Tuesday, 22 March 2011


On a day in mid-March, when a mixture of soggy snow, thick mud and rain (again) was making me grumpy, the YD phoned and said " I need sun!"  It was quickly agreed that we both needed a break and after a short negotiation we decided on Arizona as the best bet for warmth and dry.  The fact that a drain is pouring water into the cactus bed outside my window, here in Tucson, does not make our destination  a mistake.  We arrived Wednesday night last week and have had glorious sun and warm dry weather right up till this afternoon.  If it doesn't clear tomorrow, we have all of indoor Tucson to play in.
We opted for sunny and scenic and have spent the last five days on a small ranch a bit west and south of Chiricachua National Monument, of which more below.  What we got as a bonus was the biggest full moon to appear in some years, and perfect dry air through which to admire it.  This shot is one night before full.

210/365   Also one night before full.  I have lots of tries for fully full night, but it was full dark and I only had a monopod with me, so none of what I took is much good.  There is one funny one where the moon is falling out of the sky because I shifted the camera too soon.  I may put it up later in a post entitled 'oops'.

211/365.  The ranch is also a bird oasis.  There is a small pond and enough water from the Turkey Creek to run fountains and bird baths.  There is also enough water for a few full sized trees, and the small birds congregate in large numbers, sparrows, finches, doves, red-wing blackbirds and this guy, that I think is a waxwing. 

212/365  This shot is one of the fountains, taken at close range and cropped. 

213/365  The edge of the pond where Turkey Creek is dammed.  The water is very low because the region has not had any winter rains this year.  There is a flock of cranky tame geese stamping around in the dusty verges, grumbling.

214/365  The YD said she was not sure what this was supposed to be, but I figured it was an easy call.  Bird on crossed wires.  No?  You had better appreciate this, because I  had to stomp through a lot of dry and possibly rattlesnake concealing grass to get the angle right.

215/365  This is the YD surveying the rock formations inside Chiricachua National Monument.  We took a lot of pictures up here - the YD on a long solo hike one day and, after she complained that she was not getting the colour correctly, both of us with my trusty D90 and a lot of different settings.  The path she made me walk to get to this viewpoint filled me with terror.  And frustration when YD and other tourists just strolled along on the parts where my acrophbia was worst.

216/365  The rock formations have eroded from the rock formed by an ancient vocano's eruption and you can see all sorts of forms and faces in them.

This is me clutching two hiking poles and enjoying a short patch of wide trail, in between places where the poor YD had to haul me up and down and carry the camera.

217/365  Sunset across the plain between the Dragoon and Chiracahua Mountain ranges.  A nice border patrol guy stopped to see if we were okay as we took these.

218/365  The view out of our casa window at the ranch.  This place is a birders' and hikers' paradise - they also have trail bikes, mountain bikes and horses.  And friendly chickens.  Highly recommended.

 This is the YD's photo.  Sun and sky and most improbably mustard-coloured grass.  Or maybe lemon-coloured.  I am not sure we did it justice although we tried.
I have more tries at the grass, and a whole day's worth of photos yet to download, but that is going to have to be a new post, because I am getting po-ed with the laptop.


  1. Continue to have a blast as it's not so nice here this week. We did have some good days last week and on the weekend, but we were not amused by snow yesterday.

  2. Sounds like a great trip! The scenery looks so striking. And you got some really great shots. I particularly like that dome of water, and the shot through the window. I also do indeed appreciate your bird on crossed wires--I like the way you manipulated the angle to achieve the affect.

  3. *effect. Not affect. Don't you hate it when you notice I typo the moment you submit it?

  4. what a wonderful place for a break from winter. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Sounds like you two are having fun! great pics, I especially love 'yd's' grass shot - love the texture! :)

  6. How lovely! Keep scouting those toasty retirement locations for me, Mary.

  7. Oh what a fantastic break with great photos to show for it. I especially appreciate the effort you went to to get the shot of the bird on the wire.