Dawn on the J-Six

On this particular November morning, dawn features an over-spreading of clouds moving in from the west. The habitat here on the J-Six Ranch in Arizona is desert grassland.  Also evident in the dim light are many plants of taller stature, mainly yuccas and, in the left foreground, a leafless Ocotillo.

A window on the canyon

Boulders and trees frame this view of the Grand Canyon, Arizona. This natural window-like scene looks out from the north rim near Bright Angel Point.

Arizona Fairy Duster

Arizona Fairy Duster (Calliandra eriophylla) is a low shrub found in the southwestern states and neighboring Mexico. As is the case with many plants of this region, it belongs to the pea family (Fabaceae). Other well-known plants of this part of the country belonging to the pea family include the Ironwood, Palo Verde, and the Mesquites. In fact, another name for the Fairy Duster is False Mesquite. This one was photographed in Cochise County, Arizona.

The west intake towers

Hoover Dam was built by the Bureau of Reclamation in order to control floods, provide water for irrigation, and produce hydroelectric power. It is not without artistic flourishes, however. Art Deco stylistic touches are evident in many details of the dam, including the two pairs of intakes towers. The dam is built in an area called the Black Canyon on the Colorado River, on the border of Arizona and Nevada. The two states are in different time zones, and the towers feature clocks showing the time in their respective states, in this case the two Nevada towers.

The realm of light

The high elevation, clear air, and dynamic atmosphere of the desert southwest often results in dramatic displays of light and color. In this case from the J-Six Ranch, Arizona, the afterglow illuminates the desert grasslands with the warm red light reflected from clouds of a lifting monsoon storm even after the sun has set.

The Goosenecks of the San Juan

The Goosenecks of the San Juan River in southeastern Utah is a textbook example of what geologists call an entrenched meander. Rivers flowing through flat areas have a tendency to meander in a snaking course across the landscape. The San Juan originally flowed across a flat landscape in the distant past. The Monument Upwarp gradually elevated the land over millions of years as the river continued to cut down, slowly enough as to not disrupt the meandering course of the river before it had trapped itself in its own canyon. The meander is now entrenched in a twisting canyon 1,000′ deep at this location.

Last light

Evening comes to the rolling arid hills near Mescal, Arizona. The higher peaks of the Little Rincons poking up behind the ridge are tall enough to catch the last light of the day.

Gates Pass

Gates Pass runs through the Tucson Mountains and connects the Tucson Valley with the Avra Valley to the west. The Tucson Mountains are very rugged, but this small volcanic range is low enough for Sonoran Desert vegetation to climb up and over the top of many of the peaks. The density of Saguaro Cactus is especially noticeable at Gates Pass, indicating that conditions for them are ideal at this location.

Fall comes down the mountain

In the high mountains of southeast Arizona, the leaves of the maples and aspens have long since turned and fallen to the forest floor. Along the creeks down in the valleys, however, mid-November sees the golden tones of autumn. This November scene along Ash Creek in the Rincon Mountain sits at 4,500′ in elevation.

An evening on Main Street

Most of Main Street in Ouray, Colorado consists of historic blocks of buildings built around the turn of the 20th Century. The wealth produced by the local mines led to architecture that befitted its prosperity. The Victorian aspect of the town has not been diluted over the last century by ski resorts because Ouray sits in a canyon with terrain too steep for skiing. Duckett’s is the closest thing to a supermarket in town.