Friday, April 30, 2010

Sky Friday - a View from Above

This post was originally intended for last Friday, but no internet access kept that from happening.

I must admit that I'm a nervous flier.  I don't enjoy anything about the process of traveling by airplane, particularly all the stepped-up - and to my mind, pointless - security that followed 9/11.  I'm always hugely relieved to just be at my destination, wherever that is.

That being said, I have always requested window seats, as I love the view of the earth from above, and looking out the window at the horizon and earth below is usually more interesting than the in-flight movie. When I fly now, I never go without my camera.   On the day I flew out of Tucson, the sky was filled with beautiful, chunky cumulus clouds.  Part of me was excited, because this had the potential for some great photos.  The other part was anxious, as clouds of this type almost always mean a bumpy take-off and that is what I dread the most about flying.    I have these visions, admittedly totally irrational, about the plane falling apart as we hit the turbulent air that is responsible for producing the clouds I so much love.  Clearly, the amygdala - the fear-generating part of the brain - is overriding my higher brain functions at this point.

I just finished reading a book about Georgia O'Keefe and discovered that she, too was afraid of flying, but once in the sky, was likewise captivated by the view, so I guess I'm in good company there!  Later in her career and in her 70's, she did a series of paintings based on her observations and sketches from the air, including one of her last pieces that was 8'x24' in size.   The abstract quality of these is too compelling not to do a series of paintings at some point

At any rate, the flight from Tucson to Atlanta was fantastic as far as the views went, primarily because of the glorious clouds that graced a good portion of the sky along the route.  It is just a sweet thing to be able to see the clouds from their own level or look down upon them.

I hope you enjoy these.  Last summer, following a trip we took out to Durango, I started a Picasa gallery dedicated to clouds and sky taken from above.  You can see them here.  Eventually, I'll post all the photos I took on this trip to the gallery once I'm able to resize them.

Clouds with Valley and Shadows
Shortly after take-off, we are within the cumulus layer.  The mountains seen are the Santa Ritas, to the south.  

From a Cumulus Point of View
Continuing our ascent, this layer of clouds is just alive with color, depth and texture!  

The beautiful red earth of the desert contrasts with the clouds and their cast shadows in this wide-angle shot, while the horizon appears to go on forever.  Location:  New Mexico or western TX.

Rogue Cloud
This towering and curiously-shaped cumulus congestus is breaking ranks with its more sedate neighbors and dreams of evolving into a cumulonimbus.  Location:  TX

Defining Line
This scattered layer of cumulus humilis and medocris sits within in the human-caused smog layer in the approach to Atlanta. 

Afternoon Light
Warm light hits the face of this cumulus as we now drop below the cloud layer.  

Downtown Atlanta
This photo violates the rules of composition, yet it still manages to be interesting because of the perspective and the fact that there are interesting things going on everywhere.  

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Critters! Denizens of the Desert

One of the side-benefits to the hiking I do out in the desert is the chance to see wildlife.  Didn't see much during my stay in Bisbee; most of the mammals, such as deer and javalina, were hidden away during the day.  However, since being in Tucson, I was treated to a wondrous display of various desert creatures.  Most small, some warm-blooded, some venomous, some not. 

These aren't going to showcase my photography skills in any way, and certainly indicate the lack of a telephoto lens that would have helped show more detail.  But, I thought I would share them anyway.  Back in CT, I posted a series of animal photos that can be found here; these are decidedly different than those!

Enjoy these funny and imposing creatures that inhabit the Sonoran desert region.  I've identified the species, if possible, and included information on its location: 

Shell Shocked
This unidentified species of lizard is the only one of the batch that was not found during a hike; rather he was the unfortunate victim of my mom's dog's hunting instinct.  After getting her to drop what was in her mouth, I discovered he only had what appeared to be a minor injury to his leg.  Prior to carrying him out of the fenced yard, I decided to take the opportunity to try and photograph his wonderfully patterned skin.  He's perched on a weathered stump in my mom's front yard.  Probably too terrified to move, he sat obligingly .  I carefully placed him under a creosote bush near the house and left.  Later, when I came back, he was gone.  I hope this meant he recovered and went on his way.  

