A sunset across the Arizona desert with Saguaro cactus.

Desert Sentinels of the Arizona Desert

A sunset across the Arizona desert with Saguaro cactus.

Click the pic to supersize

The “old men” of the Arizona desert standing guard as the sun sets.

I never grow tired of the sunsets we have here in the valley of the sun.  They are truly something to behold.  As I was out stomping through the Arizona desert I noticed these two gentle giants gave me a perfect opportunity for a frame.  I set up a few feet behind them and waited for the sun to slip into the perfect spot.  You will often hear landscape photogs say they stalk their image until it is found.  While I agree this is true there are also times when you let the image come to you.  This was the case for this shot.  Simply looking around and there it was.   Perhaps it stalked me?

I am amazed how much the desert has grown on me.   When we first moved here 13 years ago from the mid-west I thought we had moved to Mars.  So much brown and very little green.  But over time I have come to truly appreciate the beauty of the desert.  Sure you still have cactus, rattlesnakes, scorpions and tarantulas but they just keep it interesting. 🙂

This image was taken out at Lost Dutchman State park a few months back.  A favorite haunt of mine for sure.  The park offers hiking trails, a stunning view of the Superstition Mountains, and a chance to look to the west for some incredible sunsets.

In case you were wandering about the nickname for the Saguaro cactus, they do not grow their first arm until around 70 years of age, hence the “old man of the desert”.  I like to finish out with a poem by Terri Turrell titled Saguaro Cacti:

The white hot desert sun
sits straight up in the sky
bleaching bones and
mountain ridges
barren to the eye
distant saguaro cacti
seem to surf the waves of heat
while sagebrush protest weakly
die of sunstroke at their feet
oasis shimmer promises
that tempt the parched dry land
reflections of a palm grove
woven in these grains of sand
the white hot desert sun still
sitting straight up in the sky
scorched saguaro cacti
simmer ‘neath Sol’s
searing eye

Until next time…

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  1. Wow this really is a killer shot. The sky rocks. I love how you composed the shot to get the sun just peaking through the side of the cactus.

  2. Stunning! Great shot Chris. I love the position of the sun and and the surrounding clouds. Nicely done!

  3. Truly a great capture!

    I’ve never been to Arizona but looking at the images posted by you and others in the area, I have a desire to someday make a trip there.

    Thanks for this nice post.

  4. Chris, I grew up in the Nevada desert. People who have not experienced the glory of the desert think I am crazy when I tell them how incredibly beautiful the desert is and they do not understand when I tell them the desert blooms, but it does! You do such a great job capturing the beauty in your shots.

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