Late evening light casts shadows on this adobe wall and boojum tree at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona.
Story Behind the Scene:
Still on our first full day in the Phoenix area, after we wrapped up our visit and portrait session with Bill, host Ken Ross took Peter Carroll and me to the Desert Botanical Garden. I like botanical gardens — they present a form of design & artistry, but with a palette comprised of living things rather than pigment or light. Since I had never been to the DBG, I was looking forward to this stop. Once we arrived, Ken, Pete and I split up and started exploring along the paths.
Evening was falling fast, and I knew I didn’t have a lot of time to use the light to advantage. I was torn between my inclination to simply wander and look at the desert flora, and being more goal-oriented. As with any new location, there was a 3-way competition between pure enjoyment, location scouting to learn the lay of the land, and actually stopping to photograph. Committing to a particular spot quickly might result in something, but could something better be found around the next bend?
Working along the paths, I found one particular building where a tall boojum tree was tucked into a corner of adobe wall. The light was hitting the scene at a good angle. I decided to pause my scouting, capture the scene, and then continue on. In framing the photograph, I wanted to make use not only of the strong contrast created by the light, in terms of bright & dark tones, but also use it to contrast chaotic organic details against architectural angles.
Ultimately this photograph was my favorite composition from our visit to the DBG. The boojum certainly has the look of a hardy desert plant; combined with the adobe wall, I found it made a good illustration of evening in the desert.