Tag Archives: desert

Colorful Arizona – Featured Art Prints

This week I wanted to feature two prints that highlight the colors of Arizona. Both scenes say “Arizona” because of the subject matter, but I wanted to highlight the colorful beauty that is seen in each of these locations. I used a fauvism technique (if you follow my blog and/or work, you are familiar with my use of this technique to create a somewhat colorful and abstract look) to highlight the tones and hues that nature provides.

The first print is the Grand Canyon. I used a lookout point as a portion of the foreground to add dimension and drama to the scene. You get a true sense of depth looking from the foreground out across the canyon. The ribbons of color from the different layers of rock strata are accentuated via bright colors and the bold brush strokes.

The second print features a saguaro cactus native to the Sonoran Desert in Arizona and the state of Sonora in Mexico. The sky becomes the colorful focal point in this print as either a sunrise or sunset can light up the desert with bright, vidid colors. Again, the strong brush strokes accent the colorful sky with a typical desert setting in the foreground.

Thoughts?

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Goodbye to the Desert Saguaro – We Moved

 

We bid adieu to our friends the Saguaro cactus as we have moved back to Southern California. This time not San Diego, but Los Angeles. We have had a hard time saying goodbye to the many friends we have made in our 5 years here in the desert, but are excited for the next chapter in our life being near our granddaughter and her brother when he is born early next year.

Five years ago, my wife and I created a 5 year plan. We are very family oriented and didn’t want to be too far away from any of our three daughters and future grandchildren. At that time, since none of our girls were staying in San Diego, we wanted to give it 5 years to see where they  would land. Knowing all three, we knew they would stay somewhere in the western part of the US. Denver had been mentioned, Seattle and Los Angeles, so moving to Phoenix wasn’t that far off the map. Fast forward to today, all three are married (terrific son-in-laws). We have one daughter and her husband in Los Angeles and the other two and their husbands in Seattle area. Our Los Angeles family has our first grandchild with one on the way. At some point in the not too distant future we expect to see some grandchildren in Seattle, so time will tell where we ultimately end up.

I used this picture I created of the Saguaro Cactus as the poor thing has been the brunt of family jokes with my wife. They spook her out…she says they look like large people in the desert and at night it just creeps her out. I find them very unique and of course symbolic of the “Old West”. Knowing we have all given her a hard time about the large people in the desert, just couldn’t resist adding some eyes and mouth as they say “goodbye” to us!

Thoughts?

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Lakes, Mountains and Palm Trees – Two Featured Art Prints

The attached prints were created from views around one of the lakes in our community. Our community has two lakes (yes, man made…this is Arizona after all) with palm trees lining the shoreline of the park that goes entirely around both of them. The lakes sit side by side with a large wide sidewalk circling both and connecting to each other. Great walking, running or biking as the total distance around both is about 3 miles. What I love is from the northwest shore of both lakes is the view of the Estrella Mountains as depicted in these prints.

The first print is a small beach on what is called South Lake, with picnic pavilions and other amenities for kids and adults as part of the park encircling the lakes. The second art print is from the perspective of the northwest shore looking across the lake at the Estrella Mountains. The mountains are a very rugged and dramatic range creating the perfect background view. Thoughts?

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Storm Clouds Over The Estrella Mountains – Excerpts from a Photo Shoot

Earlier in September, the US Desert Southwest was the recipient of the remnants of a hurricane that moved over the Baja and then mainland Mexico and ultimately Arizona and New Mexico. It brought with it tropical moisture in the form of rain and for some parts of Arizona (Tucson area) lots of it. Here in the Phoenix area, we just received a very nice steady rain throughout one particular morning. As the rains subsided, I was headed out on an errand when I noticed the cloud play over our local mountains (the Estrella Mountains run across the southwestern portion of the Phoenix Metropolitan Area). I knew I had a photo opportunity brewing, so I drove towards the base of the mountains as far as I could without getting on dirt (mud) roads. I stopped at a couple of places and the attached five shots are from that morning.

This first shot gives you an idea of the cloud play along the mountain range. I love the look of these clouds of various shapes and sizes as they interact with the mountains at various elevations. The tallest mountain in this range is 4500 ft and is the sharp peak on the right. As I was taking back roads to get closer to the base of the mountains, it takes me into an agricultural area usually growing hay or cotton. This particular field looks like it was kept fallow for this growing season.

