Aug 112013
 

damselfly 1768

Here is a surprise.  Dragonflies and Damselflies are aquatic insects, yet they can be found in the Sonoran Desert when there is a source of water. I found this one when the wash flooded last month (I’m behind on my photos).  Since there are no fish to eat them, they can be successful in the desert.  Not only is a damselfly more dainty, but it is distinguished from the dragonfly by the way its wings are folded over the body.

I processed this one using Topaz denoise, clarity (masking out background) and then restyle.

 

 

Jun 152013
 

smoke bush 1734 smoke bush flower cu 1733

I only recently learned that the name of this one is “Smoke Tree Bush.” It is incredibly hard to get a good photo of the bush since it does have a  bluish “smoky” look about it. But up close, the flowers are actually purple.  It seems that we have not stop wind this year, thus hindering my ability to get a good clear close up.  But I think this on shows enough.

May 262013
 

palo verde seed pods 1730

I know, I know!  This is NOT an “evergreen” tree… but here in the Sonoran Desert we have the Palo Verde tree (Green Tree) obviously named for its bark and I decided it works for this theme!  If it is a dry year, the leaves fall off a Palo Verde and photosyntheses works through the branches and trunks. However there is no chance of this tree losing its leaves since it is growing in the wash.

It has recently had its beautiful display of yellow blossoms, which in turn has produced the green pods.

Below is picture of the Palo Verde trees in bloom in the wash in April.

palo verde in bloom 1731

May 112013
 

saguaro top in bloom 1728

bouquet of saguaro blossoms 1729

saguaro in bloom 1727

I’ve been saving this theme for Saguaro cactus… this blossom is Arizona’s state flower. The Saguaro cactus is native to the Southwest’s Sonoran Desert which spans from Southern Arizona, Sonora (Mexico), Whipple Mountains (California) and parts of the Imperial Valley (California). There are no wild saguaros anywhere in the western U.S. states of Texas, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, or Nevada, nor in the high deserts of northern Arizona, although it is used for branding or falsely in movies and commercials to convey the Southwest. The Saguaro cactus is one of the reasons we chose to live here.

A saguaro can grow to 75′ tall and live 200 years. A saguaro’s growth is extremely slow. Growth occurs in spurts, with most of it taking place in the summer rainy season each year. By the end of a year, the saguaro seedling may measure only 1/4 inch. After 15 years, the saguaro may be barely a foot tall. At about 30 years saguaro can begin to flower and produce fruits. By 50 years, the saguaro may be as tall as 7 feet. After about 75 years, it may sprout its first branches or “arms.” The branches begin as prickly balls, then extend out and upward.

I never tire of seeing saguaro as they have such personality; like snowflakes, every one is different. Currently the cactus are in bloom in town… but the ones in the desert, not watered by caretakers are slower to have buds or blossoms.   I hope to have a landscape photo of desert cactus in bloom soon.

I’ve taken many photos of these cacti in the past, click here for more.

May 052013
 

room with a view 1 1727

room with a view two 1719

room with a view 3 1720

Stone cabins like this one can be found throughout the desert near Quartzsite, AZ. Many of the settlers were miners. Every time we visit one, it really makes us think about how life must have been for these rugged individuals.

We’ve been to this one a few times… but I never grow tired of it. Yesterday morning when Carl asked which direction to travel on the ATV, I chose this area because I thought the Saguaro cactus would all be in bloom. They weren’t. But, I had in the back of my mind that this would also be where I would concentrate on the theme “room with a view.”

The view in the photo above is of Quartzite. The air was “smoky” from the fires in Southern California and thus not the best view of the Mountains.  The fires are about 100 miles east of us.

The photos below gives a better idea of what the cabin looks like.

stone cabin front 1722

stone cabin 1721

Apr 132013
 

/cactus bud 1707

cactus bud 1706 (1)

cactus bud 1709

cactus bud 1708

 

These were taken last Sunday (same day as the rattlesnakes) — this is a new camera and the photos are in RAW.  I am having to learn how to use my tools all over again, thus it took me all week to prepare the for posting.

The last two are obviously not a bud… but thought you’d like seeing what these cacti are capable of — truly awesome, don’t you think?

By the way, these buds and blossoms are on the Staghorn Cholla cacti.

Apr 082013
 

RATTLESNAKE 1706

RATTLESNAKE 1708
RATTLESNAKE 1709
RATTLESNAKE 1710

We went back out on our ATV yesterday… and found our first rattlesnakes! Scary! Fortunately we were on the ATV already… not walking although we had been walking only moments earlier. I was ready to flee the area, but Carl stopped to let me take pictures.

This was taken with my brand new SX50 HS with a great telephoto lens. I processed the photos by reducing the yellow in Aperture and then painting the yellow back in on the snakes so that they can be seen, otherwise they are very will camouflaged by nature.

Mar 302013
 

pink prickly pear 1705

pink 1704

These Prickly Pear Cactus blossoms were taken last weekend at the Joshua Tree National Park (I’m slow to post, we’ve had some Internet issues). These are in blossom all over town as well and I can’t get enough pictures. Since these were the first ones I saw this season, I am posting them. Besides, I love the background in the top photo.