Hello Friends and Family,

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

Luminarias, Part 3

The Desert Botanical Gardens covers some 145 acres and many visitors only see a fraction of the paths both during the day and during Las Noches de Luminarias. I love to get out and explore — especially when enticed by the soft notes of the Native American flute, gently carried on the cool nighttime air. Perhaps it is tradition but the Native American music always seems out away from the hustle and bustle of the entrance and the more developed parts of the garden.

And the diminished crowds allows the curious visitor to examine the ornamentation more closely — both the man-made and that of Mother Nature.

Along the way, we encounter another of the works of art by Carolina Escobar. I am still not sure what it is but it is most intriguing.

Keep going and you get out to the furthest reaches and there are still luminarias but little else.

It was here that I decided to try a longer exposure just to see what might develop. And I have to admit I was delighted with ISO 3200 and the shutter open for two seconds. First of all is the coloration of the clouds. To the naked eye, they showed no color. But the camera caught the last glimmers of the sunset which was at least an hour earlier. Looking more closely, one notices the three stars in a nearly vertical pattern to the right of the image — the belt of Orion. And just above the cactus at the far right is a very bright star — my guess would be actually the planet Venus. Then there is a mystery — what is the nearly vertical faint line on the right side of the photo? In the old days, we would have suspected a scratch on the negative. However, in the age of digital photography, there is no such thing. I am going to go way out on a limb and guess it to be a dim meteor track. Cool.

Some may have guessed that the track in the previous photo was an aircraft. Here is the two-second photo of an aircraft taking off from Sky Harbor airport. Not even close in appearance to the track above.

Also, this shot also shows a trick I learned in Santa Fe — using a small flashlight to illuminate the cactus in the foreground. There were no lights on the plants in this area — the light from the flashlight was the only artificial light around.

Back in the more "civilized" part of the garden are four sculptures by Philip Haas. The first is "Spring".



And "Winter".

Looking back, as I prepare to exit — another wonderful year for the Desert Botanical Gardens and the holiday luminarias.

Outside the gardens, I again admire the "Desert Towers" sculpture created by glass artist Dale Chihuly for his 2008 show here and which is now a permanent fixture just beyond the main entrance. I have shared images of it before but I find it so beautiful, I hope you'll indulge me as I share again.


Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com