Saturday, October 4, 2014

NatGeo Presents: Papago Camp, Fall Edition

It is fall in southern Arizona.  Fall in southern Arizona is vastly different from most of the country.  In New Jersey, for instance, people are breaking out jeans, jackets, boots and lattes.  Leaves are changing color, and both the day and evening are cooling off.  In southern Arizona, people are still in summer wear, but enjoying the mid 80's, to low 90's during the day and nice cool nights.  Those of us touched by the allergy gods are suffering from the grasses the monsoons sprouted.

Allergies aside, fall will always be my favorite season.  At one point this week, I could see my breath in the cool night air. 

It was another week in the desert with no moon.  The moon is about half full, however, it would set just about the time I woke to start my "day".  I still played with my Nikon to figure out night shots: the right amount of light, the right amount of exposure and my fickle remote.  I took well over 1000 shots in about 4 days and narrowed it down to 38.  Then narrowed it down a further 7, so this post is a bit picture heavy. 

On the first day, I was tied up until first light.  This would be the "best" sunrise of the week. 

I sat on a rocky outcrop and watched the sun bathe the valley below.  A few deer were spooked by cattle and took off, but never ran into the sun so I didn't get good pictures of them.  I did enjoy the angle of the sun in the valley.

I hiked around a small mountainous area for a few hours and interrupted this little guy's breakfast.

The second night, I was stuck on a X, but made the best of it.

Ye Olde Border Fence

First light on the western mountains

Last time I was out here, I made good friends with the local birds of prey.  This week however, it was as if they spread the word that an annoying news van was in town and fled everytime I pulled up.  I follwed this guy from cactus to cactus until he made me very aware, vocally, how irritated he was and flew away.

The monsoons have also encouraged the growth of swaths of little yellow flowers.  They were heavy with dew this morning.

The following evening, I played with shutter times.  Here is a star trail after 2.5 minutes.

And zoomed in at about 1 minute. I loved the green on Moon Rock.

Just prior to the sun popping over the Baboquivari Mountains

Also just prior to the sun popping over the eastern mountains.
This scene changed dramatically with every passing minute.  Can you tell how excited I was?

A dead giant.

The little birds were slightly more cooperative than the large birds of prey.  These two little grayish blue guys were playing in this cactus like it was a ball pit.

I literally slammed on the brakes when I saw this.  A delicate little purple flower, wound around a painfully prickly cactus.

Then these jokers.  A small family called this rocky outcrop home and played, fought and socialized like I wasn't sitting 10 feet away.

On my last evening of picture exploration, I ventured onto the abandoned Papago Farms.

A few miles up the road, saguaros are thriving in large numbers.

They dwarf a baby barrel cactus.

After the sun rose, I scared off a large herd of "free range" cattle near the Farms.  I experimented and actually enjoy the effect of pointing my camera directly into the rising sun.

And just prior to packing away my camera for the week, I was extremely excited to finally see a Crested Caracara.  He was snacking on catapillars in the grass.  After I disturbed him, he flew to his buddy about 100 yards away.

I finished the week out by feeling pleased with the progress I've made in understanding my camera's capabilities.  While I'm very critical of my own work, I enjoyed every minute I had my camera in my hands. 

No comments:

Post a Comment