Cellpic Sunday – 31 May 2020

Buckeye, Arizona.

It was Spring 2020 in the White Tank Mountains. Even on our hikes, we were social distancing, single file, group photos taken in the line we’d formed as we hiked down the trail instead of gathering around a single person to grab a “group selfie.” The cactus flowers were plentiful, the day warm and sunny and I had plenty of opportunity to capture those rarely seen flowering cactus. One family of cacti, the Cholla has several varieties. The two that I’ve found most hard to distinguish are the Staghorn and the Buckhorn. For this post, I ended up looking for a definitive source to describe the difference here. The short synopsis of the difference is that they “are sometimes hard to distinguish.” They have similar blossoms, but the most obvious distinction is in the fruit. Well there you go. I’ve never seen a fruit on either variety. Continue reading

Cellpic Sunday – 24 May 2020

Buckeye, Arizona.

In March of this year, the desert was awash with spring flowers near our home in Buckeye. There was no shortage of opportunity to capture the bright yellow brittlebush plants that are plentiful in the Sonoran Desert. On one of our Saturday hikes, I was still learning about the new Samsung S20U phone that replaced my personal S6 and the “work” phone that was provided to me from Civil Air Patrol (CAP). That phone, a Samsung S7, captured many images that I shared here because of my 4-year tenure as North Dakota Wing Commander in CAP. As of April 4, I would rotate out of that job and the S7 would be retired as I no longer need a CAP-provided cell phone. I decided that I would upgrade the S6 when my term expired, and as it turned out, the S20 series was shipping around March 5. I pre-ordered to get the advantage of some perks offered by Samsung and I must admit I was impressed with the hype surrounding the 3-camera system in the S20. After I’ve become really accustomed to the phone and its ability as a camera, I will share a mini review. In the meantime, expect more Cellpic Sunday images to feature the S20U.

About the Photo: Hiking the Petroglyph Trail off the Lost Creek Trailhead, I captured this stand of brittlebush growing out of a collection of rocks. It was only my second day using the camera and it was in automatic mode. The metering system set the camera to f/1.8, 1/1800 sec. ISO-16. As usual, I processed it in Adobe Lightroom and Luminar Flex. The image is best viewed enlarged. Select the image to enlarge it (if your browser supports the function.)

John Steiner


Colorado River State Historic Park – Former Military Depot Turned Museum

Yuma, Arizona.

Notice: This post is being written during the COVID-19 pandemic and at this time, the park is closed to visitors. Please stay safe and follow your state or country’s guidelines for travel in your region. More information on the park’s current status can be found here.

Where the Colorado River crosses from Arizona into California, Yuma became a crossing point into the Golden State, never more true than during the gold rush days starting in 1849. One year later, a military post was established at Yuma and by 1858, Yuma experienced a boom as gold strikes on the Colorado River started another gold rush. In 1864, the U.S. Army established a Quartermasters Depot on the site that is now the grounds of the State Park. Materials and goods were delivered from ocean-going vessels to the mouth of the Colorado River where they were carried by steamboat to the depot. From there, supplies were transported to serve fourteen military posts in Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Southern Utah, and West Texas. Continue reading

McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park – Little Trains Equal Big Fun

Scottsdale, Arizona.

Notice: This post is being written during the COVID-19 pandemic and at this time, the park is closed to visitors. Please stay safe and follow your state or country’s guidelines for travel in your region. More information on the park’s current status can be found here.

In early January, Lynn and I visited McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park in Scottsdale, Arizona. During the Christmas holidays, the park is all decked out with lights and features evening train rides through the park. On any given weekend, the park is quite busy (in normal times, anyway,) and there are lots of activities for kids and adults alike. Though the engine and train cars in the opening photo are full size, the fun happens on little trains. Continue reading

Cellpic Sunday – 3 May 2020

Buckeye, Arizona.

As this is being written on Thursday, April 9, for publication in early May, Lynn and I are just starting our preparations for traveling from Buckeye back to our home in Fargo, North Dakota. Even though I thought last Saturday’s hike would be our last, the warm, sunny day this morning beckoned us to the hiking trail. We chose to hike part of the Quartz Mine Trail in Buckeye’s newest mountain preserve, Skyline Park. Right now all of the park facilities are closed due to the potential for COVID-19 exposure, however, the walking trails in Skyline, and throughout the city for that matter, have been kept open so that people have some place to get some exercise and fresh air.

Continue reading

Cellpic Sunday – 26 April 2020

Buckeye, Arizona.

Spring in the Arizona deserts is unique, and when it’s been a “wet” winter, spring is just as colorful as in other parts of the country. The small hedgehog cactus is probably one of the least attractive of those desert succulents that grow in Mexico and the Southern United States. Indeed, some varieties of hedgehogs can be found as far north as South Dakota. Continue reading

Dronie Sunday – 19 April 2020

Buckeye, Arizona.

On an early March day, we hit the trail with my Mavic Air drone in the backpack. Our goal, in case you missed it from my last Dronie Sunday, was to hike into the Verrado Trails area toward the Petroglyphs and capture some aerial views of the White Tank Mountains. There aren’t a lot of flat spaces in the desert that are accessible from a given trail, so we hiked along the Petroglyph Trail about a mile before we found a suitable space for launching the Air. Continue reading