Desert Spring

Spring in the desert is a gorgeous display of contrasts, with lush vegetation and colorful flowers blooming against the hard edges of a rocky landscape, punctuated by the sharp spines of cacti in a seemingly endless array of shapes and sizes.

One of the best places to see this display of natural springtime exuberance is at Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park, a hidden oasis in the Sonoran Desert east of Phoenix, Arizona. After a rainy season, the creeks are lined with fresh green growth, and the gardens showcase plants from arid environments all over the world.

The vibrant flowering cactus are striking on a sunny day, in shades of yellow, pink, and red, surrounded by spines. The varied texture of desert vegetation is eye-catching too, and while studying these forms in the warm desert light, I spotted a pale green spider who seemed to have evolved to match the cactus on which it hid.

Even the lizards darting across nearby rocks were colorful, matching the shades of pale green, blue, pink and yellow of their environment.

The arboretum has some unique historical sites, relating to the original development of the land by Boyce Thompson as a winter home in the early 1920s. The gentle walking trails that meander through the park pass a manmade lake, historic structures, and informs the story of the property becoming a center for propagation, research and education in the late 1920s.

A springtime visit to the deserts of the Southwest is highly recommended, and the Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park is a wonderful place to explore the rich biodiversity of desert species at the peak of their seasonal beauty.

View the full set of spring at Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park photos, prints and rights managed licensing available.

Scarlet poppy flower and raindrops, macro

Everyone knows the copper, orange-gold of California poppies, particularly as they form drifts of color across the hillsides of a Western summer landscape. This poppy is of a slightly different variety, a shade of deep scarlet red that I’ve not seen in the wild. It was a prolific garden bloomer however, scattering seeds every season and thriving in the sandy soil of my coastal backyard.

Scarlet poppy, waterdrops
A scarlet red California poppy seems to glow, as it drips with raindrops

I saw this particular bloom after a light rain shower, as the sun came out from behind the clouds, and I couldn’t resist capturing the vibrant color and jewel-like water droplets in full macro detail.

This image has been a favourite for custom print orders, and I am releasing it as a Limited Edition of 30, sized 8×12 and printed on fine art paper with luminous colours and beautiful detail. Find this stunning flower art print and more like it at apkphotoprints.com

Moss Landing, California

Tucked between Highway 1 and the broad horizon of Monterey Bay on the California coast is the quaint, colorful, seaside fishing town of Moss Landing. On a whim one early spring day, I decided to explore the quiet streets and old storefronts of this weathered hamlet.

Tucked along the edges of Moss Landing Harbor and Elkhorn Slough, and extending up the banks of the Old Salinas River, many of the buildings in Moss Landing carry the sort of patina that only steady ocean winds and fog mixed with salt spray can create. Despite the aging, sometimes visibly decaying structures, bright colors are found all over town. Quirky, artful touches, an abundance of antiques, and endless textural contrasts make this spot an interesting place for photography.

On this particular day, the sky was a brilliant blue, with a constantly changing curtain of windswept white clouds blowing in from across the ocean. One of the classic Moss Landing postcard shots is of an old boat, at rest in a field, yet still somehow conjuring up a sea-faring spirit and salty resilience.

Moss Landing, California
An abandoned and colorful boat in a field, Moss Landing, on the California coast

There are some remarkable scientific operations based in Moss Landing as well, and a visit to these more modern sites of inquiry is especially worthwhile during one of their many open-house events. At any time however, in any weather, a brief detour into Moss Landing from the usual travel route North or South along California’s Highway 1 on the Central Coast, will reward off-the-beaten-path travellers with colorful character, an abundance of local restaurants to enjoy, and a lovely spot to spend a quiet afternoon with a camera.

To see my full set of Moss Landing photographs, or to purchase these images as Open Edition Prints, please visit the apkphotography.com

Ravishing ranunculus

Ravishing ranunculus, originally uploaded by A.p.K.

The colours that emerge in nature are sometimes so startlingly brilliant, it can be impossible to look away. These floral beauties grow in my garden, and the blended shades of fuchsia, scarlet, orange and gold rival even the most technicolor sunset skies.

One of many such stunning blooms available for licensing and as fine art floral prints.