Archive for Photography

Microburst Damage around Town

Broken Branches Uprooted Mesquite Tree

Damsel and I were out to do some shopping today and we saw some of the aftermath of the monsoon storm that hit our town last evening. According to reports, there were many more trees damaged or down in addition to the two shown above. Photos courtesy of Damsel.

The broken branch on the tree above left was adjacent to one of the town’s Historical Markers. Fortunately for the Little Red Schoolhouse, the tree branch fell away from the building. The uprooted mesquite tree above right was along the main road through town where we saw several other damaged and down trees and branches.

Much of the town suffered power loss and a couple of homes were evacuated due to poles or trees falling on them. Damsel and I were fortunate in that God spared us the microbursts that caused the major problems and our power was uninterrupted.

Our back retention walls continue to protect our little house from storms like the one last evening where three inches fell in an hour when the storm cell stalled right overhead. This was similar to, but not as intense as the storm that hit us on July 18 two years ago. This is the second storm this season to cause the little washes to dump flooding along the dirt road directly in front of our house.

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Queen of the Night Cactus Flower

Queen of the Night

We have been waiting for the last bud to open on the Queen of the Night cactus (Peniocereus greggii) across from our driveway. There were two buds, but one came and went already before we noticed. We managed to get this shot last evening after nine PM local time after watching the ISS fly over. Click on the image to enlarge.

There are several p. greggii growing in the wild around the property. We also have one cutting that we have growing in a pot in the courtyard. Only a couple of the cacti are accessible at night which is when the flowers open.

The cutting in the courtyard finally has shown us a new branch and we are hoping that we will be getting flowers on it too. That is not likely this year, but we will be keeping watch on it.

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Two Types of Fishhook Cactus Flowers

Mammillaria sheldonii

Mammillaria yaquensis

Both of these cacti have open flowers today. On top, open in the back patio area, is a local native mammillaria sheldonii fishhook cactus we rescued from a construction area down the road a year or two ago. Below, open in the courtyard out front is a mammillaria yaquensis fishhook cactus that was a gift from our friend Crotalus.

Click on either image to enlarge.

Update: Crotalus advises us that the top panel specimen might actually be mammillaria tetrancistra. The one we quoted above typically is found only in Mexico.

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Lantana Shrubs

Lantana

The Wikipedia Page for generic Lantana enumerates about 150 species for the genus of these shrubs. I’m not going to begin to venture a guess as to which one is depicted in the image.

We were at the Community Hospital clinic today to see one of the specialists and this nice flowering bush was along the sidewalk leading into the facility. I took this close-up of a couple of florets on the bush. In this image you can see how the more mature flowers in the cluster turn orange and yellow with age:

Lantana’s aromatic flower clusters (called umbels) are a mix of red, orange, yellow, or blue and white florets. Other colors exist as new varieties are being selected. The flowers typically change color as they mature, resulting in inflorescences that are two- or three-colored.

Click on the image to enlarge.

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Asterism - Moon and Jupiter

Moon and Jupiter

Damsel and I went out to the courtyard last night to observe a fairly close encounter between Jupiter and the Waxing Gibbous Moon. The conjunction was almost directly overhead of us when I took this photo. Jupiter is visible as a small dot in the lower right. Click on the image to enlarge.

We witnessed the Moon and Jupiter the evening before when they were a hand span apart at arms length and Jupiter being to the East. Last night, the pair were separated by only a thumbnail with Jupiter having moved to the west side of the Moon. I took the photo without the aid of a tripod using my Canon EOS REBEL SL1: 1/500 sec, F8, ISO 800, F/L 190mm.

The pair will be up there again tonight with the Moon appearing a bit fuller and further to the east of Jupiter. The weather has been very cooperative for evening visits to the courtyard after dusk with the 106° daytime temperature having diminished to under 90° by 8:30PM.

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Red Bird of Paradise Flowers

Red Bird Flowers

The first of this season’s gorgeous Pride of Barbados (a.k.a. Red Bird of Paradise) flowers have opened. This is about a week earlier than in previous years. It seems that as the shrubs mature, they get their flowers earlier.

All three of the Red Bird shrubs have flower pods; the one shown above is on the westernmost of the three and is the only one with pods open today. This past winter we cut the shrubs to the ground as usual, but shortly after that and very early in late winter, the foliage reappeared.

There are lots of flower pods out there and I expect to have a lot of these colorful flowers opening all summer. Click on the image to enlarge.

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First Triple Digit Day of 2017

Dry Heat

We observed Wickenburg’s first triple digit temperature for the year on our back patio this afternoon. It had been getting warmer for a week or so, but today it went over 100.

Damsel took a photo looking north from the road up the hill from our place as we were coming home from an errand to the grocery store. The scattered clouds did not aid in keeping it any cooler on the surface that we could notice.

The forecast is for continued warm days through Thursday when we should drop back into the high 80’s to low 90’s. There is no rain in the forecast (yet). Needless to say, the A/C went on yesterday and will likely stay on until we’re on the road again this summer.

Click on the image to enlarge.

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