The Lake and the Desert

Life in abundance thrives in the narrow margin that separates Canyon Lake from the desert. Grasses, small shrubs, birds and small mammals  live in an interesting oasis that rims this man made lake about 15 miles north east of Phoenix, Arizona along highway 88, the Apache Trail.

I hadn’t been out on photo walk for several weeks. Geezers are busy people so when some free time popped up last Thursday I pointed my truck towards Superstition Mountain and started off.

Photographing this area is one of my on going projects. I’ve hiked this area at many different times of the day searching for the best light possible. The mountain itself as seen from Highway 88 is best photographed in the receding light of late afternoon. On this occasion I was out in the morning about an hour after sunrise.

Not unexpectedly, the quality of the light was not suitable. The crags and crevices of the cliff faces were completely in shadow. Not good for the vision I had in mind. I continued on.

Highway 88 tracks through desert, mountains and hills. It’s narrow. In some places corners are tight. This is not a speed road. Rather it is one where care must be taken but in doing so one can enjoy the many wonders of desert life.

Canyon Lake is man made. Its dams back water up into several canyons. The contrast between blue water and the dry desert was stunning. My first view of the lake was from an overlooking viewpoint.

Steep cliffs rise above Canyon Lake

Steep cliffs rise above Canyon Lake

It was a windy day. No reflections…only sunny clear skies, blue water and the desert. I captured a few images using an 80mm to 200mm Nikon lens on my d300s. I drove a few miles further to Tortilla Flats making notes about what to expect from light at sunrise and sunset. I thought the rising full moon in mid March would be interesting. I’d either have to leave home in the dark or arrive back at the end of the day in the dark to get the best light and hopefully calm waters.

A vibrant ecosystem thrives on the shores of Canyon Lake

A vibrant ecosystem thrives on the shores of Canyon Lake

This entry was posted in My Work, Travel.


  1. tom skinner February 22, 2014 at 5:46 pm #

    Hi Stu( geezer)
    nice to read you are out and about
    We are in Palmsprings till March 1st then off to Klamath Falls for some Am white pelicans, and then possibly home, witha side trip to Vancouver
    We will have to touch bas when u get home
    have fun. Hi to Ellen

    • Stu Dale March 1, 2014 at 4:12 pm #

      Hi Tom,
      i missed your comment from last week. Hope you had a good stay in Palm Springs. Today I imagine you are on the road to Klamath Falls. Weather has changed here as I image it will have for you. Drive safely. Yes we will have to touch base. Take care.

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