Cactus Beauties

Cactus Blossoms

Cactus Blossoms © 2011 Bo Mackison

More cactus flowers.

I’m studying this cactus plant right now. It’s easy to do as it is blooming only a hundred feet from my front door. Today there was a cloud cover towards the end of the day, and I knew I had to go back out and re-shoot these flowers. The desert sun, even when it is low on the horizon, is wicked bright, and I didn’t have enough hands to manage camera and deflector. But today–today the clouds provided a natural deflector and the colors came out soft and even.

Hedgehog Cactus in Bloom

Hedgehog Cactus in Bloom © 2011 Bo Mackison

It was a windy day, but the nice thing about a cactus in bloom? The flowers are close to the plant, and wind doesn’t whip the flowers around, at least not the way the wind whips flowers on stems.

I’m still studying these blossoms. I brought a thick, rubber car mat with me from Wisconsin, thinking that if I had the chance, I might want to have some protection from the desert floor as I took photographs. Tomorrow, I’ll get the mat and try some different views. That’s the best part about photography–all the experimenting.

Cactus Red

Cactus Red © 2011 Bo Mackison

Sometimes I just sit and look at a plant for awhile, a long while. Try and absorb its character, its beauty.

I had another photographer approach me when I was shooting at the botanical gardens a couple of days ago. He asked me if I was done with my shoot. I said no, I was studying the angles of the flower and looking at the shades of color. He shrugged and turned to leave, then he looked over his shoulder and said, “You must be one of those art-y kind of photographers.”

That made me laugh. Actually — I just love sitting in desert botanical gardens.


About Bo Mackison

I'm a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place - a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I'd love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It's my gift to you.


  1. They’re absolutely stunning! I would never have imagined such color!

    • Bo Mackison says:

      The desert is full of color–if you look carefully. Especially early, when there are only a few in bloom. But they are a great prize to spy!

  2. Terrific photos Bo! I loved the Hedgehog in bloom, but it is one of the worst to walk into because of the long spines that go deep and break off. I wish I had a decent camera when I lived there, but I didn’t. I’m glad you are taking good advantage of the spring bloom! And a cloudy day to boot!

  3. Joanne Keevers says:

    Well, hi there Bo, you art-y photographer, you! (I laughed at that comment too!) 😀

    The middle photo is just beautiful. After seeing the flowers in the top photo, and then there it is again, surrounded by all of the spikes and all of those little buds, showing the full perspective of the plant!

  4. Gandalf says:

    I love the texture of the flower petals. Beautiful, rich colors and detail.

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