Blue and Green Reflection in Fish Creek (and a caveat)

This photo was taken from the other side of the bridge shown in yesterdays post.  Its location is right at the point where we were no longer driving down a very steep road and things were beginning to level out; more about that exhilarating part of the trail tomorrow.  There is a pullover point here that could fit two vehicles (even though one other person tried to squeeze in there) which is where the family pulled over and waited for me while I shot through the beams on the bridge, moved out of the way for the occasional passing auto and truck and spoke with a mother and son who were climbing on some of the rocks by the bridge.

And because of all that going on I made a common photography mistake – I didn’t check my settings!  No, I’m not referring to chimping, I’m talking about checking my shutter speed and aperture to make sure my images were as sharp and clear as I wanted them to be.  Because I was shooting handheld but wanted to get as much of the scenery in focus as possible, I had my aperture around 7.1 (I often shoot aperture priority) which normally would’ve been fine for this scene but in order to get the light right for that setting my camera upped my ISO to around 400 and dropped my shutter speed to 1/30 of a second while using a 35mm lens.  Uh oh!

It is highly recommended that unless you have nerves of steel, when working with a shutter speed lower than the size of your lens you should use a tripod, balance your camera on something stable (a wall, ledge, etc.) or change your aperture and/or ISO to raise your shutter speed.  I must confess that because of this negligence on my part out of all of the photos I took from this bridge only two of them came out properly sharp.  A possible once in a lifetime moment of nature and scenery making beautiful colors together not captured fully because I didn’t take a second to check my camera.

Sometimes in photography you have to shoot quickly and other times you may be able to work at your own speed.  Whatever the scenario, make sure that you take a moment or two to check your settings to negate a negative return on your efforts.  Then again, returning to a location to get that shot you missed can work too!


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Wordless Wednesday – Golden reflection in Fish Creek

F 7.1 – ISO 160 – 1/30 – 35mm – Canon 5D MarkIII – Hand held while on a one lane bridge watching out for cars and getting out of the way a few times when one was coming!

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The Mighty Saguaro

The saguaro (/səˈwɑːr/, Spanish pronunciation: [saˈɣwaɾo]) (Carnegiea gigantea) is an arborescent (tree-like) cactus species in the monotypic genus Carnegiea, which can grow to be over 70 feet (21 m) tall. It is native to the Sonoran Desert in Arizona, the Mexican State of Sonora, and the Whipple Mountains and Imperial County areas of California. The saguaro blossom is the state wildflower of Arizona. Its scientific name is given in honor of Andrew Carnegie.

The common name saguaro came into the English language through the Spanish language, originating in the Mayo

Most people, when they think of Arizona and the west, immediately think of cactus and the one they most often envision is the saguaro.  When I was a child sitting in the back seat of my folks Ford, we often traveled to Arizona and this is where I saw my first one.  Of course I had to do the try and touch one of the spines things and I paid for that – but I had to do it!  They are beautiful to see especially when they bloom and they come in so many different shapes and sizes.

These cacti live to be very very old as shown here with good old Methuselah.  It is said that he is the oldest of his kind in Arizona.  They take quite a long time before they grow arms, upwards of 60 or 70 plus years, so when you see one with lots of arms then you know it’s got some years under its spines.  And did you know that one without arms is called a spear?  They are protected by law and you are not even allowed to remove the ribs of a dead one without permission which I think isn’t given often.  Even if you are building in an area with them, you either build around them or you must carefully move and replant them.  No paving paradise and putting up a parking lot willy nilly here!

On my recent trip to Arizona I was intrigued by the shapes (number or arms and what direction they were growing in) as well as how in some areas they seemed to be growing in rows as if they were in line to go somewhere.  This photo was taken next to the Superstition Mountain early in the morning.  Interested in seeing and reading more about the great saguaro?  Then please visit my friend Nancy at her Two Trails One Road blog… she’s lucky because she gets to see the saguaros all the time.

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Monochrome Monday – Power lines

It’s a bit disheartening to see these power lines midst such spectacular natural surroundings but I suppose it’s the price we pay for having electricity in remote places.  Can you just imagine though what these workmen had to go through in order to put up these towers and string the lines?  How long ago were they put in place I wonder.

Tonto National Forest.  Apache Junction, Arizona.


