On our recent trip to Tucson, we paid another visit to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. The Desert Museum is a beautiful facility 10-15 miles west of Tucson. Perhaps its best description is that it is a combination botanical garden and zoo that features local flora and fauna. Everything about it is well done. Unfortunately, even though I brought my camera, I didn't wind up with much to show for it. Here is what I got.
Saguaro cactus are truly iconic: They are featured prominently on Arizona license plates. But they are surprisingly difficult to photograph, especially in mid-day light. I finally took the following shot by looking almost straight up this cactus, which stood perhaps 15 feet high. Mehh.
A lot of the desert plants were flowering, this being April, and I caught the following blossom.
One of the larger agave plants puts up a very tall flowering spire, again, very difficult to photograph. Here I decided the best I could do would be to pose the flowering portion against the bright sky.
Yes. This is the plant's flower.
The Desert Museum also features local fauna. One of the best is a hummingbird aviary. I took a number of shots during our visit to the aviary, but I only had my 24-120 mm lens, so I didn't have the "reach" that I needed to capture such small creatures. This was the best of the shots that I took. Needless to say, it is significantly cropped.
The Desert Museum also includes a reptile house. Here is a photo of a gila monster.
And another of a very grumpy looking frog.
The reptile house was relatively brightly lit as far as such places go, but it was still dark relative to the sunlit exterior. The above photos were shot with the lens wide open and at an ISO of 1600. The frog actually looks pretty good, considering.
Finally, was a pen featuring Rocky Mountain sheep, including this ram who was seemed to be posing just for me.
One characteristic I realized in looking at this image close up is that the sheep's eyes are really set far apart. Here is a closeup that shows that.
I'm not sure what the evolutionary reason for this is. It could be to allow the sheep to better spot predators. Perhaps more likely it is to allow better parallax vision to give the sheep superior depth perception as it clambers around on steep rocky terrain.
The Desert Museum is a "don't miss" attraction for anyone visiting the Tucson area.