Arizona is a big, big state. There were several places I was planning to visit in southern Arizona and although they were ‘close’ to each other, that means a few hundred miles of driving. So after waking up, I stopped by the Tucson Mountains on the way out of the Saguaro NP vicinity. The light on the mountains as the sun came up was great. At first I was alone, but a couple of other photographers came by as the light streamed onto the mountains. I worked the cacti and some HDR photos like this one a bit before heading back into the car for the drive south.
So I headed south close to the Mexico border. The locations I was headed to I knew practically nothing about. My plans were flexible though, so if it was a let-down, I could always head back up to Saguaro. I was staying south of Patagonia, and headed out to a nature reserve next to the state park where I was pitching my tent. You couldn’t help by notice the lizards – they were everywhere! Quite a few kinds too, like this Tree Lizard. In addition, there were a few birds including a very cooperative Say’s Phoebe. The light was still pretty harsh and I made some mental notes of what was around before scouting out some other spots.
Being near Patagonia, it is impossible not to go to one of the most famous hummingbird spots in the world. Although the Paton’s have passed away, their house is still open to the public for watching the hummingbirds which frequent the feeders just a few feet from where you sit. I had heard of this place several times even up in Michigan and it certainly lived up to its reputation. At pretty much all times there were at least a few humminbirds darting around and feeding. Over the afternoon I saw about a dozen different species – a far cry the one species that you usually see in the eastern United States. I had a very pleasurable time sitting and watching the birds, but while the watching is great it’s not best location for photography. Personally, I don’t care for images of birds on feeders and most of the natural perches around the property weren’t great for photography. That said, if you ever find yourself in the area, you definitely must visit this place – the number and variety of hummingbirds that fly in front of you while you sit in comfort is unmatchable in the US. There are quite a few other birds that visit the property as well.
As the sun started to go down it was time to head back to camp. The land nearby was quite different from that in the Tucson area. The Sonoran Desert was replaced by these rolling hills which we govered with amber grass. On both the west and east sides a distant mountain range enclosed the land. By now, I was pretty sure that this part of Arizona was going to be good for photography and my next few days would be well spent in the area.