Luck favors the prepared! This lesson rang true when I recently (and briefly) visited Prescott, Arizona after spending some time in nearby Phoenix and Sedona. I had a late flight and decided to check out what I was told were some “different” landscapes in the Prescott Valley. I figured I’d stop through and check it out on my way to Sky Harbor, and what a maddening experience this was—at least at the beginning.

Driving through the valley, I could see the change in landscape. Not at all reminiscent of the rest of the Painted or the Sonoran Desert ecosystems, this had a very rustic and agrarian feel.

The problem was this: I couldn’t find anything to photograph, much less legally approach and/or observe! I try to respect private property and private life in general, and I’ve perhaps bent the rules here and there to get a specific shot or check out a specific vantage point. But barbed wire tends to imply more of a hard-line stance on the issue of trespassing. All of the landscapes and compositions that I tried to access seemed to be surrounded by barbed wire. Not only this, but the barbed wire was installed and maintained by people that clearly meant business, no rinky-dink “stand on this tree stump and hop over” spots or anything like that.

Feeling frustrated after a morning and early afternoon filled with traffic lights, traffic jams, and several dead ends I started retreating to Phoenix, ready to write this whole debacle off to experience. Proper planning. I thought I’d, at least, have time to indulge in a tasty In-N-Out burger once I got to Phoenix, and then I noticed the sky start to change, as some dramatic looking stratus clouds rolled in. I found a spot to pull over and finally got the camera out of the bag. “Prescott Kind of Mood” was a good opportunity to get some productive juices flowing.

Prescott Sort of Mood

A little further down, again regressing towards Phoenix, and still disappointed in myself for not planning the day well enough, I spotted a tree. A special tree. Something about the tree: its independence and its personality drew me in. It seemed to be a living manifestation of the Prescott Valley: agrarian, independent and resonating rustic beauty. “The Tree of Transformation” is appropriately named for the impact it had on my day, photography, and well-being.

The Tree of Transformation

The acreage on which the Tree resided then, upon further inspection, contained several other remarkable subjects, and I very much enjoyed checking them out. “One Wheel Shy” depicts a tractor that is still kicking after all these years…almost. A helping hand, a little elbow grease…maybe a spare part or two? That’s all this guy needs to start working the land once again.

One Wheel Shy

Having my cake and eating it too? Perhaps. I left Prescott with several things.

I learned a lesson, again, about preparedness—without the downsides of an empty memory card and nothing to share from my travels. I left with a new appreciation for this valley’s independence and unique beauty, and a couple of photographs whose mood will forever remind me of the area and my experiences there.

Oh! I still got to dig on some Animal Style fries before catching my flight home! Colorado is missing a couple of things although I call it both “home” and “paradise” without a flinch, and mostly those things include a reliably awesome local pizza chain that delivers 24/7, and In-N-Out.

Thanks for reading, feel free to browse the site and shop for prints. If you have any questions or comments, see below and check back to see what I've been up to.      

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