Seeing Things, Saying Things

Musings About Writing, Photography and Teaching

Posts Tagged ‘Arizona

Cactus and Sunset

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The sun will soon be going down over the Santa Catalina Mountains that surround Tucson, Arizona, and the host of the bed and breakfast where we were staying has indicated that it should produce a spectacular sunset.

That will occur in a few minutes, but in the meantime, I’m trying out some other angles to capture the last of the sun on this splendid October day.

This three-image sequence works with two separate saguaro cactus plants to show the progression of the sunset.

I was fortunate to have the edge of a cloud cover that moved on at the right time. It would be the presence of those clouds that would make this sunset so dramatic.

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Tracks to the Sun

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We were staying at a bed and breakfast in Tucson, Arizona, that is operated by a guy who has passion for trains.

He and his wife own an expansive piece of property and Ken has placed a garden railway on it.

The tracks thread their way over the desert floor around cactus and other plants.

The sun will be setting soon and the rails appear to be beckoning travelers to take a journey toward the sunset.

Cactus and the Clouds

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Dark clouds do not also means storms are coming. They don’t even necessarily always mean that rain is coming.

Many photographers prize what they call storm light. It often occurs when the sun pops out after a storm and illuminates the back edge of the storm.

The contrast of objects against the dark clouds can make for some dramatic images.

This image is not storm light per se, but it has some of its qualities. There was no rain and no storm from those dark clouds in the background.

Yet I was able to take advantage of the edge of those clouds opening up a path for direct sunlight. It arrived in time to give this saguaro cactus a late day warm lighting.

The image was made near Tucson, Arizona. Those are the Santa Catalina Mountains in the distance.

Hummingbird Please Fly Away, Fly Away

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The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum near Tucson has a walk-in aviary that allows visitors to get close to the birds.

I knew from a previous visit that there were hummingbirds inside the aviary.

Perhaps you’ve seen photographs of a hummingbird hovering in flight.

My objective was to create such an image. I quickly learned that doing that would be more difficult than I thought.

Hummingbirds don’t hover in one place for long. I would spot one hovering but it would dart off before I could even compose and focus the image.

The best I was able to do was capture a few birds sitting on a branch. Even those images were not the greatest.

Like any form of photography, there must be a trick or two to photographing a hummingbird in flight. It probably takes patience, experience and time.

I didn’t have all day to capture a hummingbird in flight. so I had to move on after about couple dozen attempts. This was my favorite hummingbird that I did manage to photograph.

 

Symbol of the West

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There are many things that symbolize the western United States. The Rocky Mountains might top the list, but not far below would be cactus plants.

There are many variety of cactus yet the saguaro probably is the best known because of its size and arms.

If you called central casting and asked them to send you a cactus, it would look like this one. Not every saguaro has arms, but in the minds of many it is not a cactus unless it has a number of arms poking out.

There is nothing unusual about this particular saguaro, but it has all of the needed properties to be quintessential.

Those dark clouds in the background didn’t produce any rain, but they made a nice contrast with the foreground.

The saguaro is not widespread in the West. The plant is most likely to be found in southern Arizona and parts of California.

Yes, Smokey Does Exist

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As a kid I remember seeing public service announcements on television featuring Smokey the Bear, whose signature line was “only you can prevent forest fires.”

As a young adult with a CB radio, Smokey became known in my mind as a slang term for a police officer, usually a state trooper, who was on the watch for speeding on interstate highways.

The name derived from the fact that troopers usually wore ranger hats similar to the one that Smokey wore.

Last year while visiting a museum in a national park outside Sedona, Arizona, I got to meet Smokey.

Well, actually it was a statute of him that didn’t talk. I wasn’t aware that Smokey was still in use by the park service, but at least here he was.

Written by csanders429

June 30, 2017 at 6:33 am

He Hardly Moved All Day

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During a visit to the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum last October I was hoping to make photographs of an ocelot moving around in his grotto.

But the temperature that day was in the 90s and the ocelot didn’t feel like doing anything but sleeping. I can’t say I blame him.

I returned to the wildcat exhibit three times throughout the day and ocelot had barely moved. This was the best I was image I was able to make.

The lesson I took away from this is that I need to visit the museum on a cooler day.

Written by csanders429

June 13, 2017 at 7:31 am