Oak Creek is getting a lot of representation lately, no wonder, it's one of the state's treasures, and photographers from all around are flocking to see the fall color. For those who don't know, Oak Creek flows here just below Cathedral Rock at one of the most photographed landmarks in Arizona. I live about 45 minutes away, and though I have been there many times, never for photographing sunset, or during the fall. I can remember when all of Sedona and Oak Creek was free to hike, and camp and play in the water. Twenty some-odd years ago Slide Rock, Grasshopper Point, and Red Rock Crossing were our favorite stomping grounds. My sophomore year I joined the seniors on 'Senior Ditch Day' and drove to Red Rock Crossing to partake in the revelry. Someone got a hold of a keg of beer, and when I got there one student was already so drunk he was passed out faced down in the shallow water. I showed up just in time for the party. I had just finished a glass of beer when the school's administration arrived. I can still remember Ms Fisher pulling up in the district's brown station wagon. She got out and proceeded to take names. Man you've never seen a full size keg run so fast up stream in your life. The students scattered, and within minutes the dirt parking lot was empty excpet for a brown station wagon, some paper cups and the poor sot face down in the shallow red rock water. Red Rock Crossing is a state park now, that charges $9 to enter. Its much better kept, and equipt with bathrooms, water machines, sidewalks and interprative signs. I have mixed feelings about our public lands becoming bumper to bumper amusement attractions, but realize that if our natural treasures weren't protected by the almighty dollar, it could very well be laid to waste. This shot was taken a couple of weeks ago just after a rain storm. I decided to head down to Red Rock Crossing in hopes that the sun would dip below the large rain cloud and bless the scene with some magic light and clouds. I showed up just in time for the party. The bank of the creek was filled with photographers and tripods, I knew the light would be fleeting, so I bracketed the shots on a couple of different ISOs, and kept the shutter speed up so I could hand hold the camera with shake reduction on. I brazenly squeezed between a couple and stepped out into the squishy mud to take the shot. Crescent Moon Ranch, a settlement preserved from the 1800s.
Back in the day there wouldn't have been anyone standing on that bank waiting with tourists for the light to turn gold. But times have changed, and we must change with it. So get out and enjoy the last of the best, before they're loved to death. Oh, and never be late to a party.