I took this photo while on a camping trip with my boyfriend and my dog at Windy Hill campground. A drive that was supposed to be less than 3 hours became over 5 after a series of misadventures. First the mobile map led us to an empty parking lot, and then when we made it to the campground it turned out to be temporarily closed, we finally found a place to stay at around 1 in the morning after driving an extra hour to Globe in order to get a Tonto parking pass. We had set out to spend a fun weekend swimming in the Salt River, but ended up on the edge of a lake that can’t even be swum in at a campground filled with snowbird retirees in their RVs while we slept in my yellow tent. Even though it was not what we had planned, the unexpected camping destination became just what it took to find the inspiration I needed and provide the adventure I craved.
I was born and raised in Prescott, AZ and have always considered the greener and lusher parts of the country to be far more beautiful. Growing up spending summers by a lake in Maine made me dislike the dry climate even more for most of my life. This changed when I started camping in central Arizona, which has taught me to truly appreciate the unique beauty of the desert. There is no greater feeling than sitting by a campfire as the sun sets over the desert and the coyotes start to howl at the moon. As beautiful as moments like this are, they never last for long until the impulse to capture the scene overcomes the desire to simply enjoy it. Depicting the relaxed bliss of camping in the Valley was exactly what I hoped to accomplish with this image.
Arizona has beautiful sunsets and spectacular cacti; I wanted to encapsulate both of these in a photo. This image was taken using my Canon 70D with an 18-200mm lens sitting on a tripod while I was crouching on the ground so that I could photograph the silhouette of the saguaro in front of the remnants of the sunset. As a coyote howled just a few yards away from our tent in the desert by Lake Roosevelt I took this photo at 18mm, with an ISO of 800, an aperture of f /10, and a shutter speed of 30 seconds. In post-processing I just tweaked a few minor settings such as clarity, highlights, and vibrance. In the end everything worked out just right to allow me to take this photo and always have a reminder of the beauty I had to learn to see.
About the Photographer:
My dad taught me to appreciate photography growing up when he bought me my first purple windup film camera. The interest that this sparked only grew as I got older and started to travel. It finally became an actual goal when I received my dad’s old Canon 1000D and began to teach myself throughout high school. During a year at Yavapai Community College I started taking photography classes. I am now majoring in Strategic Communications (with an emphasis in merchandising) and Photography. I hope to someday put both of my degrees to use and pursue a career in fashion photography
To read more about the Northern Arizona University “Behind the Image: Guest Blogger” project on our blog, please read the introduction at youcansleepwhenyouredead.com/wordpress/4th-annual-northern-arizona-university-behind-the-image-guest-blogger-project. Please take a minute to leave your thoughts and constructive comments in the Comment section below – Emily would love to hear from you!