Seeing Things, Saying Things

Musings About Writing, Photography and Teaching

Posts Tagged ‘Tucson Arizona

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.

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That Warm Red Glow of Sunrise

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Think of a sunrise or a sunset and what probably comes to mind is an image of the sun.

Yet some of the most interesting sunrise and sunset images I’ve made didn’t feature the sun at all.

Such is the case with this image of sunrise over the Santa Catalina Mountains near Tucson, Arizona.

The early morning light and its warm glow has turned the rocks into a fiery red color. It won’t be long before all of this mountain moves out of the shadows and into the early morning light.

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.

Trace of Clouds at Sunrise

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I had arisen early to photograph the sun rising over the Santa Catalina mountains east of Tucson, Arizona.

I was hoping for something as dramatic as I had recorded the night before at sunset. It would not turn out that way, but was still worth the effort.

A sliver of clouds catches the early morning sunlight. It will be a few minutes before the sun climbs over the mountains.

The desert can be a place of extreme contrasts. Later on this day the temperature would climb into the 90s. But at the moment that I made this image, it was cold enough to wear a jacket.

Up Early to Catch the Sunrise

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I made it a point during a stay last October at a bed and breakfast outside of Tucson, Arizona, to get up early to catch the sun rising over the Santa Catalina Mountains.

The view wasn’t as colorful or spectacular as the sunset I had photographed from the same location the night before.

But it was a nice view nonetheless. It was quite cool in the desert. It might be in the 90s during the daytime, but the air cools rapidly after sunset.

There was a small wisp of clouds over the mountains that caught the early  morning light. The air was still aside from a few birds chirping away.

It was one of those moments I won’t soon, if ever, forget.

Yeah, It’s Big All Right

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This pint-sized visitor to the Southern Arizona Transportation Museum in Tucson is trying her hand at operating a diesel locomotive.

Union Pacific Railroad donated to the museum this locomotive control stand. Of course such things were designed to be operated by adults. But regardless of your age, you can only pretend to be in control of a train going down the tracks.

In the top photograph this little engineer in training has her left hand on the throttle and her right hand on the knob that controls the front headlights. In the bottom photograph, she has both hands on the throttle. All Aboard!

Do You Like Your Cities Wide, Medium or Close Up?

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Photojournalism textbooks often talk about wide angle, medium and telephoto shots. Each has its own pros and cons, but ultimately the reason for doing one or the other depends on what you are trying to show.

Shown here are three different views of essentially the same thing. I’m standing on A Mountain overlooking Tucson, Arizona.

My focal point is the city’s downtown. In sequence, the images are progressively becoming wider in scope.

By zooming out, the perspective changes as the frame becomes narrower on the focal point. It becomes a tradeoff between detail and a wider sense of place.