Storm Clouds 1

Storm Clouds 1


The second capture is closer to the base across another fallow field. I like the drama the contrast of the white and gray clouds create against the darkness of the actual mountains.

Storm Cloud 2

Storm Clouds 2


The last three attached pictures were taken when I got as close as I could without hiking or off-roading. I refer to these as this photographer’s artistic efforts in framing and composing shots.

Storm Clouds 3

Storm Clouds 3

Storm Clouds 4

Storm Clouds 4

Storm Clouds 5

Storm Clouds 5

Thoughts?

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The Saguaro Against The Sky – Featured Art Print

The Saguaro Against The Sky is a color photograph wall art print of a red rock outcropping and a Saguaro Cactus. The setting is Tortilla Flats located east of Phoenix, Arizona in the Superstition Mountains.

The usage of color photography as a wall art print lends itself to many different types of interior design, from contemporary to traditional. I think what dictates the look is the subject matter of the photograph and the manner in which it is framed and matted.


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Scorpion Gulch – Excerpts From a Photo Shoot

I posted excerpts from a photo shoot that I did with my daughter a couple of weeks ago (Heritage Square: Phoenix, Arizona). As a continuation of that day this photo shoot was another stop we made. Scorpion Gulch is in South Mountain Park at the base of the mountain. The minute we came across this, we knew we had to stop. Scorpion Gulch was a store built in 1936 by William Lunsford. He also built his residence right next door. The property is located on Central Ave and is the main road to go into South Mountain Park on your way up to the summit. The buildings were first listed on the historic preservation register in 1990. For more information, click the Scorpion Gulch link to Wikipedia.


The first shot is the store itself. Located to the right of this structure is the remnant of the residence, which is the focus of this photo shoot.

Scorpion Gulch Store built in 1936 at the base of South Mountain Park in Phoenix, Arizona. The owner also built his residence which is located to the right of the store. The property was listed in the Historical Preservation Registery in 1990.

Scorpion Gulch 1


The second picture is the front of the residence. Notice the castle-like turret on the left. I love the stonework and the attention he gave to detail.

Scorpion Gulch 2

Scorpion Gulch 2


The next capture gives you an idea of the condition of the walls and obviously there isn’t a roof any more.

Scorpion Gulch 3

Scorpion Gulch 3


The building stretches back and around giving you unique angles and views. The wall on the right (which is really not in the shot) is the back of the fireplace on the next shot.

Scorpion Gulch 4

Scorpion Gulch 4


I fell in love with this fireplace; can you believe the size of it and the detail of the rock? As an enclosed room, I am sure it was stunning.

Scorpion Gulch 5

Scorpion Gulch 5


This and the rest of the shots are taken from the same spot, just rotating to my right. I am back at the front of the property with the store on my immediate left and the front of the house on my immediate right. The house stretches back on the right and then juts out in front of us creating a large “L”. I would assume this was a type of courtyard in its day. If you look back through the window and doorway combo on the middle right, you can see the fireplace from the prior shot.

Scorpion Gulch 6

Scorpion Gulch 6


This picture gives you a better perspective of just how far back the house goes. On the extreme right of the frame is the base to the castle turret we saw in the capture of the front of the house.

Scorpion Gulch 7

Scorpion Gulch 7


This last one looks back towards the front of the house with a very large and old Saguaro Cactus framing the shot.

Scorpion Gulch 8

Scorpion Gulch 8

Thoughts?


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Hoover Dam – Excerpts From a Photoshoot

On the same trip where I captured a picture of the Colorado River down stream from Hoover Dam, I also took some shots of Hoover Dam and Lake Meade. Over the years we have toured the dam a number of times with our kids as they grew up. The last time we had been there was when the highway 93 bypass bridge was being built. It is located just downstream from the dam site and is a four lane highway with a pedestrian sidewalk arching across a very deep canyon. We were looking forward to the walk across and the view of the dam from that perspective. I have to admit, it is breathtaking, not only the view, but the height of the arched bridge. It was very crowded and the midpoint was next to impossible for a picture with the crowd of people wanting a shot from that perspective. I realized I would have to settle with a slightly off center composition, but was very pleased with the final result. Prior to the bridge opening, this shot could have only come from a helicopter. In the capture, you will notice the old highway 93 winding its way down to the dam. The road is now used to get to the parking areas for the tours. Also, halfway down that highway is a turn off that takes you to a lookout point where I took the photographs of Lake Meade. That view is very dramatic also, with the deep blue water and the colors of the desert mountains surrounding it. Thoughts?

