Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

59 seconds

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Saguaro Arm Bud 3142

Fifty-nine seconds (thanks, metadata) before I took the photograph of the giant saguaro cactus, Carnegiea gigantea, that you saw in the last post, I’d taken a closer picture of the arm bud.

This cactus was growing a few minutes’ walk from the visitor center at Sabino Canyon in northeastern Tucson on October 2, 2014.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 15, 2015 at 2:14 PM

21 Responses

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  1. The specimen would appear to be well hydrated. Or, at least, that’s how I interpret the fact that those little sutures holding the spines seem to be sunken into the surrounding tissue which appears to be just the littlest bit swollen. Perhaps an indication of rain, in good measure?

    Pairodox Farm

    January 15, 2015 at 2:18 PM

  2. Beautiful!

    Maria F.

    January 15, 2015 at 3:01 PM

  3. Lovely. My first impression, on seeing this in profile, was that the cactus was shy. (My second thought was that my nose feels like this at the end of a bad cold!) 😉


    January 15, 2015 at 4:52 PM

    • The next time you have a bad cold, Lynda, we expect to see you post a closeup selfie (or is it a selfie closeup?) so we can compare.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 15, 2015 at 4:57 PM

  4. On my screen, this picture looks dazzling. The brightness of the sunshine reflected off the spines contrasted with the rich blue behind almost hurts my eyes. I can certainly imagine the glare of a desert sun from this picture!


    January 15, 2015 at 8:03 PM

    • That desert light was bright but also magical, so I’m glad the magic came across on your computer screen. Sometimes photographers use a polarized to make the blue of the sky seem more saturated, but I didn’t do anything here other than press the shutter release.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 15, 2015 at 9:17 PM

  5. With meta data you can account for every second of your life! Brilliant blue sky.


    January 15, 2015 at 10:09 PM

    • Every photographic second, that it. Accounting for the rest is a daunting and seemingly impossible task.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 16, 2015 at 6:07 AM

      • But wait a tick; does this mean you only spend every second second on photography? 😉


        January 16, 2015 at 6:43 AM

        • I’ll second your “second second” and raise you one.

          Let me also point out something hidden in plain sight: the time unit called the second gets its name from the fact that it’s the amount of time that results from the second equal subdivision of an hour. We call the first minúte subdivision of an hour a mínute.

          Steve Schwartzman

          January 16, 2015 at 6:55 AM

  6. I think David is correct about the state of hydration. I love these growth forms…so plump and spiny.

    Steve Gingold

    January 16, 2015 at 4:05 AM

    • I don’t think I’ve come across the phrase “plump and spiny” but when I did a Google search for it I got 25,000 hits. It seemed like most had to do with cacti. I know you’d have photo fun with these forms.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 16, 2015 at 6:11 AM

  7. Just saw some of these at the Desert Botanical Gardens in Arizona. They are majestic. The arm bud looks more like a barrel cacti…like it! Great photograph!

    • On my trip I, too, visited the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix (although I haven’t shown any pictures from there). Also like you, I noticed the resemblance of the saguaro’s arm bud to a barrel cactus, and I thought about the fact that the so-called bud is larger than an entire cactus of many other species.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 16, 2015 at 10:21 AM

  8. When I looked at this, my first thought was, “Button, button — who’s got the button?” I’d hate to try and tuck this into a buttonhole.

    It appears that the “little sprout” is a deeper green than the rest of the cactus. Do they grow more pale as they age?


    January 16, 2015 at 9:07 PM

    • I’ll have to invoke my “stranger in a strange land” defense here, by which I mean that I didn’t get to live with these cacti long enough to have a feel for what they do, what’s normal and what’s unusual. I know the bud looks darker than the main column here, but in one of the photographs I took there’s less of a difference, so it might have been more an effect of the lighting and the shadow that of anything intrinsic. I feel obliged to say “might have been” because I don’t have more to go on.

      If you ever did manage to get a button like this through a buttonhole, I have a feeling it would stay buttoned for a long, long time.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 16, 2015 at 9:58 PM

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