Who knew it could rain so much in the desert?
I like to be right inside the parks, on location and ready to go at a moment’s notice, for at least a few days at each park we visit. Photography at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Arizona is a photographer’s dream — even on blue sky days like we had on our first visit.
We camped on free BLM land for a few days and then moved to Twin Peaks Campground inside the park. As soon as we got there, it started to rain and it rained for three days straight.
But staying inside the park still paid off because when the rain finally decided to stop and the clouds began to break up, I was ready.
We’ve been on most of the scenic drives and trails in the park when we visited last time, so on this day we decided to just wander off into the desert somewhat randomly. We drove only a short distance from Twin Peaks Campground to the Tillotson Peak Wayside and then just started walking.
I love how the light leaked through the blanket of clouds and dappled the landscape.
At one point it looked like we might get some thunderstorms with the dark dramatic clouds that were high in the sky, but the light seeped through and the soft rays painted the cacti with a golden glow.
I positioned myself behind a Chain Fruit Cholla and the backlight made all the little spines glow.
And when I turned around the same light was front light on some nearby Saguaros.
It did indeed start raining, and so we quickly hiked back the truck before the downpour and headed back to the campground. But I couldn’t leave the dramatic clouds! Right across the campground, at the entrance to Ajo Mountain Drive, we parked and waited to see what would happen. I think it was worth the wait!
All of these photos were made with my Sony NEX6. One of the things I really like about that camera is how you can easily make panoramas. In places like this, a panorama helps to convey just how lush and dense the desert is in this part of the world.
It looks small on the blog though, so please click on the panorama image above to enjoy a larger version.