Category Archives: Desert

Sunset Balloons


You cant see them very well off in the distance but they are there. This was my forst time-lapse ever so not very good.



Arizona Sunset Timelapse

Crested Saguaro

I was inspired by Joel Grimes Desert series’ and wanted to try to photograph this awesome crested saguaro with some light play.

First why is a crested saguaro so amazing? The giant Saguaro cactus of Arizona is known for one peculiarity: about 1 in 200,000 cacti is of the “crested” form, rather than the common tall armed form. The crested form usually begins growing like a regular saguaro, but then bulbs and branches in sort of a fan-shaped pattern. These saguaros are valued, and due to their rarity, the question arises of the possible environmental loss if even one of their number is destroyed.

I loaded up camera, lenes, tripod,2 lightstands,2 580exII and placed everyhting on my back as I set out in the hot desert sun to try and find the fabled crested saguaro. I was doing a meet up with some photographers at  a local watering hole and the doorman gave me a tip on the sly as to where this majestic beast lay. Of course that was after a few beers and a few months back.

I hiked about a 1/2 mile in the McDowell Mountain preserve and low and behold I saw a odd looking cactus off in the distance by some rocks. The only issue is I had to bivouac across undisturbed desert to get to it and all I thought about was how many rattle snakes I would meet on the way. Luckily they must have still been coming out of their winter slumber as I didn’t see any.

Crested Saguaro

I reached the cactus and set up my lights. I was shooting in high speed synch. Even though the sun was in the mid to late afternoon it was still bright, and I hadn’t doubled up my speed-lights to try and over power the sun. In that case I really had to shut the sun out as much as possible and that brought me past my normal synch speed of 1/250.

I set my speed lights to camera left and t camera right and triggered them with pocket wizards. So there I was in the middle of the desert with light gear, and then I realized the one thing I forgot to pack-water.

Needless to say it was a long and thirsty walk back, but I got my crested. Nuff Said.

Camera Settings:

Shutter: 1/1600


Iso 200

Lens: 10-22mm