Snow on the Desert

You may enlarge any image in this blog by clicking on it. Click again for a detailed view.

We’ve had a fairly wild and crazy winter this year. Lots of cool or even cold days, some significant wind, and more seasonal rain that I’ve seen in the last decade. What is likely to be the climax of the season came the night before last: it snowed.

It’s not unusual for winter storms to produce some snow at the higher elevations of our local mountains. In fact, Mt. Lemmon has a little ski resort at its summit, the southernmost ski slope in the United States. However, snow down at the level of our desert, below about 3000 feet (below about 915 meters) is unusual. I can recall only a couple of occasions when we’ve seen even a trace of snow in our neighborhood.

Yesterday morning I got up at the usual time — 5:30 a.m. — and took a look out of our rear window. It was snowing at a moderate pace and there was about an inch of the stuff in our backyard. I didn’t hesitate. As soon as it was light enough for photography — about 7:00 a.m. — I drove over to Sabino Canyon with the purpose of capturing that rarest of events, snow on the desert.

I wasn’t disappointed. The snow had transformed the desert, covering scrub vegetation and low-growing cactus with a thin blanket of white. The giant Saguaro Cacti wore white caps.

Beholding these scenes was an extraordinary experience, made more so by the fact that within two hours all of the snow had disappeared under intense sunlight. I’m glad that I made a few images of something so ephemeral and so beautiful.

Images made with a Canon R5, EF 24-70 mm f2.8 IS L zoom lens, M setting, ISO 100. First image, f8 @ 1/60, -1 2/3 stops exposure compensation. Second image, f8 @ 1/100, -2/3 stop exposure compensation. Third image, f8 @ 1/100, -1 stop exposure compensation.

3 Replies to “Snow on the Desert”

  1. […] Snow on the Desert — Sonoran Images […]

  2. picpholio says:

    Strange view to see snow in a dessert but I must admit, it gives a special touch 😉

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