Superstition Mountains 3: Lost Dutchman State Park

Lost Dutchman Park WI15-81

Lost Dutchman State Park, in central Arizona east of Mesa and Phoenix, could be seen as the crown jewel of the Superstition Mountains. It provides excellent views of the western flank of the Superstitions, along with trails all around the base and edge of this flank:

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The park is just off the Apache Trail, not far from Apache Junction. There’s a $7.00 day fee charged at the entrance station.

On my first visit, I took off from the Saguaro Day Use parking lot and headed for the Green Boulder. Then I took the Prospector’s View Trail and Jacob’s Crosscut Trail back to the #56 trail and the parking lot. It’s probably around four miles in all and provides excellent view all round of the Superstitions. Only one problem: it was a cloudless day, and the Arizona sun is harsh and pitiless. Straight out of the camera, I would wind up with something like this:

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With some post processing in Lightroom, we get something a little better:

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Or we could try black-and-white, compliments of Silver Efex Pro:

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Or we could perhaps add a tone to the black and white, like this:

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No matter what we do, we’re going to get images with harsh shadows if we photograph in the desert on a cloudless day. Here are some more images taken in the harsh sunlight at Lost Dutchman State Park:

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As the sun attained its rendezvous with the horizon, we were treated with better light:

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But even better is to go to Lost Dutchman State Park on one of those rare days that feature clouds. A few days later, I arrived at the park with a sky decorated by high but fairly thick strands of clouds. Here are some images taken from that afternoon and evening:

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