Arizona flora

Arizona flora

You may already know this, but I used to live in Arizona. I moved there when I was 19 or so and lived there for a year. A year was enough for the desert to sink into my soul.

I go back for a visit every so often and this spring I got to spend some time in northern Arizona. While I was there I pledged to only shoot film. I succeeded! But only because the one time I attempted to use my digital camera, I realized I didn't have an SD card with me. Ha! It was a relief, actually.

I shot 12 rolls of film, which doesn't seem like much, but that makes for about 400+ intentional pictures. It's not like digital, when you shoot haphazardly because it's free. On top of shooting that many film photos, about 3/4 of them were of plants. My loves.

I picked up an Arizona wildflowers book while I was there and still have hope to identify what I shot. There are so many incredible plants in the southwest. Their resilience is unparalleled. I am a human with legs and have the ability to get my own water when I want it, yet would not stand a chance in the southern sun the way cacti and other heat-loving plants thrive in it. And then their flowers! Holy wow cactus blooms are one of the seven wonders of the world. Or should be.

As difficult as it was, I plucked some images out of the hundreds to share. They were all shot on a Canon Ae-1p with either Ektar 100 or Portra 400 film. Locations range from Sedona, Flagstaff, the Grand Canyon, Sunset Crater Volcano, and Phoenix. Enjoy.

A yellow bloom on prickly pear cactus

Unidentified red cactus beauty

La cholla cactus amidst Arizona wildflowers

Heavy, fruit-bearing cactus on the right, paired with brittlebush (the yellow flowers)

Brittlebush, encelia farinosa

Desert aloe (I think)

Sculpture at Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix

Trees growing out of leftover crater and volcano debris

Trees growing out of leftover crater and volcano debris

A tree growing out of nothing at Sunset Crater Volcano

Northern Arizona

Northern Arizona, emptiness for miles

New growth along the southern rim of the Grand Canyon

Rocks at the Grand Canyon

Photographing green at the Grand Canyon

Flowers out of the dust


Prickly pear and more, Sedona

Hot, dry, and green in Sedona

Sunrise over the Grand Canyon

Thriving life at the bottom of the Grand Canyon

Is that a rain forest at the Grand Canyon? Sure looks like it.

Grand Canyon bottoms

A lone, retired bloom at the Grand Canyon

Aligator Juniper, Sedona

Lupine, Sedona. This wildflower grows readily in Minnesota ditches.

Forest floor flora, Sedona


Some very happy shrub, Sedona

Using photography for happiness

Using photography for happiness

Single images

Single images