By Ted Grussing
… what a fantastic flight I had today, it had all the elements that make flying fun; clouds, blue sky (somewhere), mountains, fall color on the mountains and just plain fun figuring out how to get the shots I wanted to get.
When I got up to the airport the clouds were several hundred feet below the rim and the red rocks in the area. The cloud cover was broken to overcast, depending on where you looked. Not exactly what I had hoped for as the winds are picking up strong tonight and tomorrow and this might be the last chance to get prime color in the trees. I called a friend in Flagstaff and she told me that there was a lot of blue in the sky and also some clouds.
So, I took off and checked all along the rim and absolutely no way to go north under the clouds (no excavating equipment on board), so I climbed up through a blue hole and headed north … the first photo titled “enroute” was taken about half way up to the peaks at 16,500’ which was about the minimum altitude I could fly.
When I got to the Flagstaff area, I was close to a mile above the San Francisco Peaks, and sure enough there were large blue holes in the area and the south side of the peaks looked like it had sun on the fall leaves and cloud base high enough for me to get a shoot in of the inner basin, so I pushed over, deployed the spoilers and dove for the SE side of the peaks and leveled off at about 10,000’. The photo titled NE2SW was taken on the NE side of the peaks and shows the beautiful color which is getting very close to peak color (no pun intended) on the right side of the image the peaks are l to r Rees Peak, Aubineau Peak and Humphreys Peak is obscured in the clouds. On the far side of the inner basin l to r you have Doyle Peak, Fremont Peak and Agassiz Peak is obscured by Rees Peak. On the far left side of the image you can see Mt. Elden and some color on it … on the other side of Elden is Flagstaff and the Flagstaff Mall.
I flew around the N side of the mountain and was pushed lower by the clouds. I took the shot titled NW2SE shortly after rounding the NW corner of the Peaks. On the left obscured by clouds is Humphreys Peak and just under the clouds right of center is Snow Bowl with some snow on the runs. There is way more color than I expected as Friday afternoon when I flew up there the color on the west side was not much more than 25% … that has changed drastically and is probably around 75% now. The volcanic cone to the right and beyond the peaks (slight saddle) is A-1 Peak.
After an hour plus shooting in the area I decided to head home as the clouds appeared to be building … I thought I might be able to sneak under the clouds on the return trip to Sedona, but it soon became apparent that that was not a viable option, so I climbed up through a space between clouds, broke out on top and headed home. There were quite a few blue holes in the Verde Valley, so it was fun dancing with clouds on the way back down.
So today was an absolute blast and hope you enjoy the photos. This is the first year I have had snow in the equation for my fall color shooting at the peaks, so this was truly special.
The week is starting … have a beautiful day and week. Keep breathing and smiling … share your joy!
Everything is still, and the soft night air is cool.
The sky seems very near, and the stars lie over the heavens like fields of daisies stretching on and on.
The moon is passing in and out of the clouds, making a shadow checkered day of the night, and breaking the sky with shafts of gold.
All silent, the universe is doing its work … beautiful, mysterious, religious!
— Max Ehrmann
The easiest way to reach Mr. Grussing is by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
In addition to sales of photographs already taken Ted does special shoots for patrons on request and also does air-to-air photography for those who want photographs of their airplanes in flight. All special photographic sessions are billed on an hourly basis.
Ted also does one-on-one workshops for those interested in learning the techniques he uses. By special arrangement Ted will do one-on-one aerial photography workshops which will include actual photo sessions in the air.
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