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Having spent the weekend in town for my niece's wedding in November 2018, I decided to extend the trip a few days and spend some time in Saguaro National Park. Trading the winter weather in the Midwest for some warm desert sun was a welcome change. I researched photo locations in Saguaro and the Javelina Rocks area was cited as a good spot for sunsets. It was noted as a very popular spot for engagement photos so while I was expecting to dodge a few happy couples, only one was there at the time (fortunately they were posing in a spot well behind me).
I welcomed the fact that that Saguaro has no "classic" spot as can be found in some other National Parks where, while beautiful, thousands of photographers could take the exact same shot. I had to work the location to find my subjects and come up with something original. This composition caught my eye with the two cacti rising as a vertical element amidst the slanting lines of the terrain. The sun would be setting at a 90 degree angle to this composition so I climbed onto a nearby rock, set up my tripod, and waited for the sun to go down. The layers of light-shadow-light on the landscape became more pronounced as the sun sank to the horizon. The changing light emphasized the contrast of the warmly lit cacti against the darker rock behind and then to have the whole scene framed by the well lit hill in the background and the rock and brush plants in the foreground was the clincher. While deserts are usually thought of as barren wastelands of sand, Saguaro is anything but. The variety of lines, textures, plant, and animal life make it a photographer's smorgasbord.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor