Hiking and camping around Arizona I find myself analyzing a variety of ecosystems. I am always collecting visual data on my surroundings. Strolling through thorny brush, tripod in one hand and dSLR in the other, my eyes shift from either side of the trail looking for photographs. The gentle flow of spring water emursing from a wild blackberry bushell. One of my favorite water holes in the state, Fossil Springs. At the top of the canyon the springs reside in, low land brush and rough rocky textures. Once in the canyon however, an oasis of vegetative and animal life. 20,000 gallons of water gush out of the springs per minute. The life blood of this ecosystem, supporting 30 plus species of trees and shrubs as well as over 100 species of birds (Coconino National Forest).
Relaxing perched upon the edge of the Mogillon Rim, my friend Cory and I stare into the tree tops below us during the sun's last few minutes of light. An increase in wind speed signifies the sun's imminent dissapearing act, dark rain clouds obscure the pink overtones in its' last rays. A pair of finches catch my eye, I try my best to follow their sharp movements throughout the leaf litter floor. With meticulous precision the finches gather small twigs and rendezvous back at their delicately constructed nest. The finche's diligent seeking of just the right stick to use of the millions in the forest inspires me to search farther for the equivalent images.
In the land of Saguaros and rock spires I am set up on the side of a mountain. Tripod legs extended and camera pointed down, I survey the scene below me. A cholla cacti field, every spine glowing with yellow orange warmth of the fading cross light. Yellow wildflower bushes gently sway as warm air travelling up the mountianside deposits dust onto my lens. With the peaceful quiet desert night fast approaching, the sky gradually crescendos into blood orange before decrescendoing into nothing but a thin outline of the Estrella Mountain range. I pack up my camera and finish my hike, 3 miles of grinning, knowing I got the shot.