Desert Photography Show

The Cabeza Prieta Natural History Association’s annual photography show opened March 7 and runs to March 19. It’s located in the foyer next to Art Under the Arches Gallery, in Ajo.

This show is part of the Sonoran Shindig, a festival celebrating the Sonoran Desert with live entertainment, food, vendors, informational booths and activities.

Both amateur and professional photographers are invited to submit entries in one of 6 categories. There is also a Best in Show winner.

Winners are chosen by popular vote. You can choose your favorites, mark them on the entry form and drop it in the ballot box. Winners will be announced at the Shindig in the Plaza on Saturday March 19.


Call for Artists — Heat Wave

Looking for ideas for the upcoming fall season? Check out Heat Wave —a celebration of the art and culture of the Sonoran Desert.

For more information and an application form, contact Jill Forenzini. (Look for “Heat Wave Helpful Links” in the righthand column.)

Click on the images below for a larger view.

Heat Wave page 1A

Heat Wave page 2

Where’s the Inspiration?

If you create art you’ve probably been asked where you get your ideas. That’s a question with many answers.

This necklace, my latest piece of beadwork, was inspired by recent hikes on the desert — there’s an amazing array of colors and shapes to choose from and part of the fun is working them into the design.

What’s inspiring you these days?

Hedgehogs in Bloom

These are special days on the desert — new flowers are popping out everywhere. Right now the hedgehog cacti are stealing the show.

If you’re thinking of entering the Sonoran Shindig photo contest next spring, now’s a good time to grab your camera. And if you’re a painter or watercolorist thinking about next February’s Red Show in the Plaza Gallery, there’s no shortage of inspiration out there.

Click on any photo to see larger views in slide show format.

The Desert Show

“The Desert” is the theme of the current art show at the Plaza Gallery in Ajo, AZ. It encompasses desert views through a variety of media — photographs, paintings, fabric, water colours and found objects.

Haven’t seen it yet? The show is up until Monday April 1st — no foolin’!

The next show — “Renewal” — runs April 5 to May 1. The opening reception is Friday April 5th, from 5 to 7. All are welcome!

Virtual Art Week 2: Cactus Flowers

I found this buckhorn cholla on the desert west of the Five Acres. Most of the buckhorn blooms I’ve seen have been yellow with a strip of red/magenta running the length of each petal.

But I was in for a surprise yesterday when I was out hiking — I actually found two cholla plants with this striking color.

And who be me? I’m Sally Banks, web master (or is that mistress:-)?) of this blog. I’m a beader and a photographer — captivated by color in all its varied hues.

Celebrating the Desert

In conjunction with the recent Tri-National Sonoran Desert Symposium, the Cafeteria Gallery mounted a show to celebrate this very special place..

I was particularly drawn to the watercolors by Sells, AZ artist Michael Chiago Sr. It’s the first time I’d seen his work — I loved the bright colors and the scenes he chose to depict. Others obviously did too. I saw lots of red “sold” stickers on his pieces.

Patty Tucker is another artist whose work draws in the eye. It’s constructed from a piece of palm frond. When I first saw this piece it reminded me of a giant moth resting on the wall. Neat stuff.

The desert certainly inspires new ways of looking at the world.


Sonoran Shindig Photo Contest

Once again, the Shindig had a great photo exhibit hosted by the Cabeza Prieta Natural History Association. Over 250 people voted for their favorites among the 137 entries in the 2012 exhibit “Celebrating the Sonoran Desert”.

Lani sets up voting materials

Best-in-Show honors –  Michelle Angel with her Sonoran sunset, looking like a quilted sky, from the Patterns in the Desert category.

Michelle Angel won Best in Show and First in Desert Patterns

People in the Desert  – 1st, Adrianne Rankin’s petroglyph photo. She also took 2nd with a photo of an ancient pot left behind by peoples long gone from this place. 3Rd, John Rodall, a line of hikers in a black and white photo.

Desert Places – 1st John Rodall with a colorful picture of a window frame at Victoria Mine.   2nd, Donna Verran, the ranch house at Alamo Canyon. 3rd Wendee Clouthier, a black and white photo of a “Left Behind” watering tank from the historic days of Ajo.

Desert Landscapes –  1st Karen Johnson a brillant red sky sunset, 2nd Darlene Reddick the cottonwood tree at Quitobacquito Pond,  also tied for 2nd, John Rodall’s rock formation “A Lion in the Desert”.  3rd, Karen Doolin’s interesting clouds that became “Three Angels Over Ajo”.

Desert Plants – 1st Robin Russell a side view of cactus flowers, 2nd Sharon Wilson, poppies surrounding a “driftwood” mesquite log.  3rd was another tie between Robin Russel’s cactus photo and Darlene Reddick’s red cactus flowers.

Sharon Wilson's "Driftwood" Second Place in "Desert Patterns" Category


Desert Animals – 1st Darlene Reddick, two burros looking out from behind a saguaro, aptly titled “Peek-a-Burro”.  2nd. Tony Friesen with a magnificent  horned owl coming in for a landing with wings spread wide.    3Rd, Darlene Reddick  –  two look-alike burros, maybe even sisters, peering at the camera.

Patterns in the Desert – 1st Michelle Angel, who also took Best in Show.  2nd, Adrianne Rankin’s “Sand Patterns” created by the wind in the desert, and 3rd, Mary Donald with a different look at a mesquite tree.

Show co-chair Joyce Morrison noted, after she was asked if you had to live in Ajo to enter, that these talented photographers come to enjoy the Sonoran Desert from all over, from Georgia, to Alberta, BC and “Beyond” as well as living and working right here in Ajo.

Morrison, and co-chair Lani Lockwood encourage everyone to plan for next year’s photo show. Photos are not limited to the year of the exhibit, only the Sonoran desert. Lockwood added that this is a vast expanse from east of Tucson, north to Kingman and down into Mexico.  “Think of possibilities!” she said.

Submitted by Lani Lockwood

Calling All Shutterbugs

Hey, photo nuts! Here’s the scoop on the Sonoran Shindig’s annual Photo Show from exhibit organizer Lani Lockwood:

The Cabeza Prieta Natural History Association wants your entries for the annual Photo Show at the Sonoran Shindig.

Did you know the Shindig will be in February this year? It will be the final event of Ajo’s Arizona Centennial Celebration Week. The Centennial celebrates the 5 C’s of Arizona — copper, cotton, citrus, cattle and climate. Our Sonoran desert has all of these C’s and more, starting with critters and cacti!

So look through those photos you took yesterday,  last month, last year or way back when. Plan ahead! Don’t find yourself thinking come February11th ”Gosh, I wish I had put my coyote, cholla, cabin, clouds – whatever, in this show.”

The theme this year is “Our Sensational Sonoran Desert”.  Photos must have been taken in the Sonoran Desert. Remember, your Ajo backyard is also part of the Sonoran Desert.

Your photo(s) should fit into one of these 6 categories: People in the Desert, Desert Plants, Desert Animals, Desert Places, Desert Landscapes, and Desert Patterns.

Details on these categories, exhibit rules and entry forms are available at the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters, 1611 N. 2nd, in Ajo, on-line at, and at the Cafeteria Gallery, 401 W. Esperanza.

The Shindig is only a few weeks away. Head on out into the desert soon and take your best shot. Share it at the Shindig Photo Show! Entering is easy and there is no entry fee.

The entry deadline is 1:30 pm, Thursday, February 9thth, by mail or in person, at the Cabeza Prieta Headquarters. For more information, contact exhibit organizers, Lani Lockwood (602-321-9042) or Joyce Morrison (603-533-1865).