Sonoran Desert, Arizona (southern)

The best time to be in southern Arizona is early March for photographing flowers.  If you’re after stunning sunsets in Saguaro National Park, the month of August is the best time.  All the wildflower photographs were taken in early March.

For early March the weather in the desert is the best weather of the entire year.  Warm, but not hot, and it normally does not rain at this time of the year, but of course it can.  For the sunsets in August, it is hot with high temperatures exceeding 100 degrees and storms are plentiful which makes for the best sunsets.

What did you consider the best time of day to photograph?  That is easy, sunrise light through early morning and sunset light.  The middle of the day is for scouting for compositions, naps, showers, meals, whatever.

Are there specific locations you visited?  For wildflowers, Organpipe Cactus National Monument and the Superstition Mountains.  Sunsets, Saguaro National Park, the West Unit near Tucson.

A few notes to consider:  Rattlesnakes are active during both of these time periods, so use caution.  Snakes do not want a confrontation, so leave them alone and you will be fine.

The wildflower photographs from Organpipe occurred during one of the best flower years in 50 years.  I counted, or heard of, at least 30 major landscape photographers who were in the area.  There were many photographers, but the flowers were so profuse it was easy to hike and avoid crowds.  The problem was the amateurs that recognized the pros and wanted to follow them.  I hid my truck in a sand wash, then hiked to avoid them.  Great photography!

The photographer Willard Clay provided the details and images for the Sonoran Desert destination.

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