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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Desert hike photography

I took my new Canon 70D out on its first desert hike along the Encinas trail in the Saguaro National Park West on Saturday.  The trail hooks up with a wash and an old dirt road which was active in 1935 when several NGS markers were placed along its length - I used one of them as a location for a Geocache called "Surveying the Desert" that is still active as a virtual - that location was a goal since I haven't been out to that site in quite a few years, but the desert hike always presents lots of plant and sometimes animal life and this time of year is a good time to visit when the desert isn't so hot. Yesterday's blog posts IR in the Desert and Saguaro Moonrise has some more shots from later in this hike.

This multi-armed Saguaro cactus was nicely displayed against the shadowed hills in the distance.  This image was taken with my 75-300mm telephoto at 150mm focal length and an exposure of 1/250 seconds at f/6, ISO 100.  I used the Landscape scene mode while trying to figure out different parts of my new camera.

Did I mention that there are lots of Saguaro cacti and other plant life along this trail?  Not to mention lots of hills and mountains to serve as backdrops for the nearby scenery.  This area is in the northern parts of the Tucson Mountains west of Tucson.  This image was taken at 75mm focal length with an exposure of 1/350 seconds at f/11, ISO 200.

I mentioned that this desert area is a great place to see wildlife or at least the evidence of it.  Here is a deer hoof print in the sandy wash along the trail with the toe of my shoe for scale.  The exposure was 1/90 seconds at f/11 and ISO 200 with my telephoto lens at 75mm focal length.

The "bones" of a dead Saguaro are surprisingly photogenic.  Sad to see the remains of one of these magestic and long-lived desert plants but with at least a few arms, it must have lived a fairly long life, almost certainly more than 100 years.  This image was taken at 135mm focal length with an exposure of 1/500 seconds at f/8, ISO 200.

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