Hoover Dam 1

Hoover Dam 1

Hoover Dam 2

Hoover Dam 2

Hoover Dam 3

Hoover Dam 3

 


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Colorado River Arizona/Nevada – Excerpt from A Photo Shoot

Colorado River Arizona

Colorado River Arizona

The attached photograph was captured while traveling in the desert along the Arizona/Nevada border. The border is formed by the Colorado River and in this location the river is down stream from the Hoover Dam on its way to becoming Lake Havasu where it forms the border between Arizona and California. This capture is from a viewpoint along the highway. As you drive through the rugged terrain formed over the millennium by the Colorado River, suddenly you catch a glimpse of a blue jewel far below as it winds its way southward. I just had to stop and grab a shot. Thoughts?

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Sedona Hike Just Before Rain – Excerpts from a Photo Shoot

Well over a year ago, I posted a blog of a photo shoot I had done in Sedona, Arizona. What I liked about that shoot was the beautiful red rock formations against a clear deep blue sky. We were in that area again at the beginning of this year with our youngest daughter and her fiancé. This time, it was cloudy and dreary and had started to rain. We all wanted to get some hiking in before the rains became too intense, so we chose a quick simple trail around Bell Rock. I have attached four of the shots from that shoot as the landscape takes on a different quality with that type of indirect lighting.

The first shot is with Bell Rock to my back, looking out over the valley towards Sedona. See how the rock formations look in that type of consistent lighting without the dramatic shadows and sunlight. I also like the texture the clouds give the sky as a backdrop.

Sedona HIke 1

Sedona Hike 1


 

The second capture is on the same trail with the plants in the foreground of the backside of Bell Rock. Again, notice the consistent lighting, which deepens the color of the terrain.

Sedona Hike 2

Sedona Hike 2


 

My third photograph is me almost laying down to get to the same level of the cactus. I love the contrast between the plants and the curved red rock. Without sharp sunlight or shadows, notice the veined patterns in the rock.

Sedona Hike 3

Sedona Hike 3


 

The final one shows more of the rock strata and colors against the green desert plants.

Sedona Hike 4

Sedona Hike 4

Thoughts?


 

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The Palo Verde Tree in Spring Bloom – Excerpts from a Photo Shoot

Since spring is officially here, I thought it would be appropriate to share some shots from a photo shoot I did today. In the desert, spring is well known for the various cacti coming into bloom. It is beautiful to see these succulents produce flowers that seem contra to the starkness of the plant itself. Along with the cacti blooming, the native trees also come into their own, with a full display of flowers covering the branches. One of the more popular trees is the Palo Verde. The trees are native to this region and naturally grow along the many “washes” that cross the desert landscape (washes are dry creek beds that fill very quickly with water during the summer monsoon rains). The trees grow quickly, have a light fern type of leaf and are known for their green trunks and branches. Over the last week, they have turned yards, parkways, and desert washes into dramatic splashes of bright yellow. I realize it isn’t the same as flowering crabs or cherry blossoms and other flowering spring plants, but in the desert, you take what you can get.

I have attached five shots from today of the Palo Verde trees and then added at the end four shots of succulent blooms I came across as I was capturing Palo Verdes.


 

Spring bloom

Palo Verde Spring Bloom One

Spring bloom

Palo Verde Spring Bloom Two

Spring bloom

Palo Verde Spring Bloom Three

Spring bloom

Palo Verde Spring Bloom Four

Spring bloom

Palo Verde Spring Bloom Five


 

Succulents in bloom I came across today:

Ocotillo

Spring bloom

Ocotillo Bloom

Purple Paddle

Spring bloom

Purple Paddle

Red Yucca

Spring bloom

Red Yucca

Last, but not least, a native shrub the Yellow Bell

Spring bloom

Yellow Bell

Thoughts?


 

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