Hare in Repose
The last Friday I was in town, I went on a hike in SNP up the Sendero-Esperanza trail.  It was a glorious afternoon - sunny and rather hot.  Shortly after beginning it, I saw a pair of *huge* ears that could only belong to one of the countless Black-Tailed jackrabbits (Lepus californicus) in the area.  She's clearly wanting to avoid the heat, and made no immediate effort to go loping off as they usually do.  I carefully and slowly moved forward to get this photo.  Eventually, however, I got too close for comfort, so she got up and casually hopped off into the brush.  Love the ears!

Braving the Current
These striking black and white birds were in the Santa Cruz river, one of two (along with the San Pedro, near Bisbee) that runs from south to north on the west side of Tucson.   They were quite chatty, and watching them walk through the water on their long, stilt-like legs was amusing.  I'm not a bird person, so I have no idea what type of waterfowl they are, or whether they are migratory or permanent members of this riparian area.

A Cautious Glance
This small lizard, possibly a zebra-tailed lizard (Callisarus draconoides), was one of dozens along the Sendero-Esperanza trail.  Usually, they zip off into the brush, allowing nothing more than a quick glance.  However, slowly and carefully kneeling, while extending the camera, allowed me to get this shot of her before she skittered off up the slope.
This fellow was basking right in the middle of the Sendero-Esperanza trail, on one of the raised sections put in by a trail crew.  I believe he is a Common Side-Blotched lizard (Uta stansburiana).  I was able to get surprisingly close by using the same technique as with the above photo.  The texture, along with the beautiful texture and pattern, remind me of an elegant beaded design.

Having a Dirt Nap
April is rattlesnake season in the desert.  This western diamondback (Crotalus atrox) was right on the edge of the Cactus Wren trail, in SNP.  I ran along this trail regularly while staying in Tucson, and saw this gent on my last full day (Tuesday, April 20), and on my last run.  He was the 4th rattlesnake (and third species) I saw while I was in Tucson, and the only one I've ever seen sleeping.  He was situated near the trailhead access, and was still present when I ran past on my way back.  After I got home, I drove back with my camera, and was able to take several shots without disturbing him.  

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Back in Connecticut

My winter stay in AZ officially came to a close last Wed when I got on the Boeing 757 out of Tucson.  Spending 4 months in Bisbee was a memorable experience, one I'll always cherish.  Being back with my boyfriend and my cat Nelson (who is sitting on my lap as I type this) is great; going through day #4 of grey, rainy skies with no sun and temps in the low 50's:  not so much.  Clearly, New Englanders are used to this sort of weather  and take it in stride.  I, however, have never been able to adapt to it in the 3 years I've spent here, which is what prompted my trip back to AZ.

The first 3 days I was back were at least sunny and spring-like.  We took advantage of this on Saturday, and went for a walkabout in our neighborhood and through downtown Mystic, about a mile away from where we live.  Images below are from that walk.

Red Barn and Cherry Tree

Upon returning, I was dismayed to discover two issues:  #1, my old PC had finally decided that it was not going to connect to the internet, ever.  It had been giving me problems for the past few months, with an intermittent error message of "network cable is unplugged".  Somehow, inexplicably, that message became permanent after sitting for 5 months unplugged.   I had no internet access for the first 4 days I was back, which was exasperating.

My frustration with the problems of Windows-based computers has been increasing over the years, and I'd made the decision that my next computer would be an Apple.  Since I no longer need any PC-dependent software for my current purposes, the decision was easy.   Using my mom's MacBook while in Tucson further convinced me to get a Mac.

First Lilacs of Spring

After careful consideration, and input from Wayne and my friend Kenny (also a former PC user), I went ahead and purchased the iMac 21.5" computer, which is what I'd wanted when I first saw it months ago back in AZ.  It is glorious!  
Mystic River Reflections

Issue #2 is that the Post Office managed to somehow destroy the box of books and magazines that I shipped back via media mail.  These included 5 years worth of Pastel Journal magazines, countless art instruction books, two of my favorite (and new) baking books and a year's worth of Cook's Illustrated magazines.   Given that my books are my most cherished material items, this has been most upsetting.  I have sent an itemized list to the PO recovery center in Atlanta, and will cross my fingers that they are able to locate as many as possible and return them.
Tulips and Daffodils

Thankfully, all my art supplies (shipped via UPS) made it safely here on the date promised.  So, I can now get back to painting.  Now that I am back, I am also able to work on bigger scale papers/canvases, which I am excited to do.  I have so many ideas for paintings and new techniques and subject matter to try out that it is nearly overwhelming!

