Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘Arizona

More cacti near Tucson

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On our way out of Tucson four years ago today we stopped for a guided desert walk in the eastern section of Saguaro National Park. That’s where we first heard about the staghorn cholla cactus, Cylindropuntia versicolor. The second picture offers a closer look at the fruit of this species.

We also saw two other cacti, a fishhook barrel (Ferocactus wislizenii) and a saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea):

And here’s a relevant quotation for today: “Few countries in the world present so marvellous a variety of scenic features as does Arizona, the Wonderland…. Drop upon it where you will, it is wondrous, marvellous, astounding, even thrilling.” — George Wharton James in Arizona, the Wonderland, 1917.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 8, 2020 at 4:40 AM

Posted in nature photography

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Cacti at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

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Four years ago today we spent time at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson. Above is a mature teddy bear cholla cactus, Cylindropuntia bigelovii; the second picture gives you a closer look at a younger one.

To top things off, below is a fasciated saguaro, Carnegiea gigantea.
You might say those cacti do everything in a big way.

And here’s a relevant quotation for today: “Take the rose—most people think it very beautiful: I don’t care for it at all. I prefer the cactus, for the simple reason that it has a more interesting personality. It has wonderfully adapted itself to its surroundings! It is the best illustration of the theory of evolution in plant life.” — Charles Proteus Steinmetz.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 7, 2020 at 4:41 AM

Slide Rock State Park

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Oak Creek Canyon

On this date in 2016 we spent a few hours in Slide Rock State Park near Sedona, Arizona.

A strangely deformed alligator juniper (Juniperus deppeana)

Overwhelmed by so many other scenic places on that trip, I never showed any of the Slide Rock pictures.

How about those shadows?

After four years, finally you get to see a few of those views.

Oak Creek’s rocks and water came in for a lot of attention.

And here’s a question rather than a quotation: how often do you renew your poetic license?

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 20, 2020 at 4:40 AM

Apache plume in northern Arizona

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The flowers of Apache plume (Fallugia paradoxa) reveal the plant’s membership in the rose family.

In its late stage, Apache plume is quite similar to the prairie smoke (Geum triflorum, likewise in the rose family) that I observed in Illinois four years ago, and also to the old man’s beard (Clematis drummondii, in a different botanical family) that you’ve so often seen from central Texas.

Because the closest to Austin that Apache plume grows is far west Texas, I don’t often get the chance to photograph this species, so when I came across a few of these plants in northern Arizona four years ago today, I wasn’t about to pass up my chance to portray them.

Oh yeah, at the same site there was also a minor attraction that I took a few pictures of.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 19, 2020 at 3:49 AM

Paloverde by dusk and day

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Four years ago this evening, dusk was approaching by the time we arrived in Phoenix’s South Mountain Park, which is the largest municipal park in the United States. As sunlight faded, I used flash to photograph a paloverde tree (Parkinsonia microphylla or florida; there are two local species, and I don’t know which this was). The flash brought out the greenness of the tree’s branches—in fact palo verde means ‘green branch’ in Spanish. The next morning, on our way out of Phoenix, we stopped at South Mountain Park again. It seems that when paloverde branches die, they tend to turn orange.

We learned that paloverdes sometimes act as “incubators” for saguaros (Carnegiea gigantea), giving some degree of protection to the young ones until they get established.

Likewise for barrel cacti.

Did you know that our use of cactus to designate plants like these last two resulted from a mistake? It did. The Latin word cactus, from Greek kaktos, referred to a type of artichoke. Linnaeus, the great 18th-century scientific namer of species, understandably yet mistakenly thought that the spiny plants we now call cacti were akin to the prickly artichoke.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

 

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 17, 2020 at 3:40 AM

Life and death in Saguaro National Park

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Behold a fishhook barrel cactus (Ferocactus wislizenii) in the eastern sector of Tucson’s Saguaro National Park as we saw it two years ago today:

Hardy as desert plants are, they all eventually meet their demise. Here’s what a barrel cactus look like then:

Oh, all right, it was Saguaro National Park, so I guess I’ll have to show you a saguaro cactus (Carnegiea gigantea). This one had two particularly enfolding “arms”:

And here are the stately remains of a saguaro with upraised “arms”:

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 8, 2018 at 4:49 AM

Cholla cactus near sundown

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How about this backlit cholla cactus in Tucson Mountain Park near sundown two years ago today?

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 7, 2018 at 5:01 AM

Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument

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Two years ago today we stopped at Arizona’s Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, which we’d never heard of it till we were in the area.

The oozing, highly textured trunk of an aspen tree (Populus tremuloides) caught my attention there.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 21, 2018 at 10:29 AM

Two views of the Grand Canyon

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Here are two pictures of the Grand Canyon, one for each of the years since our visit on this date in 2016.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 19, 2018 at 5:15 PM

Arizona sycamore

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arizona-sycamore-tree-2527

While visiting Montezuma Castle on October 18th last year I learned that there’s such a thing as an Arizona sycamore tree, Platanus wrightii. Like the better-known American sycamore, Platanus occidentalis, this one has bark that peels to reveal trunk and branches that shine white in the light of the sun, especially from a distance. A closer look, like the one below, reveals patterns and details.

arizona-sycamore-trunk-and-shadows-2540

Click to enlarge.


I’m still halfway around the world. You’re welcome to comment but I may be slow to reply. I’m sorry I also haven’t been able to keep up with your blogs.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 20, 2017 at 5:12 AM

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