by the fun (and soon to be labeled “wild”) driver and guide Gregg.

Our Safarii Driver - Gregg

Our Safari Driver – Gregg

Six Shooter Gregg

Six Shooter Gregg with Barbara and I

Gregg drove us up the Schnebly Hill Road – paved for the first mile or so before turning to a graded, rough, rocky, dirt road the remaining 13 or so miles until it connects to Highway 17.  It is full of switchbacks climbing the splendidly scenic red rock mountains just east of Sedona.

Red Rock Formations

One of many Red Rock Formations

In the two times we have visited Sedona, we have chosen not to take our personal car over this rocky road but many others do (probably in rental cars).  On dry summer days, a 2 wheel car can traverse the jolts and bumps and we saw many doing it – to the detriment of their future quiet ride.  I vow to have command of my own appropriate vehicle some day to take this road in the wee early morning hours to capture images of Sedona when the morning sunrise puts the light to my back and I’m not shooting into the afternoon or evening sun.

And that is my only real disappointment with this tour – I wanted to get to places to take photos and I was shooting mostly into the setting sun.  So I took very few photos at all except for the sake of our fellow passengers.  It was my fault not thinking through the logistics of the afternoon tour.

Fortunately, I grabbed my SB900 flash at the last minute and was glad I did since most all the photos were back lit from the setting sun and needed front fill flash to create more than a silhouette.

Our tour companions were five lovely ladies (three sisters and two daughters if I remember right).  From the outset they set the tone of fun and laughter!

Tour Companions

Four of our Tour Companions

The younger ones wanted a wild 4 wheel ride and the screams from mother and aunt did not discourage Gregg from providing the thrills.  Even from my calmer vantage point riding shotgun in the front seat, I got sweaty palms.  Seems Gregg has had plenty of practice fishtailing in desert environments.  But the cliff edges…..

Barbara has painfully earned a reputation for missteps and spills on stairs and curbs so seeing her climb the rocks and shoot her own photos from the edge of scary cliffs made my palms sweat a little more.

Barbara on Cliff Edge

Barbara on Cliff Edge

And any tour of Sedona includes the mystical “vortexes”.  Barbara and I know the source of our peace comes from a Heavenly Source but some of our companions seemed to be searching for something from the rocks – or pretending? :

Rock Sitting

Yoga Stance

Yoga Stance

More Rock Sitting

More Red Rock Sitting

The Jeep climbed to the top of Mogollin Rim and drove through the beautiful forest to connect with Highway 17 (much smoother).  After a mad dash down 17, we returned via the carved lava fields/canyons southeast of Sedona.  This last image shows the wildflowers midst the lava rocks as the sun was setting.

Lava and Wildflowers

Lava and Wildflowers

A good time was had by all.  A big “thank you” to Gregg and his skillful  (and fun) driving and the ladies that inspired it all.   More images here.

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About Ron Ludekens

God created a marvelous world full of wonderful sights and people. He is the Creator and it is His Palette of beauty that Ron Ludekens tries to capture as photographic images. Images of nature or images of people and their lives - both reflect the handiwork of the Creator. Ron is a photographer living in Visalia, California - part of the great Central Valley. He is immediately surrounded by agriculture and all the hard working people that feed our world. A short distance away are the grand Sierra Nevada mountains, impressive National Parks and, wider still, the vast diversity that California has to offer. Ron is one of the family owners of the L.E. Cooke Co Wholesale Nursery - a leader in the horticulture industry of North America. Even on the job, his camera is always near by. His photos for the nursery trade have been published in print and around the websites of nurseries across America. Ron is also a leader in his church and its missions. Ron's photography has been a resource the church uses in its communications and message. Plus photos of all the fun things we do are shared among members and friends. Ron also loves capturing precious moments in lives of people. Weddings, senior portraits, graduations, family gatherings, maternity and special events. Ron will not shoot more than four weddings a year to provide the attention to detail and followup that is required for such an important milestone event in the lives of the couple. Ron can be reached at 559-732-7165 or cell 559-967-5370.
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