Winter in the Desert - 2013 travel blog

tri color cactus

fish hook thorns

fuzzy cactus

red flowers

red pad

art and nature

bee & bud

cactus pecker

Chihuly glass cactus


polka dots

poofy cacctus


Today's photography lesson was on close-up macro photography. To practice what we had learned we went to the Desert Botanical Museum, a magnificent outdoor space that has been cultivating and raising cactus varieties that thrive here and in northern Mexico since 1938. Generally this area has two rainy periods and the plants that flourish under these conditions have adjusted accordingly. The museum was full of outdoor art and a special glass cactus designed by Dale Chihuly graced the entrance. The combination of art and nature was inspiring.

We got there shortly after it opened which gave us a good chance to take pictures without interference, but as the day went on the museum got quite full. School children followed special lesson plans and docents lead around many small groups. As they passed by we couldn't help but learn interesting bits about the strange and wonderful plants we photographed. In my opinion most cactus aren't beautiful the way flowers and plants that grow in wetter parts of the world are, but the fanciful shapes and varied approaches to a succulent base surrounded by thorns were amazing. Many made me think of Audrey, the man-eating plant in Little Shop of Horrors. Because the park has been here so long and lovingly cared for, the mature plants had a size and majesty that we have not seen thus far in the parks we've visited.

The workshop this week has given me a nice cooking break. We've had some good meals at the hotel after the classes inside. A nice family style meal in an old wooden beam style building that featured a local band singing Western and cowboy music and cracking bad jokes was great fun. Our fellow participants were great travelers and photographers. Everyone showed up on time; no one complained when it was cold; everyone was there to learn and enjoy. A true group of Road Scholars.

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