Photos: Arizona desert puts on spectacular natural displays
The Pacific Northwest is among the most beautiful spots on the planet, but it doesn't have a monopoly.
Photographer Randall Kayfes has lived much of his life in the Northwest, but recently moved to Marana, Arizona and how has a front row seat from his home to a desert landscape that can really put on a show.
"As far as the majority of the photos go, you may find this hard to believe but that is my 'backyard,' " Kayfes told me when I asked him where his amazing portfolio was shot. "I don't own any of it but it is protected land. The mountains are the Santa Catalina's. A lot of the panoramic photos are taken from my second story window."
And while the Northwest boasts 100-foot tall trees that are several years old, Arizona has its senior natural residents too.
"The Saguaro cactus you see in most of photos is what we would call a Century Saguaro as it is estimated to be 100 to 200 years old," he wrote.
Some photos in his gallery show some massive spiders (eewww!) and other desert animals he's come across. I asked if he had any stories about having to share the landscape with some of its natural residents.
"Taking Milky Way photos one night I was approached by a family of Javelina's," he said. "By their snorting I could tell they did not like my presence, but given their poor eyesight I was able to avoid further contact with them."
He says bobcats, Great Horned Owls and coyote are common, while mountain lions are more rare.
And then there's the immobile dangers.
"I do carry a Leatherman's tool with me on every photo shoot as you never know when you will need to use the pliers to pull out cactus needles," he wrote.
As for tricks to get the perfect shot?
"I have to say patience and quick action is the key to a good photo and a view that is spectacular," he said. "The weather phenomena which includes lenticular clouds and crepuscular rays can appear and disappear in a heartbeat. However I've gotten to the point where I can almost predict a great sunrise or a morning of lenticular based on the previous nights or very early morning activity.
"Here in Arizona with no Daylight Saving Time we truly get up with the sun - Wouldn't you with these beautiful sunrises!"
I would indeed! Just as long as it wouldn't require removing any cactus needles...
You can see hundres more of Kayfes' photos on his Google Plus page.