Agave at Sunset | California Desert Detail

Luminous blue-green leaves, and geometric, textural details in the soft glow of a desert sunset; this agave plant was an irresistible subject during an evening hike in a high mountain valley between the the San Jacinto and Santa Rosa mountains of southern California.

Agave detail, square
Blue and green silvery agave leaves in desert sunset light, California

This print has been added to my growing collection of square prints, and looks stunning printed on Lustre or Metallic paper. Find print prices and options here, and more botanical prints here.

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.

Small Yellow Songbird

As the days gradually become shorter and the season shifts to cooler temperatures, autumn is turning the leaves a lovely golden color before they fall. I am reminded of a little yellow songbird perched high in the branches of a tree on a cold winter morning. It calmly watched the sunrise, warming it’s wings as sunlight spread across a mountainous Southern California desert landscape beneath a bright blue sky.

Small yellow songbird
A small yellow songbird perches in the California desert sunshine, framed by the branches and yellow leaves of a tree against blue sky

This is an image from my archives, and I am adding it as a new release to a collection of square prints that are sized and priced for the casual art collector. I often provide custom, larger-format fine art prints to private collectors, but wish to share my images with a wider audience. This sweet little songbird is the first image selected for a set of square prints that start at $30 USD, with gallery canvas wrap and standout mounting options available. I will be adding new images to my Open Edition Square Series print collection in the months to come, so please check back for announcements or subscribe to this blog for updates.

To purchase ‘Small Yellow Songbird’ please visit apkphotography.com

Deep canyon landscape

Spent maybe a little too long this morning playing in the archives, but I couldn’t resist. This sunset desert landscape is a panorama stitched from three photos.  The sun had just slipped behind mountains to the west, and only the faintest glow remained, caught by the buildings of Boyd Deep Canyon research center and a sliver of the distant Salton Sea.  The colors of the desert rocks and varnish are always surprising, but something about the softer winter light and clearer air of December seems to bring out even more dramatic color across the mountains.

I will be posting a great deal of landscape photography this year.  It has always been a favorite subject area, and I have quite a collection of untouched images from last year’s travels.  Landscapes figure quite largely in who we are and what our lifestyles and cultures have become, and as I find it difficult to separate myself from my environment, I am looking forward to studying it further. That it can be so magically beautiful and glow with amazing colors is simply a bonus.