Three days in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona. Yep. That would cure what ails me. Because, you see, I had a fever, and the only prescription was photographing some saguaro cactuses. I can’t explain it, but I was itching for months to go photograph some of these beautiful cactuses.
In my home state of California, saguaros are virtually nowhere to be found. That’s because saguaros are unique to the Sonoran desert – not the Mojave desert, not the Colorado desert, but the Sonoran desert. And where can a young California boy like myself go to find a piece of the Sonoran desert? Arizona. That’s where.
I love me some Arizona. It’s a wonderful state. I would argue that Arizona has some of the most unique natural features of any state in the country. You got the Grand Canyon, you got Horseshoe Bend, you got saguaros, you got birds rising from the ashes…it’s a hell of a state.
With my various cameras in tow – my Mamiya RZ67, my Shen-Hao TFC 617-A, my 4×5, my Mint Camera SLR 670-S, and even my Canon EOS 6D – I set out for a piece of public land southwest of Phoenix to stake my tent. I used maps as best I could to pick a good spot ahead of time, but when you’re venturing into BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land, you really don’t know what you’re getting into until you get there. My initial campsite picked out on a map didn’t pan out – just couldn’t get to it – so I explored a nearby area in hopes it would offer what I was looking for. Luckily it did.
Over the next 2 nights, I would put some Kodak Portra 160 through my Mama RZ67, some Ilford Delta 100 in my 4×5, shoot some panoramics on my 6×17, play with my polaroid SLR 670-S, and even do some fun light painting with my Canon 6D. The light painting ended up being my favorite part of the trip. I haven’t done much of it before, so I felt a little like a kid discovering candy for the first time.
Be sure to check out part 2 of this video series from the Sonoran Desert.