Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Under the Sun

The Arizona Deserts, Arizona.

This week, Amy’s challenge for us is to focus on life under the sun. Actually, that’s a broad category considering that all earthbound things are under the sun. She writes that her inspiration came from the title of a book, “Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy.” You can read her entire challenge post here.

I’ve decided that my response to the challenge will feature images from my adopted state, Arizona. Though most of the images here come from the Sonoran Desert in southern Arizona, the opening photo is from Monument Valley, part of the Colorado Plateau, a desert environment with hot summers and cold winters. Wild horses inhabit the desert that is part of the Navajo Nation. As you can see by the photo, life for them is hard.

From near the top of South Mountain, at Dobbins Point, the view of the Phoenix metro area is expansive. The metro is ringed by a series of small mountain ranges, the low terrain has come to be known as the Valley of the Sun. With temperatures topping 110 degrees (43 degrees C) in the summer, the name is no misnomer. The Sonoran Desert, in which Phoenix is located, has a northern border that is only about an hour north of the city.

The wettest desert in the world, the iconic saguaro cactus can only be found growing natively in the Sonoran Desert. These giant succulents can top 40 feet (12 m), older specimens can range up to 60 feet (18 m).Β  As an ardent hiker and photographer, I have many photos of these giant wonders. Near Tucson, there is an entire national park dedicated to the unique species. If you get the chance, take some time to follow the scenic drive through one of the two park units.

The terrain near Sedona, about a two-hour drive from Phoenix, is an unusual red sandstone base. Many natural sandstone outcroppings, like Bell Rock, in the image above, are major attractions to the thousands of visitors who spend time in this semi-arid desert climate. Due to its high altitude, winters are colder and summers cooler than Phoenix.

Native Americans have lived under the desert sun for centuries. This bronze sculpture, created by Native American artist Allan Houser (a Chiricahua Apache), in 1994, is a tribute to the service of Native Americans for our country. Titled “Unconquered II,” the work is on display as part of the American Indian Veterans National Memorial at the Heard Museum, Phoenix.

In most browsers, selecting the image will give you an enlarged view for closer examination. Thanks again to Amy for giving me the opportunity to share some of those unique places underneath the Arizona sun.

John Steiner




25 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Under the Sun

  1. Great photos of this special place under the sun. Life is hard for these wild horses… The scenery are spectacular, thank you, John for taking us there.

  2. I’ve been to many of these places, John. You describe them beautifully. Your photo highlights the scale and majesty of Bell Rock. The wild ponies are also a great capture. As you say, life isn’t easy for them.

  3. Excellent pictures for the challenge, John. The poor horses do seem to have rather a hard life. It’s amazing that they manage to survive. I have yet to visit Arizona but hopefully, once things get back to a new normal, I will have the opportunity to do so. You have certainly captured the grandeur of the landscape with your images.

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