Gracing a vast prairie in Southern Arizona, a lone tree stands at peace in San Rafael Valley, Arizona, U.S.A.
High resolution, archival photo paper color prints. Also available on canvas gallery wraps and aluminum metal plates. Please contact artist for pricing on larger prints, canvas and metal prints. Watermark will not appear on prints.
"Land, then, is not merely soil: it is a foundation of energy flowing through a circuit of soils, plants and animals." - Aldo Leopold, Co-founder, The Wilderness Society
Based in Phoenix, we generally head north for landscape photography excursions in Sedona, Monument Valley and the Grand Canyon. At the suggestion of my adventurous son-in-law, Todd Severson, we recently switched things up with a trip to San Rafael Valley. Situated in Southern Arizona in Eastern Santa Cruz County, this vast valley represents yet another facet of our state’s diverse land and lifestyles.
Touched by gentle winter winds, tall golden grasses are in constant motion. The valley is flanked by expansive mountain ranges, with the State Natural Area resting on the Arizona-Mexico border: Patagonia Mountains to the north, Canelo Hills to the northeast and Huachuca Mountains to the East. A few large cattle ranches rest quietly in the valley, accessed by well-maintained dirt roads. The valley is also home to countless John Wayne movies and other western films.
As always, our best photo opportunities were found in the early morning and late afternoon "golden hour" light. The Patagonia Mountains are simply majestic in pink pastel pre-dawn light, revealing seemingly infinite layers aglow. Under mid-morning’s full sunlight, we captured a few images of single trees along the shallow waters of the winding Santa Cruz River. Our first evening was a photographer’s dream: richly textured foreground grasses backed by the cross-lit Huachuca Mountains.
My favorite image of the trip is a lone tree reflection on a small pond, captured in the waning light of sundown. Honestly, we were packed and driving out of the valley for late dinner when we drove past this wonderful, placid scene. Our rushed tripod set-up was comical, particularly given the tranquility of the scene. From an outsider's view, our shooting was like a choppy old time movie displayed on fast forward ....
Locals at the Stage Stop Inn in Patagonia advised that the San Rafael Valley is even more scenic during summer monsoon season, when rains bring stormy skies and brilliant wild flowers to green fields. So, we’re planning a return trip to Southern Arizona, hoping to learn more about this natural oasis so far from the city.
Southwest photographer Marcus Reinkensmeyer is pleased to present fine art landscape images in archival quality prints, canvas gallery wraps and aluminum metal plates. This work celebrates the transient quality of light and the many wonders of our natural environment. Digital files also available for websites, design work and publications.