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Cactus Flowers

Cactus flowers

Sonoran Spring
© Miles Hecker



Access to the Sonoran Desert section in the Rincon Mountain district of the park is via the Cactus Forest Loop Drive. This eight-mile paved loop weaves among giant saguaro cacti in the foothills of the Rincon Mountains about 16 miles east of downtown Tucson.

Summer temperatures often exceed 110°F. Spring is the optimum time if you wish to engage in wildflower photography. Wildflower highlights include the California and Mexican poppy, the Mojave Aster, the Globe Mallow and the Desert Marigold.

In April when the daytime temperatures already approach 90°F, the cacti begin to flower in spectacular blooms. These include the Prickly Pear, the Fishhook Barrel Cactus and the Hedgehog Cactus. The signature bloom of the area, the Saguaro flower, occurs in June when the temperatures can easily exceed 100°F.


An overcast day in spring is the best time day for this shot. Since most of the desert days are cloudless, carrying a folding reflector/diffuser along with you is a good idea. The shot above was taken at the equivalent of a 50mm focal length lens on a full frame camera.


LENS: 28-70 mm on a full frame camera or a 17-40mm on a crop sensor camera


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Concepts: Sonoran Desert, Saguaro, Cactus, Mojave Desert, Desert, Focal length, Saguaro National Park, Phoenix, Arizona

Entities: Tucson, Cactus Forest Loop Drive, focal length, Rincon Mountains, Sonoran Desert, Desert Marigold, Rincon Mountain, Mojave Aster, Miles Hecker, California

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