No stunning sunsets or sunrises to photograph here in CT, so I'll continue to post images taken in AZ for the Sky Friday series.  Tomorrow's post will be desert wildlife, but in the meantime, here's a final photo of a not-so-wild swan, who was clearly looking for hand-outs along the Mystic River docks on Saturday:
Cheeky Beggar 

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Afternoon Sky at Picture Rocks - pastel

Here is the last of the pastels I've done lately.  It was completed on Sunday night, and my inspiration for it was a photo taken from my mom's house of one of the rare days when clouds cover the sky.  No rain this day, however.  

Pastel artist Deborah Secor has an ongoing pastel book that she is posting via a dedicated blog.  She has decided to offer it for all to use, at no charge!  The link can be found in the right hand colum in my blog.  Reading her recent chapter on painting clouds inspired me to experiment yet again with colors in the clouds.  I tinkered with this painting perhaps a bit more than I would have, and the mountains/land are a bit contrived (it's not about the landscape here), but I learned a lot working on this piece. 

"Afternoon sky over Picture Rocks"
pastel on Canson M-T paper, 9x12

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Two plein air pastels

It has been over 20 years since I did any plein air painting, and that was during one of the art classes I attended while at the U of A.  When I came out to AZ, I shipped my French portable easel out anticipating lots of outdoor painting.  Alas, that did not happen.  Weather, lack of a travel tray for my pastels, aversion to sunburn, and other reasons really kept me from going out. 

However, the other day, I was tired of being inside.  It was a beautiful warm day out, not too windy, and beautiful swirling and fan-shaped cirrus clouds were decorating the sky.  I decided to do some plein air sketches of the clouds/sky, and then my attention turned to the nearby section of the Tucson Mtns. that is east of where my mom lives.  I love the way the afternoon light falls on these; I've taken some photos, but never as a dedicated photo session.  It occured to me, however, that I didn't have to go anywhere to paint these!  In fact, I could sit in a chair, in the shade, which clinched the deal.

The first is a quick study I did of one of the cirrus sets above the house; these are very fast-moving clouds, and by the time I'd blocked in my sky, the cloud itself was already well to the south.  But, it was good practice.  These were not the wispy cirrus clouds one often sees, but thick, robust clouds that blocked out most of the blue sky towards the horizon.

The second is of the mountains.  Not trying to create any sort of masterpiece here was good, because I couldn't be overly concerned about composition:  the foreground area from where I was sitting is my mom's backyard, an ugly chainlink fence, and neighbor's homes.  Not interesting to look at, let alone paint.  So, I just left it with the tree tops present in neighboring properties to account for the foreground.  I was also delighted that clusters of cumulus clouds were appearing in the distance, adding some contrast to the higher cirrus and the mountains themselves.  The mountains themselves are primarily volcanic in nature, with rough, red cliffs and rocky slopes covered in saguaro cacti, mesquite and other Sonoran desert vegetation.

I used a limited palette here; maybe 8 colors total.  Not much more was needed.

cirrus study - pastel, 5x7"

"East Towards Panther Peak"
pastel on sanded paper, 9x11"

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Another sunset in pastel

Here is another take on a sunset painting.  No billowy cumulus or wavy patterned altostratus here.  This is based on a crop of a photo taken in early March off of a road west of Bisbee off of Hwy 80 on the way to Sierra Vista.  In my original photo, three sets of mountains were visible:  the Santa Ritas, Mustangs and Whetstones.  I chose to not be specific to the mountains represented, as placing a single set within the vertically-oriented landscape seemed contrived.  So, it's just a portion of two. 

I was drawn to the bands of color which produce an abstracted pattern.  More experimentation with Canson as well - lots of blending here to maintain the soft edges of these streaking clouds.  The sun is well below the horizon at this point, but is still influencing the sky.

"Fractured Sunset"
pastel on Canson M-T paper.  12x9"

Monday, April 19, 2010

January Storm - pastel

Well, my time in AZ is rapidly drawing to a close; this will be my last chance to post to the blog before I leave on Wed.  I've not had time to do blog updates since late last week, but I have a variety of posts set to go for the next few days - at least to hold me over until I return and have access to my home computer once again.

