Monday, March 5, 2012

Tucson Sights

In addition to 4 casinos that have free parking, Tucson has lots of goodies to see. After settling in at Casino del Sol, the first thing on the agenda was Saguaro National Park. The wildflowers were starting to bloom, including the yellow Brittlebush and the pink Fairy Dusters.

There were a lot of saguaros in the park, but I think I've seen more in other places. It seems they have had some deep freezes here that have killed alot of the cacti.

More Fairy Dusters, along with cholla and prickly pear cactus.

We found a crested saguaro, with a little help from the ranger. Not the best example, but it was right along the road and easy to find.

We stopped for lunch where various wildlife fought over our crumbs - here a ground squirrel and gila woodpecker.

One of the most beautiful things to see around here is the Mission San Xavier del Bac - the White Dove of the Desert. Jesuit missionary, Father Kino, began building the foundation for a Catholic mission in 1700, but it was not completed then. It was finally built between 1780 and 1797.

No one knows why one dome is not finished, but one popular legend suggests that early taxation laws exempted buildings under construction, so the builders chose to leave one dome unfinished.

The inside is filled with marveous original statuary and mural paintings -

Behind the altar -

And in the alcoves on either side.

I tooke these photos with my tiny Canon 300HS. It was very dark inside, but the Canon has a setting called "Handheld Night Scene." It takes 3 shots in a burst and somehow adds them all together, reducing the shutter speed and the ISO required in such low light. I don't really understand it, but it's really cool.

I can't go in a Catholic church without checking out the Stations of the Cross. They are frequently very unusual, especially in old missions. Here they were outside, in a beautiful cactus garden.

More on Tucson to come!


  1. What a gorgeous chapel. And your camera did an excellent job.

  2. WOW what a beautiful area..the wildflowers and cacti are wonderful to see. The old mission is magnificent how ornate and lovely it is..your little camera did a FAB job with these photos!!

  3. So nice to see the desert in bloom. The mission is so ornate inside.

  4. Looks like we left Tucson too early and missed the blooming flowers. :c(

    Great pictures inside the mission!

  5. As always, your photographs are beautiful! Sounds like a neat function your camera has, as I hadn't heard or seen that function before. Hope you had a wonderful birthday and continue with good health and many travels!!

  6. While in Tucson, be sure to catch the Tucson Festival of Books this weekend at UA. It's completely free.

  7. Hey Diana! You're in my hometown (for 15 years anyway). I love the Dessert Museum most of all. Hope you've seen it or will visit it. Have fun and thanks for the visit. The Tucson dessert is marvelous.

  8. Great shots in the church, its so ornate.

  9. Beautiful pictures of the cathedral! I especially love the purple cactus garden. Tuscon must be a real sight this time of year with all of the wildflowers in bloom. Hope you enjoy your stay and safe travels.


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  10. That handheld nighttime feature sure sounds nifty. Missed the Stations when we visited the White Dove of the Desert ... all the more reason to go back for a second visit. The image of the mission is one of the most vivid memories of our trip to the Tucson area all those years ago.

  11. All of these were great pictures but I especially enjoyed the last one and that squirrel and woodpecker are just hilarious. Kudos to you for capturing that! Thanks for sharing.

  12. Never heard of the crested saguaro so really appreciated your photo. The flowers in the desert never cease to amaze me. Something in bloom every time I've been.

  13. Very interesting - I have never seen or heard of a crested saguaro. I searched the web, and read a little about them. They are beautiful cacti!

  14. Love to follow your blog as I travel a lot before U or in your footsteps~~~Beautiful pic's U share and I loved seeing the mission again~~~~We love the same places~~~TY and stay safe


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