31 Oct

I just returned from two weeks of business travel that took me across the nation, stopping in Denver, Tucson and Washington, DC. Sadly I could not take my cameras with me due to all the limitations that air travel nowadays presents and to the fact that I needed to travel light, as I was constantly checking in and out of hotels. I did however have my trusty iPhone 4 with me, which is proving itself as quite a nice camera substitute for scouting locations. With the addition of a few apps (my favorite is AutoStitch) the iPhone can create some nice images, and has the advantage of always being clipped to my belt!

Having arrived in Tucson a couple of hours before sunset i took the opportunity to visit one of my favorite spots, the Saguaro National park. In particular, there is a short hike called Valley View Overlook trail in the west district that I particularly enjoy. It is a short easy hike (about 1 mile) that takes you to a great overlook. Along the trail there is a variety of desert vegetation, including many different cacti. Of course, the Saguaro are the most impressive ones, but there is also a great variety of Cholla, Barrel and others. Palo Verde, Mesquite and other bushes also dot the scenery.

Below is a photo of a teddy bear cholla with a Palo Verde in the background that is turning colors for the fall… I never thought I would see colors in the Sonoran Desert! Not like the ones in Michigan, but pretty nevertheless!

Arizona Fall Colors

A Palo Verde going Orange!

The picture was taken approximately one hour before sunset, near the end of the Valley View Overlook trail. It is straight from the iPhone, with minimal color balance adjustments.

After sitting on a bench at the end of the trail and taking in the peace and quiet, I headed back to my rental car. It does pay to look where one is stepping while meandering in the desert… In the middle of the trail, soaking up the last rays of the sun, I encountered this little fellow.

Rattler

A small rattle snake sharing my path

He was kind of shy and did not want to pose much… I had to get pretty close to frame him with the iPhone (he was about 2 feet long), and he let me know what he thought of it by shaking his rattle and slithering away!

Overall another great experience in a beautiful part of the country.

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