I have, at least, been busy collecting (and creating) more material for the blog, both photos and paintings.  The next three days will feature paintings, posted in the order they were completed.

First is a painting based on one of the many photos I took of the winter storms while in Bisbee, in my favorite location off High Lonesome road east of town.  Nothing safe or warm and fuzzy about this cloudscape; I was drawn to its uncertainty and the energy contained within the clouds, and I personally love dramatic skies like this.  I also decided to experiment a bit with colors here, although not as much as a later painting.  I used a variety of colors to create these greys - reds, purples, blues, along with my favorites, the MV Thunderstorm Gray set.

"January Storm off High Lonesome Rd"
pastel on sanded paper - 9x11"

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Spring Cottonwoods - pastel

This most recent pastel was completed a few days ago and was inspired by a photo I took along Arivaca Creek on the BANWR trip last Sunday.

My goal/objective with the painting was to focus on the cottonwoods, specifically the way the afternoon light was catching the tops and open areas of the trees along the creek.  To that end, I feel I succeed to some extent - I do think the trees are the focal point of the painting.  As any landscape painter knows, it can be a technical challenge to render a group of trees convincingly.  In this situation, not only were there the cottonwoods, but the row of mesquite and other trees that made up the first layer.  As I paint, I remind myself to view the elements within the painting (or photo) as abstract shapes of various colors.  It is getting easier with each painting I do to leave out unnecessary detail, but part of the challenge is deciding exactly what is not adding anything to the painting.  

There are a few things that I could change:  the repetitional shapes of a few of the cottonwoods, and breaking up and reducing the value of the backlit lower trees, and a few other things.  I think this is an image that would lend itself perhaps better to oils (or a larger size canvas and some additional blue-grays and greens in my pastel collection.

I'm not yet finished with these cottonwoods, though, so some more paintings will probably show up at some point.

"Afternoon along Arivaca Creek"
9x11 on 320-grit sanded paper

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wildflower Series #4 - King's Cyn Trail

Here is a selection of photos taken during the hike up Wasson Peak:

Parry's Penstemon
This showy plant produces clusters of stems with multiple pink flowers.  "Penstemon" means "five stamens".  Multiple specimens were found in the sandy wash bed during the hike.

Caliche Globemallow
A very common spring flower seen along the roadsides and trails in the area.  "Caliche" is a hard layer of  calcium carbonate rock that is found under the topsoil.  This is identified from other Globemallow species by dark purple stamens (not quite visible in this photo) and wider spacing between flower branches.

Desert Onion
Examples of this plant were found in a very limited area along the trail.  I've not seen them in any other locations before or since.

Barestem Larkspur
Larkspurs are beautiful, distinctive flowers found in various biotic zones.  This was another flower found in a very discreet location along the trail.  One of the guidebooks specifically mentioned its location along this trail, so I feel lucky to have seen it.

Barestem Larkspur - close-up view

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Rock Art Series - Kings Canyon Wash, SNP

About two weeks ago, I went on a hike up Wasson Peak, located in Saguaro National Park west.  The trailhead, located right across the road from the AZ Sonoran Desert Museum, is 3.5 miles one way.  The trail crosses over a large wash on the southern slope of the mountains.  On the way back, I was struck by some large clumps of grasses forming a bright silhouette in the afternoon sun, so I jumped down to take some photos.  As I looked to the rocks on the side of the wash, my eye quickly caught some petroglyphs.  Additional inspection revealed multiple panels on both sides of the wash.

I found out later this is one of the 8 major sites located in SNP west whose location is not made public.  Reason:  vandalism and theft of the panels.  It is disheartening, and quite frankly, infuriating,  to find damage to these cultural resources.  Evidence of recent graffiti on adjacent rocks, using crayons or chalk, was also present.

Here is a selection of art from this site:

Snake form and mixed design

Hidden Sun
Easily overlooked, this design is simple but elegant

Snakes in Rock and Shadow
At least three petroglyphs have been pecked into the rock; was it just coincidence that the shadow cast by adjacent foliage produces a snake-like form that almost parallels the rock art?  Probably, but regardless, it makes an interesting mix.

