Prickly Pear Cactus Flower

The most collaboration we’ve put into a picture yet! I’m working the camera, and Karla’s working the Ipad remote, checking the focus and exposure, so that we could combine multiple images into this interpretive HDR. Our new Sony a6000 rocks… seriously.

For months, G and I hiked up the mountains looking at flowers and identifying ‘new’ species (new to us). Each hike took a few hours…with the backpack…the camera…camera equipment…snacks…and water…lots of water. We would set our at dawn and, sometimes, return home in the afternoon. No, we are not crazy; but we are, dedicated.

So imagine our surprise when we spotted this beauty in the Sculpture Garden at the Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Desert. Since we were in picture taking mode, we brought our camera and equipment everywhere.


Color me desert too…

This little California barrel cactus was our first stop this morning. So much going on: red, green, purple, yellow—now that’s a lotta color! Cacti are very cool, they grow from the center out… and up!

This one is small, and cute, but there are some up the hill in remote and practically inaccessible locations that may be bigger than Karla!

By |2018-08-20T16:50:30-08:00March 12th, 2016|Categories: Botanical Identification|Tags: , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on Color me desert too…

Color Me Desert

Some great color combinations are growing right next to each other, right up the hill.  I like taking pictures of the Barrel Cactus (below), and the Indigo Bush (above). So I says to myself ‘Why not take a picture of both?’, and voila!

The littlest cacti around

These adorable little cacti (Mammillaria tetrancistra?) are sensibly located in the lee of the stone.  Location, location, location… it works in real estate, and the desert. Most of the trail in the Randall Henderson loop is in shadow for at least an hour after sunrise.  We’ve wondered whether mountains play a role in the light quality of golden hours. It seems that for the effect to really take effect, the light needs to come from the horizon.  It’s not quite the same when there’s a mountain, or a range of mountains in the way… hmmm.

By |2018-08-20T16:50:31-08:00March 9th, 2016|Categories: Botanical Identification|Tags: , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on The littlest cacti around

The color of beavertails…

The color of these beaver-tails are beautiful… They are really saturated, which is giving me a challenge in editing them. These two pictures below were taken of the same beavertail, one in sunshine, the other in cloud cover. Yellows and blues…



By |2018-08-20T16:50:32-08:00March 6th, 2016|Categories: Botanical Identification|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on The color of beavertails…

Barrel Cactus, up the hill.



So we went crazy today, all the way to the top of shadow mountain! Wow, does the flora change with the altitude.  No ocotillos yet though. Everything blooming is getting ready to go! Blooming! Hopefully the rain coming in the next few days won’t damage too much. On that note, the wind today coming down the mountain was a little scary… These flowers are a lot tougher than they look.



I’m hooked on this contrast between the flowers and the needles (no pun intended). The needles have such a design-y quality, with their ridges, and muted colors. A very fitting contrast to the super-saturation of the flowers.



It would be nice to be able to keep up with all the taxonomy, but where to begin? Hmm… How’s about, Barrel Cactus, Ferocactus cylindraceus?




By |2018-08-20T16:50:32-08:00March 6th, 2016|Categories: Botanical Identification, Flowers of San Jacinto|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on Barrel Cactus, up the hill.

Beavertail Cactus

One of many beavertail cactus flower photos… The variation of pink hues is astounding—they range from soft pink to a deep, vibrant fuchsia.


Beavertail cactus buds

Beavertail cactus buds

By |2018-08-20T16:50:32-08:00March 4th, 2016|Categories: Botanical Identification|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on Beavertail Cactus

Under the Pencil Cholla…

This magical shot was taken along the Randall Henderson Loop, underneath a Pencil Cholla. It’s like a miniature understory, with lots of spines… I did think twice about sticking my hand in here (see Above the Pencil Cholla, below). The spines do remind me of quillwork.

So, the spiky ones are Pencil Cholla  (Cylindropuntia ramosissima), and the flowery one is a Cleftleaf Phacelia (Phacelia crenulata). It seems to me, clearly, the cholla is helping out the Phacelia with shade and shelter. I wonder if they help each other? Maybe the Phacelia attracts more pollinators? Or something more complicated? Maybe Phacelia helps Cholla with its taxes?


Pencil Cholla cactus, Santa Rosa & San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitor Center

Above the Pencil Cholla… Many spines keep out external pernicious factors.



By |2018-08-20T16:50:33-08:00March 4th, 2016|Categories: Botanical Identification|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on Under the Pencil Cholla…

Cactus Flowers

A singularly spectacular sight!

Below are three cactuses (cacti) in bloom. Some of the beavertails that we came across have TONS of buds. We’ll see if they are in bloom during the Wildflower Festival on Saturday, March 5.

The native Californian barrel cactus (the spikes are reddish unlike their Mexican counterpart with yellow spikes) develops a crown of buds. So far, we’ve only seen two of the buds flower.

Lastly is the nipple cactus (Mammillaria), which is, IMHO, a slightly unfortunate name… But the flowers are ADORABLE!

More to come as we continue our treks with our new macro lens!

Beavertail cactus in bloom

Beavertail cactus in bloom


California barrel cactus in bloom

California barrel cactus in bloom


Mammillaria (Nipple) cactus in bloom

Mammillaria (Nipple) cactus in bloom


By |2018-08-20T16:50:33-08:00March 2nd, 2016|Categories: Botanical Identification|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on Cactus Flowers