Archive for the 'desert' Category



Cacti Filling Frames

Okay, so this is maybe cheating a little bit because this is not a pic of the day, it is three pics of the day rolled into one. Sort of. I took these images seconds apart, without moving more than a step and a half turn. There is is a display of native cacti just below the Terrace Restaurant at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. The sun had gone behind a momentary cloud…just enough, and just long enough, to provide some filtration for these shots…a softening of the light that brought out the patterns. The first two were shot at about 180mm equivalent for framing. The third was taken from the same spot, but I zoomed up to almost 300mm equivalent to frame a slightly more distant clump. They form a kind of triptych study of the way light interacts with these spiny shapes.

Sony DSC H50 at 180mm and 300mm equivalents. F4, F3.5, F4 @ 1/125th, 1/60th, 1/40th @ ISO 100. Programmed auto.

Punch and Sharpen Landscape presets in Lightroom. >> Clarity and > Vibrance.

And here they are, actually arranged as a classical triptych panel.




Coronodo National Monument, AZ

Coronodo National Monument, AZ

Travel day today and no time to upload pics from yesterday’s short visit to Otawa NWR in Ohio, so we will visit Arizona: Coronodo National Monument to be precise. This amazing piece of landscape sits right on the border with Mexico and contains some of the wildest accessible landscape I have encounted. A road runs up and over the mountain pass and good trails shadow it on the south side. Wonderful views. This is looking north across the valley to a storm capping the southern ramparts of the Hauchuas.

Sony DSC H9 at 31mm equivalent. Added Clarity and Vibrance in the Presence panel. Sharpened.

From Cochise Co. Arizona.



Desert Botanical Gardens, Phoenix AZ

Exotic Catus Blooms

This one caused a lot of discussion over on Digital_Photography_Forum. Thanks all. It was orginally posted like this, as it looks on Facebook.

 Commenters felt it was unbalanced because of the flower on the right. I went back and cropped it tighter, eliminating the flower on the right all together. Then I applied a bit of Fill Light in Lightroom to bring up the background and brightend the image overall to bring up the blossums. 

F5.6 @ 1/800 @ ISO 100. Programed Auto. Taken at the full telephoto position of the Sony DSC H9’s zoom, equiv. to 465mm.




Coronado National Monument: AZ

Coronado National Monument, south of Sierra Vista AZ, right on the Mexican border, is one of those little, lightly visited gems of the National Park Service. We visited twice in our 7 days in Sierra Vista, and on both trips had the visitor’s center to ourselves. We saw no other hikers either day on extensive hikes on the wonderful trails. This is a view from the actual monument, a short steep climb up from a parking lot at the top of the long, well graded road that runs up and over a high pass. Ours was the only car in the parking lot. We are looking north west here, along the west side of the Huachucas, on the other side of the pass. Mexico is right behind us. 

It was a stormy day in the valleys around Sierra Vista, and there was a good deal of moisture…some haze…in the air, and that effected the shot. This kind of haze, however, is a natural part of the scene during the August monsoon in Arizona, and, to me, does not detract from the view.

Taken at the wide end of the zoom (31mm equiv.) of the Sony H9. F5.6 @ 1/640th @ ISO 80. Programed Auto.

In Lightroom, I did try to deal somewhat with the haze. Recovery was used, along with Clarity and Vibrance, and I reduced the luminosity of the blue color band (the most scattered by haze). Sharpen Landscape preset.

Some have criticized this shot as having no center of attention. What caught my eye, and still catches it, is the play of light and shadow over the foothills and mountains: the great dark mass of rock overhanging the slopes.

From the Cochise County Gallery.