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Cacti catch fire.

Daylight Pass, Death Valley National Park in California: a few minutes after sunrise, this field of Cholla turns wild in the rays of the low sun.

Cholla cactus near Daylight Pass, Death Valley

Backlit Cholla
5D Mark III, 100-400L II

Cholla cactus, Death Valley

Cholla on fire
5D Mark III, 100-400L II

Cholla cactus near Daylight Pass, Death Valley

Mornin’ in Death Valley
5D Mark III, 100-400L II

  • Nachiketa Yakkundi - January 20, 2016 - 11:17 am

    Oh, what superbly “backlit” cacti, Rajan! BTW did you notice any bird’s nest in any of those growths perchance? A friend of mine had referred to certain birds actually making their nests in these cacti, which to me seems unbelievable!ReplyCancel

    • Rajan Parrikar - January 20, 2016 - 2:33 pm

      The bird nests are plausible as the spines of the cactus can serve as a deterrent to predators. I didn’t see any nest though.ReplyCancel

  • Jono - January 15, 2016 - 8:33 am

    Beautiful backlighting!ReplyCancel

  • Premanand - January 15, 2016 - 5:35 am

    Beautiful! Staring at the images for sometime does give the impression of the cactus actually being on fire. Background in the third photograph is surreal. Are those plains or a water body in between the big mountains in the background and the hillocks in the mid-ground?ReplyCancel

  • Bob_B - January 14, 2016 - 5:18 pm

    Hi Rajan,

    Great photos, as always. I especially enjoyed the second one “Cholla on fire”. I used to explore the Anza Borega desert and know all too well about chollas. Your image brings back vivid memories. They’re beautiful until you get one of their spines lodged in you.



    • Rajan Parrikar - January 14, 2016 - 11:27 pm


      Thank you. I hadn’t appreciated the dangers of Cholla and was surprised by some of the accounts cited on LuLa. I haven’t been to Anza-Borrego yet but it is spectacular from the images I have seen.ReplyCancel

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