Strong, Wild and Free
A pastry chef at the newly opened Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa, Murphy enjoys photographing wild horses at the Salt River with her sister on her days off. She knows the animals well enough to have favorites, including this stallion, whom she named Wisdom. One evening, Murphy saw Wisdom suffer an injury fending off three young rivals who attempted to steal some of his mares. Unable to keep up, Wisdom could only watch as his band sauntered away. Murphy captured this somber moment with a Canon Rebel T1i camera and a 70-300mm lens. The next evening, Wisdom was kicked again and paralyzed. He passed away that night. “This picture symbolizes his spirit to me – strong, wild and free,” Murphy says.
Juniper Trees of Sedona
Celebrating their two-year anniversary, Vandal and her boyfriend took a trip north to Sedona. The couple was scouting a spot to take photos away from the bustle of town when they stumbled upon the hilltop that facilitated this image. “[My boyfriend] was trying to get a shot of the mountains framed by the trees, but I got it instead,” Vandal says. Using an Olympus E-420 with a 14-42mm lens, the Glendale-based sixth-grade math teacher captured the mountainous landscape between the arms of a tree. With a black-and-white filter, the details in the brush become crisp.
Martin was casually hiking the Superstition Mountains with a friend on an early February morning when he stumbled upon one of the largest saguaro cacti he’d ever seen – well over 25 feet and ramrod-straight, a veritable Sears Tower of the Sonora. He pulled out his Canon 5D Mark II camera and 17-40mm lens to capture the soaring plant. Martin is an Ohio native but moved to Arizona after his father retired from the Army. The small-business owner bought his first camera about three years ago and has pursued fine-art photography ever since. “I spend every free second outside taking photos,” Martin says.
Shooting at Lockett Meadow in Flagstaff, Proffitt found herself looking up to admire the colors of the aspen tree leaves against the deep blue of the sky. The Surprise-based legal secretary managed to capture the moment using only her iPhone SE. “The scene was magical with the sight of golden leaves all around, many of which were falling gently to the ground in the blowing breeze,” she says. The photo exemplifies some of the unheralded beauty within Arizona, proving there’s more than just sun-baked sandstone, lonely saguaros and beautiful sunsets.
Healy shows us Arizona-grown onions in a state most are not familiar with: bright green shards of grass with dandelion-like puffs at the ends. The Yuma-based retiree was on a drive with his wife when he came across a field of young onions. “It’s just incredible that we have all of this agriculture thanks to the Colorado River and the vision of people to create canals in 1903 that irrigate over 68,000 acres of land,” the former gaming official says. Capturing the scene with his Canon PowerShot, he cropped the field close so it looks like an army of spring-green onion stems are on a march.
Diamondback on a Rock
Shaw threw caution to the wind when he approached this well-camouflaged serpent just off the trail during a four-day hike through the Grand Canyon. Canon Rebel XSI in hand, the Valley-based elderly-care executive crept in for a close-up and captured the snake in a rare mid-hiss pose. “Some of the members in the group were shouting at me to get back, but I didn’t feel any terror or danger in approaching,” Shaw says. “I don’t know if I’ll ever be that close to a rattlesnake in the wild again.”
Mary Lou Johnston
“I enjoy traveling and taking photos around the world… but many of my favorite shots are taken right at home in Arizona,” says Johnston, a retired teacher from Mesa. This from-the-hip image was snapped after a mother bobcat stalked Johnson’s territory and pounced on a rabbit in the front yard. The wild feline and her kitten feasted for about an hour before they hopped the fence and stopped by the backyard pool for a quick drink. Johnston stood about 10 feet away as she captured this moment with her Sony A100 camera and 300mm lens.
Four Yellow Eyes
Arizona native Tucker captured these burrowing owls with a Sony A77M2 and 500mm lens while trekking through the dwindling farmland around Goodyear. He and his wife Connie, co-curators of the Herberger Gallery at Arizona Center, love capturing Arizona’s natural beauty in their free time. “I enjoy seeing what others do not see, and this would be a good example,” he says. “Burrowing owls are less than a foot tall. Most people drive by wildlife all of the time, but do not see them.” Shooting late in the day, Tucker was able to hold the birds’ attention to get a classic “owl” performance from them – vivid, intense, almost comically alert.
A Friend for Maya
Bell has been snapping photos since she was a child, having grown up around a darkroom in a photography-loving family. Now with a family of her own, she was moved to shoot this image of an expecting Arizona couple and their daughter, Maya. “It’s raw and real life,” the Scottsdale resident says. “Only they know what was being said or felt at that moment, and although you can feel the love they have for each other, it is still a moment of theirs.” Using a Nikon D7200, the stay-at-home mom and amateur photographer caught the intimate scene at a distance, shooting the family back-lit in a picturesque fold of Papago Park.
Watson Lake No. 1
One of the things Hollander – an attorney from Buffalo Grove, Illinois – loves most about Arizona is Watson Lake near Prescott. “I just think it’s a magical place,” says the avid amateur photographer, who owns a home in Arizona and visits frequently. “Between the boulders and the plants and the birds and the lake… I could spend days there.” Shooting his beloved lake on a warm afternoon in March, Hollander achieved the ethereal effect depicted here via a Canon 50D converted for infrared photography, which “reacts to a different spectrum than normal daylight… water and sky go jet-black and foliage goes white.”
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