Dirt's Eye View



We had only been in Arizona for a couple of days, and like many sun-starved Northerners, Mrs and I wanted to just lay by the pool and soak it all in. We had suggested to my daugher and her husband that perhaps we would wander on down to their house later in the day so that we could all go to the art fair in Scottsdale.

Our pool side sunning was interrupted by a phone call. "Why aren't you guys here? If we don't leave soon we will miss everything because the fair closes soon.


Since we were quite a ways north of Scottsdale we did a quick 2 step shower thing and the lead foot thing and headed on south to the fair. We told my daughter to head on off to the fair and we picked a place to meet.

I'm used to free fairs, so six bucks a head to just wander around seemed like a bit of a hold-up, but this isn't the Old West any more, and the council for the arts does have bills to pay.

You might imagine what I like to look at when I do wander through an art fair. And yes, it's the photography. I do however, feel a bit guilty looking sometimes at the images for quite a long time. I feel guilty because I've never been willing to part with any cold hard cash for someone else's images to hang on my walls. To be sure, I've found images that I'd love to have hanging either in my office or my house, but generally they are priced well over $500 and that's just been out of my mental reach.

I also am quite sure that trying to make a living sitting in a booth at an art fair is not in my cards. I think that after a day or two I'd be found running around looking for a tall building that I could leap off of. But at the Scottsdale fair there was one particular booth that really caught my eye, staffed by a pair of photographers that run their own nature workshops right there out of Scottsdale. (web site is www.natureworkshops.com).

I stood and talked for a few minutes to Roger Devore about an image that he had full of Arizona wildflowers. It was a really great shot of some indian ruins framed in the front with a carpet of vivid wildflowers. Roger mentioned that he was taking out a group in a couple of weeks to shoot wildflowers and I asked if there was anywhere near Phoenix where he thought I might find some.

He mentioned that just a couple of days earlier he had been out on a scouting trip out east of Phoenix and had found fields of wildflowers out at a place called Florence Junction. I wrote down the directions to Florence Junction and thanked Roger for the advice. I shared my enthusiasm for a trip out to the junction with my son-in-law and daughter and was met with, "you want to go where to take pictures of flowers? Surely we can find flowers closer than Florence Junction. That's way out in the middle of nowhere, and besides, there is really nothing there."

Well I thought, what about the flowers.

The next day we fit in a soccer game, lounging at the pool and headed on out for a dual purpose trip, to find some flowers "closer to town" and to also check out some open houses in the area where we want to live.

But as you can read in the entry about Eagle Eyes, it was the bird that stole the show, not the bees nor the flowers.

We saw a couple of nice houses, and we saw the Bald Eagle, but we saw almost no flowers.

Saguaro lake was nice, and I was able to capture a nice panorama, but the only flowers we found there were tucked away in the late afternoon shade.

"See," I pointed out. "Those are the flowers I'm looking for, the yellow ones are California poppies, I'm not sure what the blue ones are."

As the evening drew to a close, I figured that we just might be able to see some of the flowers on our next day's drive south to Tucson.

But I was wrong, there were no flowers to be seen. As a matter of fact, for large stretches of the highway approaching Tucson I thought that the road had been laid through a garbage dump, and that the median was some kind of special collection site for all of the trash that one could collect between Phoenix and Tucson.

I saw a jet graveyard, but no flowers.

We took a tour of the Saguaro national forest and you gessed it, no flowers there.

We spent about three hours in the desert wildlife museum, and finally, there in the middle of the zoo/museum, was a really nice patch of flowers.

But I wanted to see a carpet of flowers, and not try and shoot around the garbage cans.

I've not really seen many carpets of wildflowers, save for one very memorable trip in the north of Israel in the the spring. I lay in the fields there and shot a roll or two of images of the red poppies, but set the camera down for a moment and it was stolen.

That's the only roll of film I've ever lost in my life, and I still remember those poppies.

But you know what?

By the time we returned to Phoenix on Wednsday, I was a bit frustrated about the whole flower thing. So Thursday afternoon, while Mrs was doing the continuing education thing, I pointed the car out highway 60 in Mesa and then kept on going another 13 miles after the freeway ended.

They were there alright, and they did the carpet thing in glorious yellow and blue.

The wind was very stiff even by Arizona standards, so the challenge was to try get the images I wanted while the flowers danced.

At the end of the day I can say that I was quite happy to have all the time I wanted to sit and crouch in the dirt right down there with all that color. I'm sure that if I had a car full of people waiting on me that I would have never been satisfied, and I would have always wanted time to shoot just one more.

As it was, I needed to head on back after a short while so that Mrs could use the car for her interview later that afternoon.

What's a hundred and twenty mile round trip drive, when you get a screen background or two for your computer?

Oh yes, lest I forget. They finally called today about the interview. Mrs was told that they were anxious out there in Arizona to have her start work and they are flying her back out in a couple of weeks for the final interviews.

I guess you'd call that a buying sign.

And although it's not yet an offer, I hope that I now know for next year, where to go find flowers.