12Sept21 photos: more cactus! (SNP)

A third trip to Saguaro National Park! These day trips have been a lot of fun. A little bit special because they’re on a weekday. Interesting because we see subtle changes in the park week to week.

The first week, we saw unexpected running water, tadpoles, a turkey vulture, and many butterflies.

The second week, we saw toads, tadpoles with legs, even more butterflies, and many caterpillars.

This week, we didn’t see a lot of any critters except flies at lunchtime, but we got to talk to Ranger Freddy. He does an Instagram video for the park every Friday, and Rocket Kid was very excited to meet and talk to him. Rocket Kid also became a Junior Ranger for Saguaro National Park while we were there, and Ranger Freddy swore him in. Very exciting!

I was excited to capture these three shots of a butterfly and a very large barrel cactus.

I was also excited to capture this one, even though it’s a bit dark.

My draw to photograph dead or nearly dead plants continues. The top right saguaro looked to me like an elephant. We passed it on an out-and-back hike, and on the way back, Climbing Daddy humored me by agreeing that it looked like an elephant.

In the bottom row, shooting through the two ocotillo—the living one on the left of the shot and the not-looking-good one on right and center of the shot—made for an interesting shot. The plant on the bottom right was a fair size and completely brown and dried out … except for the one red fruit on the very top tip.

The flower is from a separate plant. I also love how the longer, red spines on the cactus are ribbed and look like curling ribbon.

I loved the overlap of the ocotillo and the saguaro here. I can’t imagine getting tired of these plants.

Was happy there were a few clouds. They make these shots so much more interesting. None overhead for shade, though.

The elephant cactus hike took us up a small hill where we had a lovely view out over the saguaro field. Shots of the field turned out to be not very interesting because the saguaros were hard to make out, but this cactus, a cholla, posed nicely.

We didn’t see as many flowers as we have the last two weeks, but these few were lovely.

These red fruits are edible, but it turns out that the fruits from one of the cactus causes GI issues. I don’t remember which cactus, so I will continue to endeavor not to be stranded in the desert. (Stranded in the desert with GI issues would be worse.)

This last photo I’m excited about because I did a lot of post-processing on it. I took this shot with the cactus in focus, and I took it again with the background in focus, and I blended the two in Photoshop. It wasn’t simple, but I’m happy with how it turned out.

There were two other shots that I did a small amount of editing to, but it was minor. Taking a branch or other small thing out of the way. I’m happy to be able to take good shots, and I’m happy to be able to polish up some of them to make them better.

I think if we go back to the park this week, it’ll be to the other side. More elevation, so different flora. Not as many saguaros. I have some photos from the garden from a couple of weeks ago, too, but I have been sharing the cacti instead.

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