Around the United States - Ryan Kost

Sedona Sandstone Sunset

A few of the critical things photography has taught me is to do your homework, forge your own path, be patience, insatiably curious and to just ask. Sedona, Arizona is a landscape photographers dream. The dynamic skies, shifting light on the red and orange colored sandstone towers juxtaposed with a "lush" desert environment unequivocally leave your lower jaw dropping and succumbing to gravity as you utter "WOW." Many flock to Sedona to experience these views and after studying lots of photos and "where to" shoot articles, I thought I had it all mapped out. For sunset, I headed up to the famed airport mesa, which lends itself to sweeping views of Sedona valley below. It was crowded. Very crowded. I appreciated everyone getting out there and chasing that sunset, but it wasn't my scene. I headed down the hill and saw another higher hill nearby. I thought, how could I get there? I noticed a road heading to a neighborhood that seemed somewhat close to where I wanted to go. I kindly asked a homeowner if I could park in their pullout area above their driveway. They said sure. I thanked them and then trudged up a pretty steep cacti laden slope for the next 25 minutes. No trail, just up. The mesa at the top. It greeted me with stunning 360 views and solitude. I felt like I was removed from Sedona's crowds and had the desert landscape to myself. I scouted for the next half hour and studied where the sun would hit as it faded towards the horizon. My homework of sorts. I found my spot and then just waited and watched the movie of light shift for the next hour. By forging my own path and simply asking a friendly homeowner, I came up with a shot of Sedona that felt unique. If anything, I felt at ease in this stunning desert landscape away from the crowds and in tune with my surroundings. I won't share this exact location because it's up to you to go find your own special spot.