Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘Arizona

From the cliffs of Montezuma

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Let’s get two things straight about Montezuma Castle: Montezuma, the Aztec emperor, had nothing to do with it, and it’s not a castle. No, this cliff in northern Arizona shelters the 600-year-old remains of a cliff dwelling created by a people called the Sinagua. And let’s get a third thing straight: that wasn’t their name. No, Sinagua was a name created in 1939 from the Spanish words sin ‘without’ and agua ‘water,’ based on the scarcity of flowing water in the region.

The prominent plants in the foreground are four-wing saltbushes, Atriplex canescens. Here’s a closer look at some saltbushes bordering the parking lot:

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If you want an even closer look, you can check out a post about our 2014 trip to the Southwest.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 18, 2017 at 5:01 AM

Another look at the Grand Canyon

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Here’s a look back from October 19th of last year at trees on the rim of the Grand Canyon. In harsh climates, dead limbs often adjoin living ones.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 16, 2017 at 4:59 AM

Another look at rock formations in Sedona

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I’m traveling far from home for a month or so, during which time there’ll understandably be only sporadic posts. You’re welcome to comment but it might take me a while to reply.

Here’s a look back at some of the famous red rocks of Sedona (Arizona) as we saw them on October 20th last year.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 6, 2017 at 5:06 AM

Chuckwalla

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Like me, you probably didn’t know that there’s a lizard called a chuckwalla (Sauromalus spp.). This picture from the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum on November 7th of last year shows that there is.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 2, 2017 at 4:56 AM

Tafoni

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From my big Southwest tour I learned the geological term tafoni, a plural noun that refers to “small, rounded, smooth-edged openings in a rock surface, most often found in arid or semi-arid deserts. They can occur in clusters looking much like a sponge and are nearly always on a vertical or inclined face protected from surface runoff.” Such formations have also been called “honeycomb weathering” and “swiss-cheese rock.” The example above is from Arizona’s Wupatki National Monument on October 21st of last year.

The formation shown below from Nevada’s Valley of Fire State Park on October 24th represents a different sort of tafoni that you can imagine inspiring the practitioners of Art Nouveau.

To learn more about tafoni and see many more instances, check out Kuriositas or Wikipedia.

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© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 31, 2017 at 5:00 AM

Cactus wren nest in cholla cactus

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On November 8th of 2016 in the eastern section of Tucson’s Saguaro National Park I saw what I take to be the nest of a cactus wren, Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus. The cactus is either a staghorn cholla, Cylindropuntia versicolor, or a buckhorn cholla, Cylindropuntia acanthocarpa.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 27, 2017 at 4:56 AM

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Wupatki National Monument

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Continuing north in Arizona from Sunset Crater on October 21, 2016, we soon came to Wupatki National Monument, which we, like most people, visited for its Indian ruins. As a photographer, I appreciated the place for its desert landscapes as well.

On a horizontal rock surface at the site I found a feature that could pass as the inspiration for Rorschach inkblots. What does it say of me if I see this as the fossil of a spiny fish? Chime in if you’d like to say how you see it.

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© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 25, 2017 at 4:57 AM

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