Mixed figures
Curved and linear abstract shapes are seen on the front face of the rock, while additional work can be seen on the left face as well.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Wildflower Series #3

Here is another set of wildflower photos taken over the past two weeks.  The first three were taken along the Silverbell Road/Ironwood National Monument area, and the last three were taken in the Buenos Aires NWR trip on Easter.
Ocotillo bloom
These brilliant red blossoms on the end of an ocotillo cane look like the end of a lit torch when viewed from a distance.  The imposing thorns and green foliage are also clearly seen here.  Ocotillo leaves only come out after periods of rain, and are quickly shed during drought conditions to help the plant conserve water.

AZ Jewel Flower
This attractive plant goes by other names, including Silverbells.  It is frequently found growing near or under larger scrub plants.

Mexican Poppy - yellow variant
This plant shows a rare variation - pale, creamy yellow flowers - that are a contrast to the much deeper yellow-orange normally seen.

Mexican poppy - white variant
This photo, taken in a field along the BANWR dirt road, shows an even lighter variation with a dark yellow throat.  A few of these were scattered amongst the abundant orange poppies.

Also found in BANWR, these delightful flowers were frequently found alongside poppies.  None of the wildflower guides I consulted had photos I could identify as these flowers.

Godding's Vervain
These plants form eye-catching clumps along the side of the road.  This was along the dirt road in BANWR.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Mustang Mountains - pastel

Here is another painting done the other night.  No particular rhyme or reason for it, other than the appeal of the mountains and their shapes, colors and shadows grabbed me as I went through my photos.

These are a small range of mountains known as the Mustang Mtns.  They are situated north of the Huachucas and south of the Whetstones, and are visible along Hwy 82 that runs east-west between Huachuca City and Sonoita north and west of Sierra Vista.  The original photo was taken during my return trip from Flagstaff -> Tucson -> Bisbee.  I'd not driven down either Hwy 82 or 83 (north-south from Sonoita to I-10).  The drive is absolutely beautiful, and should you find yourself in southern AZ on a drive from Tucson to Bisbee or Sierra Vista, I'd absolutely recommend these two highways instead of I-10 and Hwy 80.

What I discovered with this painting, done on Artagain, is that finger blending is just not a good idea on this surface.  I attempted it on areas of the lower sky, and after that, getting any pastel to adhere to the surface was just out of the question.  So, if the sky looks a bit rough in patches, that is why.  The clouds were actually taken from another photo taken probably around the same time of day and in the same direction.  The pastel was being a bit stubborn about laying down how I wanted it, but I don't mind the looser look of the sky.

I used some recently purchased Richeson handmade pastels for the earth/grey colors leading up to the base of the mountains, and they were superb on this surface.  Ditto my Mt. Visions.

"Towards the Mustang Mountains"
pastel on paper, 9x12"

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Sunset Skies - pastel

I just don't tire of painting or photographing the skies.  I think much of the appeal of clouds is what they represent and symbolize to us - often opposing concepts:  impermanence, yet eternal; peace and quiet, yet capable of incredible destruction and noise;  far above in the sky, yet originating from water flowing beneath our feet.  They represent freedom and unrestraint and are one of the few things not under direct control by my mind, that is a great thing.  We are very much at their mercy.

Here are two paintings, both completed last night.  The first is done from a photo taken way back in November, shortly after I arrived in Bisbee.  It could be considered in some ways to be a companion piece to this painting , as it is the same cloud.  However, the time and location are different, thus resulting in different colors.  This painting focuses more on the cloud, its shape and colors, rather than as a landscape painting per se.  Only the north-facing slope of the Mules gives its perspective to the ground.

The second is based on one of the March 29 photos taken here in Tucson, and featured in yesterday's Sky Friday post.  I just love these unexpected cloud shapes that appear, and how the cloud is transformed into something almost surreal by the setting rays of the sun.

I headed back to my favorite sanded papers for the surface, the first dry-mounted to a piece of Artagain and the other on a reclaimed piece from an earlier failed painting.  Both were done in 30-45 min. ea.

"Late November"
pastel on sanded paper, 9x11"

"Catching the Light"
pastel on sanded paper, 9x11"

Friday, April 9, 2010

Sky Friday - March 29 Sunset

These photos were taken from last week's sunset, and from the backyard property of my mom's house.  Looking out the dining room window of her house will get you a direct view of the setting sun over the mountains to the west; it's no wonder at all she loves living here!

