Trip to Arizona next summer...

Discussion in 'Geographic Location' started by ilfordrapid, Sep 19, 2005.

  1. ilfordrapid

    ilfordrapid Member

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    Can anyone tell me a good place to go in Arizona to shoot the Saguaro Cactus, and what time of year is best to catch them in full bloom? Is it true that the flowers close up by mid day to protect themselves from the sun?
    Thanks for any advice you can give me.
     
  2. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    First of all, I don't think that you want to be here photographing in the summer unless you are familiar with 105 to 115 degree temperatures.

    Second the cactus typically bloom in late March to early May. This past summer our temps began running consistantly above 100 by June.

    There are cactus located on I-17 from Flagstaff to Phoenix, from Showlow to Phoenix...and probably other places of which I am not aware.
     
  3. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    Saguaro National Monument in Tohono O'Odham country (Southern Arizona) is an excellent place to go:

    http://www.nps.gov/sagu/

    I think that the answers to many of your saguaro questions can be found here:

    http://www.nps.gov/sagu/Saguaros/saguaro.htm
     
  4. mark

    mark Member

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    COnsistently over 100 can start as early as late april some years. The best cactus are definately at the Saguaro National Monument east and west of Tucson. Not as many jack asses with shot guns blowing holes in them. The Saguaros up the slope of the catalinas on the left side of SR 77 glow in the evening light. SOme days I really miss living in Tucson.

    Tom's links are a great source.
     
  5. ilfordrapid

    ilfordrapid Member

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    I know about the heat I was there this summer shooting the Grand Canyon. I can handle it pretty well, because the humidity is not present. We had thought that the Saguaro grew all over the state, but we were wrong. Thanks for the information. From the canyon we were five hours drive from Tucson.
     
  6. roteague

    roteague Member

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    Actually, it doesn't grow all the way up to Flagstaff. I believe along the Interstate the furthest north it goes is around Black Canyon City - but, it has been 8 years since I lived there. I too, sometimes, miss Arizona - "Arizona Highways" helps.
     
  7. noseoil

    noseoil Member

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    Saguaros bloom from early May into early June, but this varies a bit with the spring rains and temperatures. Early heat (approaching 100's or into low 100's) means an early bloom. Keep track of daytime temps. This having been said, the earliest blooms appear at the lower elevations. Around Tucson there are good concentrations of Saguaros at Saguaro Monument West (in the Avra Valley past the Desert Museum), Saguaro Monument East (east side of town toward the Rincon Mountains, south end), The Reddington Pass Road into the Rincon Mountains, Sabino Canyon and Mt. Lemon Highway. Watch out for snakes.

    One problem is ground contour. For really good close shots, you need to be 10' tall, have a ladder, have a long lens or find a hillside where slants take you close to the tops. If using E6, put highlights at 1.5 stops above zone V. Use an 81b filter for cool sky tones. For B&W place specular highlights at zone VIII or IX. tim
     
  8. mark

    mark Member

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    The heat at the bottom of the grand canyon is like the heat in the valley. If you were on the rim you were not feeling it.
     
  9. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    Good advice from Mark and Noseoil.

    The bottom of the Grand Canyon is Sonoran Desert zone, the rims are alpine. In June, July and August the radiated heat from the desert pavement in the Sonora Desert can result in air temperatures that reach (or exceed) 140 degrees F. In addition, you won't see any saguaro blossoms during the summer - fruit, maybe.

    In general, the best time of year for saguaro blossoms is March or early April. However, the blooming time in a specific area will be determined by that area's macroclimate.

    Born there, been there, done that.
     
  10. ilfordrapid

    ilfordrapid Member

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    Point well taken Tom, I would plan to come early when the cacti are in bloom, and I would probably go to the Saguaro National Forest as recommended to me. I dress properly to protect from the sun and bring plenty of water and some salty snacks, and hike with a G.P.S. to keep track of my distance, and how long it will take to return. I don't attempt anything unreasonable. I want to live to shoot another day.