My work recently implemented a very kind and generous parental leave policy, which was great timing since it went into effect right before we had our baby. But I am currently in the middle of 12 weeks of fully paid leave, and won't have to return to work until May. It's been great to have this extra time to help care for the baby, and to spend time with him. It's also probably beneficial to my work since I'd probably be falling asleep at my desk if I was in the office.
As a first-time parent, it's been nice to have the time off to spend with the baby (even including the times when we've found out what the term "blow-out" means). It's also given me some time to re-work some of the pictures from our road trip last fall to Arizona. I converted a few of them to black and white, and was actually pleased with the results.
I haven't been able to take very many new pictures in the month or so since the baby was born (besides pictures of the baby), but I'll share a few of these if anyone doesn't mind. The first ones were taken along Route 66, in the Texas panhandle. This was in the small community of Landergin, which is actually referred to as a ghost town. There were only a few buildings here, and it looked like all of them were abandoned.
The next shot is from the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona, with a view of the large rock formations known as "The Teepees." The Petrified Forest is a vastly underrated national park. For a park that isn't very big, it has so many varied landscapes.
The next shot is from the Grand Canyon National Park. After we left the Petrified Forest, we drove across Arizona and got to the Grand Canyon right before sunset. We rushed to get to an overlook, but it was cloudy and there wasn't much of a sunset. A small rainstorm popped up, and slowly drifted across the Canyon. This was taken when it was nearly dark, and was a 20 second exposure.
We spent a few days at the Grand Canyon, and were lucky to see lots of different weather conditions there (everything from sunny days to lightning storms). One morning we drove in and the Canyon was shrouded in a thick fog.
These next shots were taken from Shoshone Point at sunset. There wasn't much of a sunset here, since it was storming off in the distance. The setting sun did briefly illuminate the canyon and the low clouds hugging the North Rim.
Our next stop was the city of Page, Arizona. Page has turned into a bit of a photographer's Mecca. Located just a few miles outside of the city are two incredibly popular photo destinations. The first is Horseshoe Bend, the famous tight bend along the Colorado River. I've seen thousands of pictures of this view, but was not prepared for how steep the overlook is. It's 1000 feet to the river below, and there is no guard rail.
The other popular place is Antelope Canyon, which sits on Navajo land just outside of Page. I did a photographer's tour of Lower Antelope Canyon, which meant I got to spend two hours in the canyon and was allowed to bring a tripod (it also cost a bit more). There were only two other people on the tour, but it was still difficult to try to shoot pictures in the narrow canyon and avoid the other photographers. I only got to take one picture of this view before one of the other photographers strolled over and plunked her tripod down right under the carved stone arch.
As I'm writing this right now, I'm listening to the baby sleep through the baby monitor. So to keep the black and white theme going, here's a quick picture of Jonah. I haven't had much practice with infant portrait photography in the past, but I expect that's going to change in the near future.