Sedona photography isn’t all about nature. Picturesque arches and alleyways fill the authentic-looking Spanish Colonial plaza of Tlaquepaque. Carved wooden doors and wrought iron fixtures adorn the shops and restaurants among babbling fountains and grand old sycamore trees. Back in 1971, the developer designed the plazas and buildings around the trees. The place feels romantic any time of year, but for one special evening in early December, Tlaquepaque is truly enchanting. The Lighting of the Luminarias festival begins the holiday season with a flourish of glowing candles in small paper sacks lining rooftops, staircases, and pathways. Plan to arrive before dark because at dusk the balance of ambient light and the candlelight is ideal for photos.
The Chapel of the Holy Cross, located just east of State Route 179 and 3 miles south of Tlaquepaque, inspires photographers with its artistic integration of architecture and nature. Designed and built in the mid-1950s, the austere chapel features a concrete cross soaring 90 feet high out of a cleft in the red rocks. A small pavilion grants an ideal view of the Nuns, a formation of tall, stoic spires. Admission is free, but the gate closes at 5 p.m., well before sunset in summer. Evening photographs of the chapel from below, even after sunset, can be stunningly dramatic.
Photographing Sedona and the surrounding red rocks and canyons could be a life’s work. The beauty and intrigue are enticing, and the changing weather guarantees endless variety. Sedona is not only a place where people come to admire art—it’s a place where people can become artistic.