By Ted Grussing
I waited a while to take off this morning to give time for the clouds to begin to form and then it was off to the peaks and Lockett Meadow. As soon as I climbed above the rim of the Colorado Plateau I knew that I might have a real treat waiting for me as there was a lot of snow on the peaks. Winds aloft were pretty high giving me a ground track ranging in the high 30 to low 40 kt range so it took a while to get there. The direction of and velocity of the winds also made it unlikely I would get to do much flying inside the caldera of the peaks and for sure I would not be flying on the west side of the peaks … that donut hole in the cloud beyond Agassiz Peak indicates it would not be a fun place to be … nasty rotors.
I did my first runs at about 10,500’ and allowed myself to drift into the caldera as I made multiple passes and the air was relatively stable as it traveled up and into the caldera. Guesstimate would be 30+ kts and pretty close to a 90 degree cross and I was getting some really great ridge lift as I closed in on the ridges either side of the caldera and put it on a wingtip as I did a 180 turn to come back the other way. Basically flying from the ridge you can see on the left to the one on the right and back again … and again. Trees in the upper part of the meadow have lost most of their leaves while those in the lower part still have a ways to go. It was a blast and after an hour shooting, the return trip to Sedona was pretty quick with the ASI indicating about 65 kts and a ground speed of 106 kts … 41 kt tail wind. Sweet!
I also like this photo because you can see all the peaks that comprise the San Francisco Peaks … from left to right you have Doyle, Fremont, Agassiz, Humphreys, Aubineau and Rees peaks. I know there is some question as to the proper names of Fremont and Doyle. Agassiz on the left top of the caldera and Humphreys on the right are the two tallest peaks in Arizona with Agassiz at 12,356’ and Humphreys at 12,633’. The other named peaks are all over 11,000’ and this is what remains from the eruption of a mountain that was about 18,000’some 500,000+ years ago. Hard to imagine how beautiful that must have been towering about 11,000’ above the area which is now Flagstaff, Arizona.
Plan to head back up there Saturday morning and see how the color is. This is the first year that I have been flying up there to get the fall color shots that there has been snow on the peaks … all smiles. Hope you enjoy the view and carry a smile with you into the weekend … share the photo (as always) and share the joy that is life.
Smiles and back Monday morning
And love in the still of the star-flecked night,
When earth was all strewn with gold,
Has lifted my heart like the chords of song
Oft sung in the worlds of old.
— Max Ehrmann
The easiest way to reach Mr. Grussing is by email: email@example.com
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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