Morning Spectacle of Kofa Mountain Range, Arizona by PatrickMarsonOng

Really had an awesome time capturing these peculiar cacti backed by the stunning Kofa spires! Must say that one night in this amazing location is not enough. If you’ve checked out my previous dawn shot, I was shooting this when I accidentally brushed up my leg against one of the jumping cholla. I’ll never forget that excruciating pain as I limped towards my comp, felt each of the tiny needles pierced into my skin as I try to finish my exposures. Muscle memory must have kicked in, didn’t know how I managed to pull this off.

You might be wondering why its called jumping cholla? It was named that way because the stems can easily detach from the main plant and attach itself to whatever it was brushed up against. Those needle-like individual spines are made out of sharp scales that makes extraction very very very painful!!!!!! So when you see one, do not touch!! Lol!

Thanks for looking! Cheers!

**View in black**

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The Fallen at Sunrise by Dustin_Wong_Photography

I took a trip recently down to Phoenix and did a quick tour of the area. Inspired by the brilliant work of Peter Coskun who has captured this area like no other I decided I needed to see this place. The Kofa Mountains are a couple hours east of Phoenix and are fairly remote. Even though not very many people visit this place I did happen to run into some other photographers out there including Patrick Ong, Glenn Pono, & Raymond Santiago. It’s a bit strange to meet photographers in in real life whose work I’ve admired on the internet, but I guess this community is quite small and it should not be so much of surprise anymore.

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This time of year the plants are desperate for water and many are struggling to survive. The fallen had succumbed to the desert and lay on the ground like a tangled mess of alien tentacles. The cholla run wild.

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Kofa Mountains and the Jumping Chollas by PatrickMarsonOng

My 17-day vacation comes to a close. it was a crazy 3000 mile road trip chasing sunrise and sunsets through mountains, lakes, canyons, bends, snow, sand dunes, and the crazy jumping cacti. Lucky to have done this with two of my best buds Raymond Santiago and Glen Pono, my sister and my better half.

So inspired by Peter James Coskun’s magnificent showcase of this playground plus the outstanding images of MA d’ great, Ted Gore and Miles Morgan, I have been wanting to visit this place for a long time. Out of luck in search on how to get there, I turn to Peter for directions. Owe you big time man! Thanks so much for all the tips. You rock!

Kofa Mountains is a hidden gem tucked miles away from civilization and home of the most feared and hated cacti in the southwestern desert, the jumping cholla (pronounced as choy-a). Had a first hand experience with it, more of that later. 😉

So we decided to drive there for sunset, mainly just to scout the place for the next day sunrise. Good thing that we upgraded to a Suburban. Half way the road gets worst, wrong move and you definitely get a flat tire. Raymond and I were already arguing either we need to park the car, walk from there or drive all the way at 5kph and hope for the best. After an hour and as we make our final turn, there it was, a mini SUV. We were like, WTH, AMAZING. Lol!
Parked the car, got our gear and as I walk over the small hill, there this guy waving in a blue jacket! What an amazing place to shake hands with Dustin Wong!!!! A hardcore professional photographer, it’s his 6th day camping by himself, extreme to the next level man! Hope to bump into him somewhere epic again.

Went back the next day for sunrise, after getting this twilight shot, I was going kookoo all over finding the comp that would suit my taste for a sunburst shot. And with the sun already peeking on the spires, I know I have to settle for one. Pumped with adrenaline, I forgot about the jumping cholla and accidentally brushed up against one. !@#$!!!!!!!! No words to describe the pain!!! I froze and blanked out. After a few secs, said to myself, I need to get that shot. Continued to my composition, believe it or not, I managed to get one. Then there came Dustin, telling me “I got tweezers”. Hahaha! I was literally pulling needles out of my skin! Whew!

My humble share of this majestic location, hope you enjoy it guys! Cheers and have a great week ahead!

**View it on black**

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Desert Takeover by Pcoskun

This shot may look a bit similar to another shot I posted a few months ago titled “Sonoran Burn”. I took this image just a minute before as I liked how the fallen ocotillo and glowing cholla seemed to tell a story. This area has plenty of ocotillo that are just laying flat on the ground which create some really awesome compositions and leading lines. This was no exception and the fact that the sun was poking between the clouds to light up the cacti was quite a nice compliment. I imagined that the teddy bear cholla were celebrating the defeat of this fallen ocotillo while the tall giants in the upper right were coming in for round two. There is just something about the desert that brings me so much joy and when I can find scenes like this and light like this, well, it’s just like it’s meant to be. Even in the harsh desert, there is so much beauty!

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