During a recent trip to Arizona I was very happy to see my favorite of all cacti, the Saguaro. If you’re interested in reading up on this type of cactus, here’s an article from Wikipedia that does a pretty good job of describing it.


When I attended college in New Mexico, in the late 1970’s, I had the mistaken impression that these types of cacti grew throughout the desert and could be found anywhere in the southwest. As it turns out, the Saguaro is native to the Sonoran Desert, and is fairly particular to this specific area. Like many types of plants and animals, they tend to thrive in specific climate zones – and, unlike humans, it’s very difficult to grow them outside their ideal climate zone. So, in Arizona, as you drive around and explore the state, you can travel through many different climate zones. These zones are specifically (but not only) connected to elevation. As you drive from Phoenix to Flagstaff, for example, you could experience 3 or 4 different climate zones as you start at less than 1,000 feet in elevation, and end up at nearly 7,000 feet. It can be 80+ degrees in Phoenix, and near Flagstaff there can be snow on the ground. The trees and other plants are different, the rocks and dirt are different – and there are no more Saguaros shortly after leaving Phoenix. I guess the variety of plants and animals in the desert southwest is one of the things I like most – especially as a photographer.

Below are a few closeup photos of my favorite cactus – the mighty, majestic, Saguaro! Taken with my Nikon FM3a on Kodak Portra 400 film.

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