Saguaro NP, Arizona, USA by Alan Stenback

Picture Story

Sunsets in the desert lands of American Southwest are undeniably spectacular. The shades of color that blanket the landscape are some of the richest on the planet. On a recent trip through Arizona, spending time capturing these magnificent sunsets was a top priority.

I had not travelled through Arizona in many years and knew scouting locations would take some time and patience. Fortunately, Saguaro National Park to the west of Tucson delivered awesome locations in droves to watch the sun dip below the horizon. Plus, nothing speaks more to the state of Arizona than fields of mighty saguaro cacti set against the backdrop of a desert mountain range.

Saguaro National Park spans with City of Tucson with both East and West Districts. We planned on spending Christmas Day traveling the Cactus Forest Loop in the East District during the day and then heading to the West in the evening.

That evening, with both camera systems in tow, my wife and I hiked into the park’s West District on one if its signature rocky desert trails to find solitude and space to work. With one camera system locked to a tripod shooting brackets and another in my hand, I worked the scene intently. The intensity of the light from the sun against the dimming desert landscape at sunset proved to be one of the most challenging environments I have photographed in to date.

The selected photo was captured handheld just as the sun reached the horizon out of frame to the right. A quick image in the making that ultimately ended up as one of my favorites from the evening. What a Christmas gift to experience!

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