Last night, I completed a few paintings, including one of a photo taken (not shown) during this set.  I'll post that tomorrow.

To the West
The colors in the sky are vivid right where the sun has set.  
To the North
The colors are more muted north, and slightly west, of the setting sun

To the Southwest
This dramatic cloud sweeps skyward as it catches the fading rays of the sun

Another view to the northwest
This is more towards the west than the earlier image.

This zoomed shot shows more detail, and changes in color, of the first southwestern view.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Trip to Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge

On Easter, I decided to head out in the early afternoon and go explore BANWR.  It is located southwest of Tucson, off of Hwy 286 about 58 miles, and isn't that well-known by Tucsonians, probably because it was only established as a wildlife refuge in 1985.  Since I'm trying to make the most of my remaining time here, it seemed like an interesting location to visit.  To learn more, here is the link to the website homepage .

The weather on Sunday afternoon was idyllic - sunny with highs in the low 70's.  The elevation of BANWR is a bit higher than Tucson, which made for a very comfortable outing.

Normally for this blog, my purpose is to post photos that I feel are the best of those taken at a given location or of a particular subject.  In this case, because of the time of the day, the photos aren't really that great - nothing I'd really consider worthy of printing and framing.  No beautiful clouds to add to the picture, or even a single photo of wildlife, most of which stays hidden during the day.  However, I decided to post some anyway, primarily to bring viewers along on my trip and hopefully give a sense of why I love hiking and exploring the areas of the southwest.

During my time in AZ, I've been driving a Buick Park Avenue, graciously lent by a family friend.  I ended up driving it down a dirt road that I located on my map that appeared to lead to the refuge's visitor center, located a few miles off Hwy 286.  What I didn't know was the condition of the road, which would have been perfect for my Jeep Wrangler, but not something I'd knowingly take a passenger car on.   It was an adventure, helped along by no cell phone coverage and not a single person or vehicle seen on the road.  A combination of luck and backcountry driving experience, and I was able to negotiate the Buick through unscathed.

A quick stop by the informative visitor's center, and then it was back up the highway and to the east to the small town of Arivaca, which is on the northeastern edge of the refuge property.  Along the way, I located the trailhead of one of the trails I'd read about on the website, so after getting gas and something to eat, I headed back to take the hike.

Below are a selection of photos from my trip.  Others I took will also no doubt become the subjects for future paintings.

Looking Back
This view to the northeast shows a curving section of the dirt road I'd just come along.  Looks fine in the photo, but it became gnarly as it crossed the small wash.   Isolated patches of Mexican poppies were found along these gently sloping hills and amongst the mesquite bosques.

Grassland and Baboquivari Peak
Taken just east of Hwy 286, this photo shows the characteristic grasslands of the refuge, and some of the ubiquitous Mexican poppies.  Baboquivari (pronounced "babbo-KEEV-uh-ree") Peak is considered sacred to the Tohono O'Odham people that live in the area; the mountain is actually located on their reservation to the west.

Fremont Cottonwoods in Arivaca Creek
To me, there are few things more visually stunning than a line of brilliant green (or yellow in the fall) cottonwoods lining a creek or river in the middle of the desert.  They, along with aspen, are my favorite trees.  This was taken along the creek (mostly dry) along the Mustang Trail I was hiking.  View is to the west.  AZ sycamore, back walnut, and other species of tree are also found in watershed areas such as this.

Arivaca Creek from El Cerro peak
I started this hike in the late afternoon, and this is 2.5 miles from the trailhead and perhaps 800' elevation gain.  This photo and the next were taken shortly before 6 p.m.  The trail was rough and rocky and a bit steep right at the end, but I'm a fast hiker and got up to the top in about an hour.  What a view - these images sum up why I hike.

Baboquivari from El Cerro
Another shot from the summit, this time looking to the northwest.

Sunset along the Mustang Trail
Taken on the way back down, this shows the warm glow of the late afternoon light has transformed Baboquivari Peak and its range into a simplified silhouette against the cloudless sky.  A variety of desert scrub, cacti and grasses make up the foreground.

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