Tucson Mountain Park, Arizona, USA by James Covello

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Picture Story

Southern Arizona is beautiful any time of year, but in the spring the palo verde trees bloom vibrant yellow. This year, the bloom came late, but strong. Cresting Gates Pass Road over the Tucson Mountains, driving west from the city, this wide expanse of densely spaced saguaro, cholla, and palo verde trees stretches into the hazy distance. This spot is only a few miles from my home, and I had come several times over the preceding week hoping to capture the vivid colors of the spectacle. I was not impressed by my previous efforts two days earlier, when I had been relentlessly accosted by small flies, an unusual pestilence in Tucson.

On this afternoon, though, the wind was howling up the slopes from the valley below and the flies were all blown well on their way to New Mexico. The wind-blown dust and pollen glowed in the late afternoon sun, which also nicely backlit the cholla and saguaro. Happily, this image succeeded where my previous efforts failed. And only a few days later the blossoms were gone.

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