Picacho Peak State Park, Arizona USA by John Pedersen

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Picture Story

I was leading a photo workshop in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona to photograph the wildflowers in Spring. This was Spring 2020, right before the travel bans and shutdown thanks to the pandemic. After photographing the desert near Phoenix, we travelled south towards Tucson. Along the way, there is the Picacho Peak State Park, which is a true gem of desert parks. The peak dominates the park and gives photographers something to shoot more than just a flat desert with cactus. Being spring, the desert was alive with growth of all kinds and it is amazing to see a "desert" that is so green and lush.

We spent the afternoon photographing the various wildflowers in bloom in the park and then as the afternoon turned towards evening, we headed towards the west side of the park to photograph sunset. As we all found our spots to shoot the sunset, we waited as the sun slowly sank towards the horizon. As we waited, I looked back towards the East and the peak and noticed that the moon had risen over the peak. So, with the warm light of the setting sun hitting the landscape and the darker hues in the sky, the moon made an incredible addition to this composition. I quickly found a composition that arranged the cactus in a pleasing manner and created a few exposures before turning my attention back towards the setting sun.


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