Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Slide Rock State Park

with 26 comments

Oak Creek Canyon

On this date in 2016 we spent a few hours in Slide Rock State Park near Sedona, Arizona.

A strangely deformed alligator juniper (Juniperus deppeana)

Overwhelmed by so many other scenic places on that trip, I never showed any of the Slide Rock pictures.

How about those shadows?

After four years, finally you get to see a few of those views.

Oak Creek’s rocks and water came in for a lot of attention.

And here’s a question rather than a quotation: how often do you renew your poetic license?

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 20, 2020 at 4:40 AM

26 Responses

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  1. Nice


    October 20, 2020 at 4:47 AM

    • We certainly found it nice, especially as we’d never heard of it till we were in the area.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 20, 2020 at 9:19 AM

  2. My poetic license was revoked for immoderate and licentious language. That tree looks like a tough survivor, I like miss the smell of junipers on a warm day.

    Robert Parker

    October 20, 2020 at 5:22 AM

    • Who’d’ve thought immoderate and licentious language would be associated with a seemingly nice guy like you? Oh, duplicity!

      The first alligator juniper I ever saw was in west Texas more than a decade ago. Austin is full of Ashe junipers, including a few in my yard, so that characteristic fragrance is never far away. I’m sorry you don’t have it available now.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 20, 2020 at 9:27 AM

  3. Great dynamic range on those shadows.


    October 20, 2020 at 6:37 AM

  4. The bark of the alligator juniper’s aptly named; it does resemble reptilian skin. As eye-catching as that texture is, the rhombus in the middle of the trunk is just as interesting. My favorite photo’s the fourth. The simplicity, the colors, and the consonance between the rippled water and patterns in the foreground rock all are pleasing.


    October 20, 2020 at 7:31 AM

    • When it comes to that alligator juniper, its bark is as good as its bight.
      I’m with you on the fourth picture, especially in the way the reflections echoed the color of the rocks. I spent plenty of time making abstract views of the rock-lined creek.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 20, 2020 at 9:40 AM

  5. Many licences requested by government agencies have only one purpose: to collect fees.

    Peter Klopp

    October 20, 2020 at 9:06 AM

  6. That alligator juniper scar is interesting. I wonder what caused that? And WHAT?? You? Speeding tickets? As an observer of wildflowers and nature, you’d be the last person I’d suspect of speeding! Ha ha!


    October 20, 2020 at 10:21 AM

    • I’ve wondered about that huge scar but I have no idea what caused it. I wonder if the people in charge of the park know.

      For my whole adult life I’ve felt that speed limits are set artificially low. Why should capable drivers be limited to speeds that fearful people are happy with? When there’s more than one lane in each direction, timid drivers can keep right and let faster drivers go past.

      Even at a slow speed like 30mph I can’t really observe nature. The only way to appreciate wildflowers is on foot.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 20, 2020 at 3:31 PM

      • I agree about being on foot! And, I feel the same way too about speeds and capable drivers. I am lucky I haven’t been caught speeding when I visit family in Nebraska. They have ridiculously slow speeds. I imagine most of that is because of large farm equipment during planting and harvest.


        October 20, 2020 at 5:13 PM

        • Luckily for me, Texas tends to have higher speed limits than other states (though unfortunately not in Austin). You mentioned Nebraska, which I’ve been to only once. A bunch of times I’ve had to deal with Texas’s western neighbor, New Mexico. On many roads the speed limit drops by 10 mph as soon as you cross the border from Texas, even though conditions are identical. It’s such a relief to get back into Texas on the way home. New Zealand was troublesome, too, because no road in the entire country has a speed limit higher than 62 mph.

          Steve Schwartzman

          October 20, 2020 at 5:23 PM

  7. Those are some stunning images, Steve, especially the alligator juniper.

    Lavinia Ross

    October 20, 2020 at 10:46 AM

    • Slide Rock State Park was a good find. Of course in that part of Arizona, what isn’t a good find? I didn’t know till I saw the alligator juniper that that species grows in the area.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 20, 2020 at 3:33 PM

  8. Ooh, nice to see these photos Steve. We actually drove past this place several years ago on our way to the GC. We stopped at Oak’s Creek for the lookout, but not Slide Rock as it had snowed overnight. Sedona is an amazing area, we were glad to have seen it, but sad we didn’t have longer to explore. Probably better later in the year than March! The bark of the alligator juniper is so unusual.


    October 20, 2020 at 12:30 PM

    • I remember your big western trip a few years ago—though not the snow. As you said, March can be a harsh time to see northern Arizona. After our first real visit to that state in 2014 (previously we’d only driven through on our way to and from California), people kept asking if we’d gone to Sedona. We hadn’t, so in 2016 we went back and hit that area. Let’s hope we can all go back there and see some of the places we missed.

      The alligator juniper is well known for its reptilian bark. I got to know it when someone in west Texas took us to see one years ago.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 20, 2020 at 3:42 PM

  9. You have awakened a veritable cascade of memories from my visit there, back in 2004. I thought I had done a post on it, but I see that–for the first time in active memory–I was mistaken. I’m revisiting it now and am considering sharing, but I see that the quality of the images I have don’t quite live up to my memory, so we’ll see.


    October 22, 2020 at 4:38 AM

    • Happy cascade, memory-wise. I think you’re the first person I’ve encountered who’s also been to Slide Rock. With regard to your non-post, I occasionally think of doing something and then, quite a bit later, am no longer sure whether I’ve done it; most often it’s whether I’ve said a particular thing to a particular person. I hope you’ll make it back to Slide Rock so you can take new and better pictures.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 22, 2020 at 5:22 AM

  10. That tree has a story. A fairy-story teller could use up a week’s poetic license on that.


    October 22, 2020 at 10:06 AM

  11. Oh, the juniper! Oh, the shadows, and oh, the curve of rock and water. Beautiful.


    October 28, 2020 at 2:14 PM

    • I’d sure love to get back to the Sedona area. As much as we saw, there’s plenty we didn’t have time for.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 28, 2020 at 3:03 PM

  12. All of the images are lovely, but the name, “Alligator Juniper” is a good one – and the subject of your photo has character – as if an alligator actually took a huge bite from the trunk! And yes, those shadows are wonderful!

    Playamart - Zeebra Designs

    November 30, 2020 at 10:14 AM

    • Ah, imaginative you, seeing an alligator’s bite in an alligator juniper. And of course as an artist you’d appreciate shadows. You made me wonder if there’s ever been an art movement called Umbrism, which would play up shadows; there doesn’t seem to have been.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 30, 2020 at 10:46 AM

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