Mar 3 2011

Photo Contest – Friday Sampling

Melissa Crytzer Fry

If you haven’t entered your photo in the “What I Saw” Amateur Photo Contest, you still have time. Submissions are being accepted until March 15. Learn more about the full contest details.

Each Friday, a random sampling of photos from the past week is included for viewers to enjoy. See sample photos received March 1-4, below, and thank you, photographers, for your beautiful submissions to date. Click each photo below to enlarge.

A. McLean ~ An abandoned pier wishfully waiting for a boat that will never arrive.

H.S. Howard ~ A child's face always inspires.

J. Bonstein ~ A park in the fall, through raindrops on my car window.

R. Tipton ~ Morning Memorial

K. Murphy ~ Reuben Margolin's wind chimes at Maker Faire, Bay Area.

All photos are copyrighted and the sole property of each photographer.They may not be copied without permission.

Share your thoughts. How have these images inspired you? What stories do they tell?

Feb 28 2011

End of Mighty Saguaro

Melissa Crytzer Fry

Saguaro Series – I

I didn’t realize, until I was culling through my photo library, that I appear to have a fascination with decaying saguaros. It seems my camera gravitates toward them, capturing their unique personalities, even in death.

There is a beauty in their decline. An elegance in their passing. And life beyond the hundreds of years that they stood tall.

This once-hearty saguaro specimen sloughs its skin not far from the San Pedro River Valley (photo by Kathy Becraft). Click to enlarge, then click forward arrow button to view all saguaro photos in this post.

As my good friend (and plant fanatic) noted, “Saguaros even provide habitat in their death for countless insects and mammals. They’re kind of alive, even when they’re dying.”

Yes, so true. So, while I want to pay homage to the great saguaro in its living form, I also want to honor it in all of its magnificent stages.

This rare crested saguaro is visible from my kitchen window. In just a year’s time, it has decayed and declined to near non-recognition. Click to enlarge.

I will be posting a multi-part Saguaro Series about this species of cactus in its different stages of life and death – including various photos I’ve snapped over the past year – hoping to document the beauty and wonder of these alluring “trees” of the desert. I also hope to share the inspiration they are providing for my WIP (work in progress). Please scroll below for additional photos.

The hardened skin of the decaying saguaro resembles tree bark after years in the sun. Click to enlarge.

A close-up of a decaying saguaro’s “skin,” brittle and dry to human touch. Click to enlarge.

For Writers: I have to admit that I suspect Mother Nature has been toying with me a bit lately … sending some subliminal messaging, perhaps, since my novel-in-progress deals with themes of life and death. Maybe that’s why I’m confronted with so many living, dying, decaying, beating-the-odds saguaro cacti during my hikes. Or could it just be that my senses are acutely tuned in to my theme? Then again, maybe the saguaro is simply my muse?

Do you enjoy books that tackle tough topics like life and death, or are they just too “dark” for you? If you find yourself drawn to these stories, why? Do you agree that there can be beauty in death? And when you’re writing, do you begin to see thematic significance in the things around you that you might not otherwise have noticed?

P.S. Don’t miss my AMATEUR PHOTO CONTEST. Submissions being accepted now!