Part 1: San Diego, CA to Tucson, AZ


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The Experience

We live on a canyon in a suburban area of San Diego.  Our canyon hosts a number of "canyon critters" including snakes, crows, hawks and bobcats.  I was lucky to be able to have a camera close by when our canyon bobcat came by on his daily route.  The critter photos were "leftovers" found in the camera while preparing photos for this web page.

Travel east from San Diego is rather boring and given the steep grades and Thor's limited horsepower it can be time consuming as well.  It is about 400 miles from our home to Tucson, AZ the home of our host Sandy.

We stayed in Tucson several days before heading east.  During our stay we were lucky to see some of the local flora and fauna.

The Photos

The photos below are what we saw.

Our canyon bobcat was making his rounds during the late afternoon and I was close to my camera and was able to get him as he worked his route along the canyon rim.

I tapped on the kitchen window and Bob turned to see what was making the noise and I was able to catch his face.

Our canyon hawks are almost always on the wing and are very hard to photograph.  I spotted one of the hawks in a palm tree on the rim of the canyon and was able to photograph him before he bolted into the breeze.

On our first night in Tucson we were blessed with clear skies, clean air and a full moon.  We watched the moon rise over the Santa Catalina mountains and were thrilled at the awesome sight.  I was able to use my Sony A1 camera and 400mm lens to capture the image above.  The moon had not yet fully cleared the saddle in the ridge and highlighted the cactus and brush on the skyline.  The saddle was over 5 miles from our viewing location in Oro Valley, AZ.  In the photo above, the camera was set in "Program" exposure mode and the camera attempted to make the (mostly dark) scene light thus over-exposing the moon.

Switching the camera to "spot exposure" mode allowed the moon to be correctly exposed, but turned the mountains into dark shadows.  But, this mode allows showing the profiles of the trees and brush on the crest of the ridge.

The moon rises fast and only a few seconds passed between this photo and the previous.  I think I like this photo better because it shows more details of the craters on the surface of the moon.  Note the surface roughness of the moon is visible at the edges of the disk.

Only seconds passed and the moon cleared the ridge.  The surface roughness of the moon is clearly visible.

Spring had finally come to Sonoran Desert and the walking around the desert we could see that the local cactus were starting to bloom.

The blooms came in several colors and in general the colors tracked the species.  These blooms are very fragile and last for only a few hours before they shrivel and collapse.

We took our electric unicycles out for a ride in my sister's neighborhood and spotted an owl resting in a nearby tree.  We noted the location and returned later with the camera.  We spotted the father owl resting during the day and generally ignoring us.

The female owl was sitting on a clutch of eggs in a nearby mesquite.  The female was more aware of her surroundings but never opened both eyes at once.  These owls are nocturnal hunters and normally sleep during the day.  These are big birds and their nest was "substantial" in size.  My Sony A1 did a great job of doing a "spot focus" through the branches and finding the owl's eye.

The local Barrel Cactus were in bloom producing bright buds intermixed with sharp, red spines.

The ants were busy gathering nectar from the open buds.

A tight shot of one of the cactus flowers showed the loose pollen and insects working for food.

Tucson in the spring is usually quite nice but this visit it was rather cold and windy.  It did turn hotter on our last day, but it was still windy.  We completed our actions in Tucson, said our goodbyes and headed out over the Continental Divide to Las Cruses, NM.  The following day we traveled on to Ft. Davis, TX to meet up with our U500 camping buddies.

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Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 203, all rights reserved.
For your enjoyment only, not for commercial use without attribution.