The Southern part of Arizona is home to the Sonoran desert and the famous Saguaro cactus. These huge grandfathers of the desert are quite impressive, some of them standing more than 10 meters tall age more than 100 years. For me these are a symbol of the southwest USA, something burned into my memory as a child watching countless Western movies. In Arizona the Saguaros are protected by state law, it is actually illegal to harm them in any way.
The real trick for me as with the Joshua Trees is finding a few that I can isolate in a composition with a nice background. Nature is messy. Takes a lot of walking, fortunately I enjoy hiking. Just be very careful not to walk into these things, them needles are sharp! I walked into a low one as I was looking at clouds. Aw! And it is a cliché shot to shoot them silhouetted against the sunset, but it looks good! Here’s one from a sunset in the Saguaro National Park in Tucson, Arizona. This impressive cactus is at least 8 meters tall.
There is not much to shooting an image like this. Took hours to find the composition though. Then I sat down with a book and enjoyed the tranquility waiting for Mother Nature to turn on the light show. That she did! Your only worry is blowing out the red channel, be careful and underexpose about 2 stops. And don’t walk into these things!
I am presently in New Mexico, state of the Wide Open Spaces and on my way to White Sands desert. More to come.