Saguaro Cactus Blossoms 2007 May 15

Last Up date: 2010 Oct 16 to 2007 May 19 To add links to: April 2007 in Quartzsite and May 2007.
Links to 4 Photos taken when I got back to San Jose
Page started: 2007 May 17

These photos are reduced in size and quality for faster downloads. The photos are links to the original just as they came from the camera. I have the camera set to: M2 which creates 1600x1200 pixel images, and "fine" (which is the middle out of three) level of compression. According to the manual this allows about 24 images to be stored on a 16MB memory chip. That figures out to be roughly 666 Kilobytes per photo. I am intentionally using far less than the 6.0 million pixels the camera has.

  • ri012.jpg It has been a very dry winter and spring in Quartzsite, but this is when the Giant Saguaro Cactus start to bloom.

    So I decided to drive about 10 miles east, towards Phoenix, where there are some hills to take some photos.

    I needed hills, so I could get up high enough above a cactus to get a view more or less at the level of the blooms.

    For those who know the area: My van is parked about 2 miles south of I-10 along "Gold Nugget" road. Actually I pulled off about a half mile west along a Jeep trail

    I left about 7:30 AM to take these photos while it is below 80 degrees. I wanted to get it done and get out of the heat.

  • ri010.jpg All the low cactus, are a royal pain to walk through.

    Some folks call them "Jumping Cholla" because it seems if you just walk by, some will be sticking in you. They have micro-barbs on them which makes them hard to pull out once they get in your skin. The only solution is to be very careful.

    Yes, there are a couple Blossoms on this Saguaro, but they are too high for me.

  • ri002.jpg This Saguaro Cactus is rather young--no arms yet.

    Even better it is slightly down in a wash, and from just a few feet closer, I think I can get some photos. A jolly good time to try out the 12X optical zoom of my new camera.

  • ri003.jpg I think the green buds are yet to bloom, and the darker ones have already done so, and should develop a fruit the Indians are said to have used. I wonder how they got to the top of these beasts to pick the fruit?

    Maybe the Indians used helicopters to pick the fruits off the tops of the Saguaros. ;-) I think they and the Homing-Pigeons had brains with build in GPS's. They seemed to navigate very well.

    The flowers take lots of water to make them soft an pliable enough to open up; and so they only last for a day or so. But that gives bees enough time to do their thing.

  • ri004.jpg I am quite pleased with my Canon S3 camera. It's "Image Stabilization" made it possible to take these photos without a tripod. All were taken from a distance of about 20 feet.

    Yes, there is an ant on the left blossom, and a bee just above the next one.

  • ri005.jpg I stepped to my right just a bit to take this one.

  • ri006.jpg Wouldn't you know it? Just after I took the above photo a bee came along so I took a second one. I should delete the previous one, but for the time being I'll let it stay.

  • ri007.jpg Yes, these ugly things bloom too.

  • ri008.jpg A green flower! I wish the bee's couldn't see them. It would make life much easier for me, the jack-rabbits, and coyotes.

  • ri011.jpg The poor Ocotillo ignores the seasons and puts out leaves when there is enough water.

    "It is much more closely related to both the primrose family and the olive family than to the cactus family." From: Flowers of the Southwest deserts by Natt N. Dodge

    Apparently, it blooms with or without enough water to produce leaves.

  • ri001.jpg Up close, it's quite a respectable flower.

    This one is mostly buds, but a couple have opened up.

    This time of the year it gets too hot to spend much time in the sun on the desert. It took me about two hours, and two quarts of water to take these photos. By about 10AM I left to get back to where I have, a very effective evaporative cooler, to spend the rest of the day.

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