When the summer heat sets in and the desert valleys bake, Arizonans head north to higher elevations seeking respite. Oak Creek is one such destination and a true summer oasis. Located just north of Sedona, the creek has cut its way through the area's famous red rocks to create a canyon full of vibrant life.
The creek meanders beneath the canyon walls and tree canopy, alternating between gentle rapids and larger pools of crystal-clear water. I accessed the water from one of several campgrounds/day use areas along Highway 89A, which follows the creek all the way up the canyon.
Once at the creek, I made my way downstream using a combination of makeshift trails along the shore and rock hopping. The canyon is fairly tight, so I knew my 15mm would be my best shot at getting a good image. I decided I wanted to try a low perspective at water level with a slower shutter to smooth out the movement of the water and a small aperture to maximize depth of field and keep the canyon sharp in the background. Of course, I had left my tripod at home, so it was a fun challenge sprawling out on the rocks to find just the right position to support the camera for a sharp exposure.
I was drawn to this scene because it had all the elements I associate with Oak Creek - flowing water, colorful canyon walls, boulders shaping the current and lush flora. It's a truly amazing place that not only provides a haven during the summer but is equally magical in the winter when snow and ice become the dominant features of the landscape.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor