Southern AZ locations for B+W landscapes : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Hello group,

I going to be in southern AZ for two weeks starting next Monday, and I have a few days to photography that are not committed to other things.

I am not going to shoot color film while there, I'll only have my 7x17 camera with me. I'm looking for recommendations for landscape locations in southern AZ that will be well suited for black and white.

I know, I know... I should be shooting with the 4x5 in the fields of flowers. I may do some flower shots while there, but it will be on B+W. I'm more interested in rocks, mountains, and desert subjects.

I'm thinkig about spending some time in Organ Pipe Cactus NP, and surrounding Sonoran desert. Does anyone have any specific locations and hiking trails to recommend down there?



-- Michael Mutmansky (, March 01, 2001


An area that I think would be terrific for B&W would be Bisbee, or some of the other copper mine towns. I lived in Phoenix, but didn't make it down to the copper mine areas until about the time we left. Since that time, I've often thought that they would be excellent subjects for B&W, both the towns themselves and the mines.

-- neil poulsen (, March 01, 2001.

The Chiricahua NM in Southeast AZ has interesting lightly-toned rock formations.

-- Q.-Tuan Luong (, March 01, 2001.

Michael, I live in Tucson. As suggested already, the old mining town of Bisbee is picturesqe. It's now an "art colony," but the architecture is interesting. Southern Arizona is dotted with rugged mountain ranges, and we call the tops of these ranges "sky islands" -- they are like slices of the northern Rockies plopped down on the desert. There is Sabino Canyon right on the northeast edge of Tucson, the Catalina Mountains and Mount Lemmon (with a ski area and lots of snow right now) just one hour to the north, Madera Canyon and the Santa Rita Mountains just south of town, the Tucson Mountains and part of Saguaro National Park just west of town, and the Rincon Mountains and the other part of Saguaro National Park just east of town. There are trails by the dozen throughout these mountains.

The rock formations in the Chiracahua Mountains about 100 miles southeast of Tucson are incredible, sort of like Bryce Canyon in gray, perfect for B&W. Our biggest problem for landscape is that we tend to have bald, boring skies, but we seem to be coming into some weather right now, so you might even get some clouds. We even had fog this morning.

Organ Pipe National Monument is a nice drive west from Tucson, and there is Kitt Peak National Observatory along the way -- more mountains, snow and huge telescopes. I must warn you, though -- if you make the drive from Tucson to Organ Pipe without a supply of Velvia, you'll be REALLY sorry. The wildflowers on that route are incredible. If you must go B&W only, you ought to get someone else to drive you out there, and wear a blindfold yourself.

-- Lyle Aldridge (, March 01, 2001.

Some more places . . .

San Xavier Mission just south of Tuscon, one of my favorite places in the world.

Walnut Canyon. It somewhere south of Flagstaff.

Jerome is another interesting place to photograph, which is also an artists colony.

-- neil poulsen (, March 02, 2001.

We were just in the Phoenix area a week ago. East and just north of Mesa/Apache Junction there are a number of good spots. Take nearly any road off a black top and you can find "stuff". Just be aware there are few if any signs as to private property etc. Spent 6 or 8 days on day trips and never saw any trouble, and very few people, pack a shovel to fill in washouts (the little ones) they have had a LOT of rain and the desert is green, literally, and full of flowers.

The trip to Tortilla Flats (the Flats are very touristy)has good light in the P.M.but lots of power wires to shoot around ( I forgot my power wire filter), beyond Tortilla Flats is a 23 mile road to Roosevelt Dam that we spent 5 hours on last year, average speed 7.5 m.p.h., including photo stops but what scenery!

If you go to Mt Lemmon in Tuscon, and I do recommend it, be aware the road is closed on two different days of the week, I think they are Tuesday and Wednesday. You can get to the ranger station at any rate, it cost $4.00 a day beyond there. Just before the ranger station is a pull off, walk down the trails and there are some great granite boulders with a stream (at least there was last week)that were good in the afternoon light. The road up to the station has some nice features, may require some walking.

Have fun and enjoy!

-- Marv (, March 03, 2001.

Thanks for the pointers everyone...

Since the weather threatens in the East, I moved up my departure to tomorrow morning. I've printed out your thoughts, and I'll try to include some of them in my travels.


-- Michael (, March 03, 2001.

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