Arizona’s Verde Valley

Arizona’s Verde Valley is the Grand Canyon State‘s sleeper region.

Jerome, Arizona

Jerome, Arizona

The area features picturesque high desert and mountain top beauty. Well known destinations–like Sedona–and relatively undiscovered small town gems like Cottonwood, Jerome, Clarkdale, Camp Verde, and Cornville. All of it is close to an hour from my home, and the journey to the Verde Valley from Anthem can take you (depending on the route) through additional charming communities like Dewey, Mayer, Prescott, and Prescott Valley. A lot of the attractions are colorful historic sites and buildings, along with the Verde Canyon Railroad and a burgeoning wine industry.

Javelina Leap Vineyards & Winery

Javelina Leap Vineyards & Winery

It’s a place where I frequently go for photoremedy, and it’s a great place to enjoy with friends and family.  I’ve spent a couple of days in the Verde Valley this fall, and focused primarily on the delightfully grungy photo opportunities that exist in this most interesting region.

Photoremedy is primarily based on the role that photography has played in helping Greg attempt to combat ongoing chronic pain issues that stem from his degenerative cervical and lumbar spine challenges. It is designed to encourage others fighting chronic pain (and other illnesses) to consider pursuing the benefits associated with what is popularly known as art therapy. It’s important to note that many of the photos Greg takes and develops frequently blur the lines between traditional art and contemporary photography, much as art therapy often blurs the lines between traditional and alternative forms of medicine.

Wrapping Up Our Kansas and Kansas City (area) Series

In the three previous posts, I shared a few of the images I captured while enjoying Sunflower State photoremedy. For the most part, the images seemed to fit together. Unfortunately, there were still a few random pics–from the Kansas City metro area and Kansas–that didn’t fit as well under the three major themes.

They include Katy and Chris Wood’s cool truck.Chris W Chevy Truckj (1 of 1)

Kansas City barbecue.

A big, beautiful bee.Bee on Blossom 1j (1 of 1)

A couple of photos of cool Missouri small towns–Parkville and Farley–near Kansas City.

A fine art photo from the deck of the home where my Dad and Sister Julie live.Heavenly View 1 (1 of 1)

And, my favorite redhead (the shoes give perspective on how tiny she is).

Gratuitous granddaughter photo

Gratuitous granddaughter photo

Note: photoremedy.me is published as a labor of love. Please feel free to share the site, or any of our posts, with others. Our Home Page always features an option for our readers to sign up to immediately receive new material as an email. We hope you will become a part of our photoremedy network. 

Kids in Kansas

Traveling to Kansas this summer, as always, provided ample doses of photoremedy. In addition to connecting with some of my favorite rural areas and participating in the Shane Hoesli fund raiser that were featured in previous posts, I also had a chance to snap some pretty important toddler photos. Amanda and Stephen’s Isabella got to meet–and spend some quality time with–her Great Grandpa Bill (my Pop).

Amanda, who has always loved the Sunflower State, got to let Isabella go for a run near a spectacular sunflower field.

I was finally able to take some pictures of Cecily – my niece Katy’s and her husband Chris’s precious daughter.

Isabella got to spend quite a bit of time with Colton – Erin (another one of my nieces) and her husband Jason’s son. The two tiny tots were a little shy with each other at first, but eventually bonded and were especially adorable when they spent time with the animals at the Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead.

We’ll wrap up our Kansas photoremedy in our next post by taking a look at a few more favorite pictures; we will also offer a step back in time with a photo from just across the border in a charming Missouri village.

Farley, Missouri

Farley, Missouri

A Good Cause

One of the primary purposes for the Kansas trip that was featured in our previous photoremedy post was to join the families of Mary’s six brothers and sisters in participating in the 4th Annual Shane Hoesli Memorial Poker Run.

Clay Center, Kansas

Clay Center, Kansas

The event raises scholarship money in Shane’s name. Shane–a tremendous bundle of energy that brought smiles and laughter to his family and large group of friends during his all too short life–was tragically taken from us in a 2010 construction accident.Shane's Headstone 1j (1 of 1)

Shane had a large group of close friends and admirers, and many of them continue to honor him in the Poker Run and in many other ways. The fund raiser participants came on motorcycles, a short bus, and in a few “chase” vehicles. It started and ended in Clyde (Shane’s hometown), and involved stops in four other Kansas communities (where participants received one card).

Clyde, Kansas

Clyde, Kansas

Those with the best “hands” at the end of the run received donated items, while the participation fees supported the scholarship fund. It was a ton of fun, and provided significant photoremedy opportunities of both the run and surrounding scenery.

Clyde, Kansas

Clyde, Kansas

Home on the Range

It’s been more than two decades since Mary and I packed up the kids and headed west to the Phoenix metro area. We love the colorful Sonoran Desert and the southwestern roots we have planted here, but it is always nice to go “home” to Kansas where we were both raised.

Railroad tracks near Aurora, Kansas

Railroad tracks near Aurora, Kansas in Cloud County

I particularly love the photoremedy opportunities presented when we visit Mary’s hometown of  Clyde. During the last few trips to the area, I rise well before sunrise and head out to capture the morning colors presented all around Cloud County. I even find myself returning to many of the same areas–both on the range and in resilient small communities–where I’ve snapped pictures previously. Different times of day, and different seasons, often put some of these favorite sites in surprisingly different light. Below is a sample of some of my favorite Cloud County and other rural Kansas pictures from this year.

I’m working on a couple of additional Kansas photoremedy posts, including one which features our daughter Amanda introducing precious Isabella to her first Sunflower field experience.

Sunflower fields near Waterville, Kansas

Sunflower fields near Waterville, Kansas

The Birth of Something New

As part of the ongoing photoremedy.me effort to encourage others to explore the “good medicine” that can be delivered to those who are passionate about the pictures they take and make, we occasionally share research or thought processes that support the healing nature of creativity.

Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch

Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch (fine art photography)

Today’s thought comes from Jan Phillips in her book, God Is at Eye Level.

We get so caught up in the flurry of our lives that we forget the essential thing about our art–that the act of creating is a healing gesture, as sacred as prayer, as essential to the HGR Pink Fower 1j (1 of 1)spirit as food is to the body. Our creative work reveals us to ourselves, allows us to transform our experience and imagination into forms that sing back to us in a language of…who we are, what we are becoming, what we have loved and feared. This is the alchemy of creation: that as I attempt to transmute a feeling or thought into an artistic form that can be experienced by another, I myself am added to, changed in the process.

As we center ourselves in the act of creating, attune to our inner voice, a shift occurs in our consciousness, allowing for the birth of something new. Our attention is no longer on time and demands and errands. It is caught up in the metamorphosis of one thing into another. What begins as a cocoon emerges a butterfly. What once was sorrow may now be a song.

All of the photos featured today are photoremedy.me originals, and were taken at Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch. Like many of Arizona’s celebrated resorts, it is a great place to stimulate the “birth of something new.” It is a great place for photoremedy.