Saguaros at Sunset

I bumped into my neighbors tonight as I went out for my evening walk.

saguaros-at-sunset-008-good-friends-and-neighbors
saguaros-at-sunset-009-good-friends-and-neighborsThe light was wonderful and I lagged behind as I tried to photograph the saguaros.   Enjoy the gallery below.

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Full Moon Hike at Spur Cross

It was my first time participating in the monthly Full Moon Hike at Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area.  At 7:00 PM tonight we gathered around ranger Kevin as he explained the path we would be hiking in the moonlight.  The weather was finally a bit cooler – in the high 70’s.

I did not bring my tripod.

I should have brought my tripod.

Here’s a gallery of photos – because they actually capture a bit of what it felt like to be among the giant saguaros – in the moonlight – surrounded by the stillness of the desert.

Please forgive the quality.  Enjoy the experience.

 

And, of course, leaving the park, this native Creeker was not happy to be disturbed.

Arizona Diamondback at Spur Cross

Since this is a monthly event, you can like Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area facebook page to stay in the loop.

If you enjoy this blog, you can also like the Love Cave Creek AZ page on facebook where I post photos from the Sonoran Desert.

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Phew, that was close

Tonight, I was saved by my daughter from stepping on a baby rattlesnake.  To give you perspective, it could have fit in the palm of my hand and I have small hands.

We were returning from walking the dog, and the sunset was breathtaking.

cc-sunset-075This time of year, I like to pick the tender pods off the Palo Verde trees and eat the seeds inside.  They are waxy but I like them.  I was distracted in search of a young tender pod in a tree just off the side of the road when she screamed:

“MOM. STOP. SNAKE. STEP BACK.”

In staccato!

“I don’t see it.” I said, stepping back while squinting trying to find the snake.

“Theeeeeeeeeere” she pointed annoyed with me.

I still couldn’t see it.  It really took me a while to spot it.  The light was fading and the snake  was all curled up and blended so well with the ground.

“Phew, that was close.  I didn’t see it.”

“Mom, you really should wear your glasses.  I worry about you.”

I was careful the rest of the way.  Stepping mindfully and forgetting about the Palo Verde pods.  But the scare was not enough for me… I needed a photo.  So after we got back home, I put on my glasses, grabbed my camera and tripod, left the disappointed dog home, and went back for some pictures (of the snake and the sunset).

Click on the images to enlarge them.  In the last one, you can see Venus.

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Evening Walk in Cave Creek

The blooms on the Saguaros have begun to open – a bit early it seems – which makes me wonder about global warming.

For the past week, I’ve been on the lookout for one that is positioned where the blooms would be at eye level so that I can take closeups.  This is easier said than done.

Tonight, I found this one that is on my neighbor’s property in the desert below his driveway.

Saguaro arm blooms not yet open

I had to stand on the wall at the edge of the driveway to manage this photo and still, I found that I was two feet too short.  I want to be able to look down into the center of the flowers when they open.

Oh well, at least the angle is such that the setting sun actually lights the blooms.

Continuing on the walk, we interrupted some coyotes that were out on an evening hunt.  Thankfully, the dog did not decide to chase them.

Cave Creek Coyotes
They continued left while we turned right.

Coyotes Hunting

 The dog was more interested in the raven that was flying above us making a raucous.

Raven

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Monsoon Skies

It’s monsoon season in the desert; awesome sunsets, thunder and lighting, and if we’re lucky, rain!

You can see the rain coming down in the center of the picture above.  But it was only that one spot…

A few feet further down the road, the skies were cloudy but brighter.

And, less than a minute later, a magical orange glow.  Panning right, (facing south) you can see Black Mountain in the distance…

and in the North West, Elephant Bute after sunset.

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Great Horned Owls Update and Glorious Sunset

Tonight, the two Great Horned Owl youngsters were nestled in a tree together. The sun was setting and the lighting was not ideal but I got to see something that I didn’t expect. In the photo, if you look closely, the owl in the foreground is spitting out an owl pellet.

It was like watching my cat struggle to bring up a fur ball.

It has been amazing watching the baby owls grow into independence.

While photographing them, I feel like I have learned a lot about lighting, photography, and of course owls.

I have mostly used my 55-200mm zoom lens.  Tonight, I noticed that the owl in front has it’s left eye swollen shut.  Hopefully, it’s a minor irritation that will take care of itself.

I plan to monitor the situation…

With the monsoons coming, the sunsets are getting better and better.  Here’s one of my favorite shots from tonight.

I love Arizona sunsets.  No matter how many I’ve seen, they still inspire me.  They demand that I stop whatever it is I’m doing and remind me to take the time to breathe.

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Flowers of the wash

The owls were too far to photograph tonight.  The light was good and so I tried to capture some of what is still in bloom despite the heat… Mesquite, Creosote, Ironwood and Desert Broom…

Hover over the photo to see the plant name.

As a parting gift, the owl perched atop a saguaro in the distance.

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