Seeing Things, Saying Things

Musings About Writing, Photography and Teaching

Posts Tagged ‘cactus

New Day Begins in the Desert

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I made it a point to get up early to photograph the sun rising over the Santa Catalina Mountains that tower over Tucson, Arizona.

The evening before I had captured one of the most dramatic sunsets I’ve seen in the desert. I was hoping to get an equally colorful sunrise.

It didn’t work out that way. The conditions that had made for such a dramatic sunset were not present in the early morning hours. There was barely any color at all.

Still there is something about watching the dawning of a new day that is inspirational.

There were birds chirping and singing as the desert came to life. I didn’t need a colorful sky to feel good.

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Up With the Sun in the Desert

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For most of my life I was never an earlier riser, particularly when I didn’t need to be. But in recent years that has changed.

Consequently, I’m seeing more sunrises than I once did. During a trip to Arizona more than a year ago I got up before sunrise to make this series of images of the sun rising over the Santa Catalina Mountains northeast of Tucson.

It was not as dramatic as the sunset I had seen the previous evening, but I still enjoyed seeing the rising sun color the clouds over the mountains and hearing the birds chirping as a new day began in the Sonoran Desert.

Prickly Pears

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The Opuntia is a cactus plant that is commonly found in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona, but is better known as a prickly pear. Although I associate prickly pears with Arizona, the plant is named for an ancient city in Greece known as Opus. This particular plant is located on the outdoor patio of a bed and breakfast in Tucson.

Out There in the Desert

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Movies set in 19th century Western America have to be made somewhere and one place where that occurs is an amusement park called Old Tucson.

Located in the Sonora Desert west of Tucson, Arizona, Old Tucson bills itself as a place to turn back time to the old west and experience “live action stunt shows, musicals and live entertainment, vintage rides for the kids, genuine southwest BBQ and special events throughout the season.”

Of course that is a Hollywood version of the old west, but it has been used as a set for such stars as John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Elizabeth Taylor, Steve Martin, Sharon Stone and Martin Short.

More than 400 film and television projects have been made here since 1939.

I’ve never been inside Old Tucson, but I have driven past it while en route to the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum. It is shown above in a distant view made from the nearby mountains.

Where Will the Road Take You?

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I’ve always seen an open road as an invitation to travel, even if for just a short distance. As a photographer I find a road hard to resist when out making images.

Shown is Gates Pass Road near Tucson, Arizona. It passes through Tucson Mountain Park and we had stopped at a pullover so I could make images of the surrounding mountains.

As often happens, I find myself making open road images when I am actually seeking to photograph something else.

Gates Pass is a twisting, turning road that goes up and over the mountains and is typically traveled by those going from Tucson to the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum or the Old Tucson amusement park.

The view here is looking eastward. Follow this road as you see it here and you’ll eventually wind up back in Tucson.

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.

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.