Ocotillo with Crescent Moon

Our recent trip to Arizona included a visit to Peralta Trail again, but this time we arrived at the trailhead too late for landscape shots at that spot. Coming from the midwest, I sometimes forget that in the mountains, the sun “sets” before it officially sets; that is, if there’s a moutain between you and the sun, you’ll be in shadow long before the sunset.

So, we headed back down the long gravel road that leads to the trail and I looked for interesting plants and flowers. Many of the cacti were flowering, but the wind was strong so I knew macro work was going to be a challenge. I still managed to get a few portraits of some cacti…

Flowering Cactus, Arizona
Flowering Cactus, Arizona | Nikon D800 @ 1/8 sec, ISO 1250 | Nikkor 16-35 VR @ 31mm, f/16

As the sun dipped below the horizon I realized that it was time to look for an interesting silhouette. I had envisioned an ocotillo in this situation, so I started looking for specimens that would work. The challenge was finding one that was aesthetically pleasing but also had a “clean” background, without distracting elements.

Ocotillo with Crescent Moon
Ocotillo with Crescent Moon, Arizona | Nikon D800 @ 1/50 sec, ISO 2000 | Nikkor 16-35 VR @ 17mm, f/8

The crescent moon peeking through the branches was just a bonus!

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