Cellpic Sunday – 9 February 2020

Waddell, Arizona.

In the White Tank Mountain Regional Park, one of my favorite hikes is from Mesquite Canyon Trail to Willow Canyon Trail. The climb is slow and steady, almost 1500 feet (457 m) from the parking area to the highest point on the trails. The good news is that the climb comes early when one is fresh and the trek on the way back is mostly downhill. I have never hiked to the end of the Willow Canyon Trail, but on this hike, I would proceed to the farthest I’ve ever been along the trail. In this higher country, locals used to lead cattle to what is now the ruins of a small fenced in area and a building that is now nothing but a stone foundation. A metal water tank provided a water supply for the cattle. The remains of the tank are still there.

Just a short distance from the corral fence, a natural stone grotto rises above. After a short hike, in the depression behind the cacti in the image above, water was standing, captured there after a recent rain. The name White Tank translates from the area originally known by the locals as Tinajas Blancas. The granite, bleached white by rushing waters over the years would hold water after the heavy rains of the Arizona monsoon season. These “white tanks” stored water for the people and wildlife in the area.

About the photo: Captured on my Samsung S6, I memorialized my first views of the grotto’s high stone wall. Once downloaded to my computer, I tweaked it in Adobe Lightroom and Luminar Flex. When I didn’t like how the sky turned out, I reached for Luminar 4 to use a new tool in that arsenal, the sky replacement tool. Tweaking to bring out the colors of the rock caused the sky to be affected. Using a mask to attempt to “undo” the color change in the sky and leave the rock “tweaked” would have been difficult to accomplish. Luminar’s Automatic sky replacement feature brought back the original color of the sky and created a clean, well delineated transition at the top of the cliff. If your browser supports it, you can click on the image to enlarge it for a better view.

John Steiner


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