Spring time poppies here in the Arizona desert this spring. We were blessed with lots of rain this year, so our desert floor came to life with lots of colors from our wildflowers. I found this patch of poppies up on a bank, so I was able to get down low and shoot up quite easily and capture the underside of the flowers with the sky in the background.
Saguaro cacti against a colorful Arizona sunset west of Phoenix, Arizona. I created this image by capturing three images f14, ISO 100, /1/500 second with one each + 2 EV and -2 EV, and creating an HDR merge in Lightroom. After merging, I continued editing with Topaz Studio using the precision contrast and detail adjustments along with HSL Color Toning adjustments. I love how Topaz brings out the details in an image.
Walking around the desert looking to make an interesting landscape image when you have grayed out skies, can be quite challenging. However, I did come home with this image worthy to work with. I felt the dead tree in the foreground along with the sun bleeding through the clouds worked great with the mood of this shot. I did an HDR merge in Lightroom then played around with tonal adjustments to come up with this. I also reduced saturation a little using the HSL panel. To finish it off, I used the radial filter to brighten up the dead tree a little bit along with using the adjustment brush to dodge and burn in other areas of the image. Photographed west of Phoenix, Arizona.
You may view a larger size version here on Flickr.
It is always nice, at least in my opinion to see the glow around cacti when the sun strikes the spines just right. The cactus in the foreground is a Cholla Cactus, which is one of the best, if not the best, in my area for catching that light. I stopped down my aperture to f20 to get the star effect and waited for the sun to get positioned just right for this image. I bumped us the warm tones with white balance in Lightroom. I also used Topaz Clarity to increase contrast and Topaz Detail to bring out a little bit more details. I also did a little some dodging and burning in Photoshop to lighten highlights and darken the shadows some.
35mm, f20, 1/50 sec, ISO 100.
You may see a larger version of this image here in Flickr.
A beautiful Arizona desert sunset, silhouettes, colors and all. Photographed west of Phoenix.
An evening scene in the Arizona desert near Phoenix photographed with the sunset behind me.
One good thing about photographing Cholla cacti is the glow they create when the sun strikes the spines just right. There are two types of Cholla in this scene, the Teddy Bear Cholla and Buckhorn Cholla.The two cacti in the foreground in the lower right are Teddy Bear Cholla then right behind them, there are Buckhorn Cholla.
A sunset west of Phoenix, Arizona. I really loved how the sun and clouds gave a diagonal line and an arch in the sky. That was not a Photoshop creation, but the way the sky looked that night.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17
Teddy Bear Cholla is often called “Jumping Cactus.” No they do not actually jump, but often they will make you think they do. They have segments which easily detach from the plant and if you brush up against one, they will attach its self to you. Once you get one of these segments stuck in you, the only way to remove it is with pliers or a couple of sticks, or something along that line.
Photographed west of Phoinix at the Skyline Regional Park, Buckeye, Arizona.
Photographed west of Phoenix one morning in the spring of this year. We had lots of wildflowers this year, one of the beautiful things here in Arizona when we get enough rain. The flower in the lower left is called “brittlebush” and the cactus is the iconic Saguaro. We also have creosote bush in the scene.