Artful decay
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An eye for rust

As an aficionado of texture, when I came upon this old shack, I was in seventh heaven. Consider that great rusty barrel, the rain-stained wood, the stovepipe hanging at an angle, that old window missing one pane, the tattered, rusting side-panels. It was perfect! And then I discovered why is was perfect. It’s not real. This sheep…

Spider web in agave plant
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Enter the resourceful agave

The sharp tips of the giant agave are there for a purpose–to fend off predators such as javelina and hungry cattle intent on a juicy meal. Too bad somebody didn’t tell the spiders, who found the spines to be perfect tent poles for their webs. Or the wind, who discovered the web to be a…

termite skyscrapers
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The Marie Kondo of the insect world

In the desert, termite colonies thrive. It never gets cold enough to kill them, and sometimes there may be as many as twenty colonies in a yard–or under a house! After a recent rain, I found these two Lilliputian skyscrapers in a stream bed. Although the water had dried out on the surface, underneath, there…

Liquid shadows
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Luminous reflections

Who says shadows need to be hum-drum. Or even dark, for that matter. I discovered these reflections in an old building, where glass tiles threw a shifting pattern of light reflections on a dark brick wall. Their shimmering pattern of light delighted me! When we get locked into looking at an object in one way,…

Gila Woodpecker Nest
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Useful trials and errors

I was walking one morning and discovered in an old sycamore snag, this entrance to a Gila woodpecker nest. The birds are opportunists and will dig out rotten bark to make a soft, protective nest for their young. What struck me about this opening, though, were the number of false starts that surround it. The…

Reality imitating art
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The reality of art

The Phoenix Art Museum has a wonderful wing devoted to installation art, modern art, post-modern art. Imagine my surprise when I viewed this picture, looked for the artist’s name, and discovered it wasn’t “art” at all, but rather a shadowed window into the museum loggia. Great fun!  There’s a saying among prospectors. Go out looking…

T-P the house
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Accepting the inevitable

Can you just sense the sinuous curl in the paper as it drifts from the trees? It was breezy the day I took this picture, (and no, I was neither participant nor recipient!) and I shared for a moment in the feeling of exuberance the streamers portrayed. Then I thought about what I’d do if…

three roof lines
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All good things come in threes

I encountered these three roof lines in a historical district near the Phoenix Art Museum. They look alike, but are quite different. Each is painted a slightly variant shade of blue. The windows they shelter are different. The supporting posts are lodged at different points on the roof. The third bears a chimney and a…