I've been in love with photography since I got my first single-lens reflex camera nearly 30 years ago on a family trip to the Southwest. Growing up in the relatively mundane environs of rural Illinois, the images made by professional photographers became my way to take off and see the world - and what a beautiful world it was. Like most kids, I wanted to “be” in those pictures - standing on the precipice, gazing into the canyon, feeling the crisp breeze from atop a mountain, or the wet sand squishing between my toes while walking on the beach.  More than just viewing those images, though, I longed to create my own.  I've been learning and refining my skills ever since.

While I've had a long-time love affair with photography, my love of the Southwest extends even further into my past, fueled by repeated summer vacations into Arizona along the famed Route 66. I was fortunate to move to Scottsdale in 1994 and continued to develop a more personal relationship with the land via frequent backcountry hikes. While I've taken many photographs of Arizona on film, I recently realized that, since my switch to digital, very few of my images had come from my home state. That's the motivation that led my wife and me into the Superstitions that day in October.

While the Superstition wilderness area is most famous for the Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine of Jacob Waitz, we hiked into the area to photographically “mine the gold” of a gorgeous sunset. We took a lot of shots along the trail and I felt I had at least one or two images that might turn out well.  We started to hurry back to the trailhead, trying to get back before it was too dark to see the trail, when I glanced back over my shoulder. It stopped me dead in my tracks. Although we had come to capture the setting of the sun, I was staring at a picture-perfect moonrise, rising just above the ridge. Even better, the moon was kind enough to be rising between two rock formations.  In Arizona, more than anywhere else, it's almost impossible to take a bad photograph, and this image is just one example. It also reminded me of a tried-and-true method for getting "the shot” Once you've taken your photograph, make sure to turn around and look behind you. You never know when the perfect moment will be staring back at you.