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Tortilla Flats

This is a must stop when traveling the Apache Trail; it’s touristy but it is so worth it!  By the time your arrive here if you are a bit parched or hankering for a hunk of hamburger then please stop at the Superstition Restaurant & Saloon.  Even if you aren’t hungry or thirsty just go in to see the place!  It is an eyeful and then some.  We went in just for drinks as we had had a hearty breakfast and weren’t hungry yet but I hear the food is good and there were plenty of folks in there chowing down.  Plus I’ve heard from two different local friends about the delicious fudge and gelato at the general store there.

When you walk in your eyes will widen at the decor.  Just about every inch of the wall space is covered in signed dollar bills from all of their visitors.  And the staff is very friendly and helpful.  I was told by the charming bar maid, Kari, that this money tradition started with miners coming in and to make sure they had money for the next time they would sign their money and have it nailed to the wall for when they returned.  She also told us about the patio where live music is played and invited us to stick around for it.  Too bad we couldn’t because it was a great day for it.

I was enjoying reading where everyone came from on the dollars when I noticed, directly in front of where I was sitting, one dollar bill signed by someone from Brentwood, Missouri.  I used to live just a 15 minute drive from there.  How cool was that.

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Along with money being on the walls (only the staff is allowed to put the signed money on the walls) there are all sorts of western memorabilia on them as well such as this old bathtub used in mining camps for oil and mineral baths.  Oil and mineral? I wonder what that was like!  It was made by the Universal Bathtub Company, Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1872.

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When you belly up to the bar you don’t just pull up a stool – no sir!  You saddle up to the bar on these saddle stools or on the horses rear end stools.

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The decor just keeps getting better when you have to “excuse” yourself.  Now I cannot speak for the gents facilities but in the ladies room? Well…here ya go!  Makes for interesting photo ops.  Before you ask, yes! I did pose for a photo in here and no! It will not be shared.  A gal has to keep some things to herself ;)

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This was the most fun stop on the trail to me and I would happily go visit the saloon again but next time I’m having some grub and desert :)

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Next stop on the trail…

Is something I would not have imagined.  After all of the dust, rocks and hills (and fortunately still paved roads) we rounded a corner on the trail into the Tonto National Forest.  Forest? Unless you mean a forest of cacti.  Well, there were some trees but mostly it was cacti and other forms of succulents.  As we were here in January there wasn’t much blooming; I missed seeing that by a few weeks but it was still amazing scenery none the less.  The family pulled over into this little cove to let me and the camera out.

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Here we were surrounded by desert life and there it was, Canyon Lake, with people boating and fishing.  There’s even a little steamboat on the lake that will take you for tours.  The first photo below is from the side where we pulled over and the second one is from the other side where you can just make out the road we were driving on in the middle of the hill on the left.  I’m so used to seeing cacti in purely arid regions but here they were right next to a lake; a beautiful contrast.  I suppose that makes the cactus happy.


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It was at this juncture of the trail that we came upon our first one lane bridge with the signs No Fishing, Diving, Loitering On Bridge.  Does photographing on the bridge while watching out for vehicles fit into any of those categories?  I would like to add that on the trail the “facilities” are few and far between so be warned if you happen to be drinking a lot of water on your trip.  There are facilities and a picnic area right past this one lane bridge and this day there were fishermen on the beach.   I was told by one of them that they were angling for bass and trout.  Bass and trout in Arizona? Who knew!  It’s a lot easier to just pull over and get out for photos around this part of the trail than further on… and your ears may start popping soon after.


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Next on the trail – a saloon!

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Goldfield Ghost Town

Our next stop on the Apache Trail (and long before the roads made my adrenaline rush) was the Goldfield Ghost Town.  Upon pulling into the place early that morning and before even some of the workers had arrived, I was anxious to leap out of our truck and head for all things old and rusty.  I gave pause at the sign saying no photography for commercial purposes and proceeded to move around the area as I pleased with camera at the ready.  The rest of the family couldn’t keep up with me so they had to call my cell phone to find me when I didn’t reappear for awhile.

If you like this sort of tourist spot (they asked us if we wanted to sign up for a jeep tour) then by all means go for it but for me and mine – well mostly me – it was all about the rust, the architecture and the scenery…and of course the history.  One could just imagine the harsh, to us today anyway, realities of living back when this was an active mining area and what equipment they had to work with.  I’m sure they took solace though at the saloon, bordello and maybe even the church ;)


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