Favorite Travel Quotes

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts."
-- Mark Twain
Innocents Abroad

"Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey." -- Fitzhugh Mullan

"A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving." -- Lao Tzu

Organ Pipe Photo Restospective

Departing Organ Pipe

Departing Organ Pipe

©Bert Gildart: Though we are returning to Organ Pipe on Monday to accompany a Park Service led drive to Quitobaquito, currently we’re at Rich Luhr’s in Tucson, Arizona. Rich produces Airstream Life Magazine and in the course of writing stories for him, we’ve become good friends. Over the years now, we’ve rendezvoused about a dozen times. Another Airstream couple, Adam and Sue Maffei, are also “courtesy parking” at Rich and Elenaor’s, and in the last few years we’ve also rendezvoused with them. They’re a delightful couple and once worked for Public Radio.

MEXICO OR ORGAN PIPE?

In a day or so the Luhr’s and Maffei will be departing Tucson for a week long trip to Mexico. We were, of course, invited to join, but I have other priorities at the moment, and one of them is to learn more about Organ Pipe and some of the immigration problems. In other words, though the park is now out of sight, it is not out of mind. As a result, we offer here a few photographs from time spent this past week in that park, and hope they suggests the beauty spring in this desert has to offer.

Matilda Saraficio, a memember of the Tohono O’odam tribe, still harvests saguaro cactus. She also makes baskets from beargrass and other native vegetation. In the past Janie has purchased her baskets, and we carry a small one with us in our Airstream to hold coins and other loose items. They are exquisitely made. Photographically, the light streaming over her shoulder presented a problem, so I used a strobe. The light from the strobe complements the sunlight meaning that I was actually using two light sources. Nikon makes it easy to balance the two sources with their TTL lighting, an inherent part of their SB-800 strobe.

Matilda Saraficio creates baskets

Matilida Saraficio creates baskets

ORGAN PIPE: It is always a challenge to dramatize the organ pipe species, and so I photographed a large clump with backlighting, allowing the sun to register in the lower right hand corner. I thought the silhouette might dramatize the pipe appearance of the desert plant, which only grows in North America in Organ Pipe National Monument.

Organ Pipe

Organ Pipe

Brittle Brush now covers many hillsides, though it appears as though it is starting to fade. It has been blooming, however, for over a month and has been with us not only in Organ Pipe but in several other desert parks as well.

Brittle Brush

Brittle Brush

Cholla: I used two strobes to photograph what I believe is Teddy Bear Cholla. I held my two SB-800 strobes off to either side. By setting the strobes at f32 and the shutter on the camera at 250, the strobes so overwhelmed the existing daylight that the background went dark, helping to isolate the color of the flowers and dramatize further the spiny nature of this species of cacti.

Cholla

Cholla

As mentioned, Janie and I will be returning to Organ Pipe and be joining a group to Quitobaquito springs, a particularly beautiful spot in the monument. Getting there is symbolic of the problems the park now suffers, specifically, the illegal border crossing. To see these beautiful springs, the park must send out an advanced patrol to make sure no illegal immigrants are in the area, particularly ones smuggling drugs and that could be potentially dangerous. After the park has been assured the area is safe, we then board a van that is further protected by rangers and then make the drive.

To prepare myself for the return to Organ Pipe I’ve been reading articles about the immense problems created by illegal immigrants. By joining this group I’m hoping to learn more about what the future bodes for this spectacular desert park.

(Where were we about a year ago ? Not far from Organ Pipe–and Tucson.)



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