Weekly Photo Challenge: Fragile and Ephemeral Desert Beauty

…beauty consists of its own passing, just as we reach for it. It’s the ephemeral configuration of things in the moment, when you can see both their beauty and their death. ― Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog
During our recent trip to Arizona, we witnessed the mystery and magic of the desert.   Purely by chance, we arrived after several days of rain and decided to go to Lost Dutchman State Park in Apache Junction for our first hike.  Unknown to us, this park is one of the prime locations in the state for wild flowers.   As we walked the trails, we were stunned by the beauty of Sonoran Desert and the Superstition Mountains.   The harsh landscape had burst forth into a riotous mix of greenery and wild flowers.
Hilltop in Lost Dutchman State Park.  Shot with my Canon 40D.

Hilltop in Lost Dutchman State Park. Shot with my Canon 40D.

Over the next week, we hiked along a half a dozen trails in Sedona, Phoenix, and Scottsdale.  Here are a few of my favorite shots, which highlight the ephemeral nature of plant life in arid parts of the Southwest. Flowers bloomed in unlikely places–crevices in rocks, under cacti, and near dusty, well-trodden footpaths.
Cactus Bloom, Arizona.  Shot with my Canon 40D.

Hedgehog Cactus Bloom, Arizona. Shot with my Canon 40D.

Lone Violet, Shot with Samsung Galaxy S5

Lone Violet, Shot with Samsung Galaxy S5

Pale Pink Beauty, Arizona.  Shot with Samsung Galaxy S5

Pale Pink Beauty, Arizona. Shot with Samsung Galaxy S5

Red in the Desert, Shot with my Canon 40D

Red in the Desert, Shot with my Canon 40D

White Flower, Shot with my Canon 40D

White Flower, Shot with my Canon 40D

Yellow Bloom, Shot with my Samsung Galaxy S5

Yellow Bloom, Shot with my Samsung Galaxy S5

Their beauty was fleeting.  In our final two days of hiking, the desert landscape had changed again, the flowers withering and the plants fading to a tired green.  But while they lived, these wild flowers gave us great joy.  How fortunate that we managed to capture some of them digitally and share them with you all.  I hope you’ve enjoyed this small sample gathered from hundreds of shots.  You might say I got a bit carried away!

For more information on desert wildflowers, visit the Arizona State Park website.

For more interpretations of this week’s photo challenge, click here.

And have a terrific week, everyone!

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18 replies »

  1. Thanks for sharing these gorgeous shots, Patti. It’s a wonder of nature that these flowers can live in harsh conditions even if it’s just a short lived existence. Just enough time to make the hiker’s journeys all more enchanting. And you made the best out of it.

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  2. Hi Cybele. Thanks so much! They were stunning. I’m so glad we could see them this time. Our earlier visits were in the fall. Have you been there? Hope you get to go!

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  3. Loved these shots, especially the close-up of the cactus flower in the second photo. I was going to ask why you switched between the Galaxy S5 and the Canon 40D, but then it occurred to me that maybe more than one person took the pictures. If you had to pick one of the cameras to recommend, which would you suggest?

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  4. Hi Kirizar. Thanks! I switched between the 2 cameras because I participate in the iPhone challenges run by Sally at Lens and Pens and needed some shots taken on the cell phone! Very observant of you! In fact, the cameras are both good for different purposes. The Samsung has a great camera built in and it’s very, very convenient since I carry the phone everywhere. The Canon really is a deliberate choice, since it’s heavier and bigger, but it has a superior lens and takes great shots too. So it depends on your purpose and how you’d most likely use the camera. The 40D is no longer made by Canon, so now your choice would be the 60D or 70D if you want to stay within the photo enthusiast line of cameras. Canon has a great line with a variety of cameras for different levels of interest and ability and price ranges. Let me know what you decide to do! Hope this helps.–Patti

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  5. I SOOOO want to see the desert in bloom. Have been many times but never when the amazing flowers are there. They have to be so strong to survive there, but their lives are oh so short. Thanks for sharing!

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  6. Hi Tina. I hope you get to go in the spring. If I were you, I’d check the Arizona wildflowers site to see when they’re blooming. We hit it at just the right time by a stroke of luck. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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