Capturing Nature’s Artistry

Sure, Scottsdale is chock-full of galleries and museums showcasing art inspired by our stunning Sonoran Desert landscape. But, why not create a little artistic magic of your own? Grab your camera and follow these tips for capturing nature’s artistry in Scottsdale.


Think Big: With its rugged McDowell Mountains and lush valleys, Scottsdale’s Sonoran Desert lends itself to big, bold panoramas. Check out the expansive views and photo ops at the Gateway to Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West, or the summit trail at Pinnacle Peak Park.


Look to the Sky: Scottsdale is known for year-round sunshine, but our summer monsoon season (July-September) brings towering thunderheads that result in dramatic, Technicolor sunsets. Photograph a monsoon sunset from a sheltered vantage point such as a window table or the covered patio at Orange Sky restaurant on the 15th floor of Talking Stick Resort.


Take Flight : Enjoy a bird’s eye view and capture great shots of mountain contours and rolling desert foothills from the gondola of a hot air balloon. You’ll float past towering saguaro cacti on your way to a cruising altitude high above the Valley floor.


Stay Grounded: To photograph wildflowers and wildlife like Gambel’s quail and desert cottontails, keep your eyes close to the ground. Wildflower season, which boasts blossoms in all colors of the rainbow, typically runs from late February to early April. Check out the Wildflower Trail at the Desert Botanical Garden or Quartz Trail in Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve, which follows a lush desert wash (great for wildflower and animal sightings).


Float on the Water: The two rivers and six lakes that are within a one-hour drive of downtown Scottsdale offer myriad opportunities for nature photography. Find a quiet spot in a riparian area along the Salt River and capture the birds flitting from tree to tree. Climb aboard a raft or kayak and float beneath massive granite cliffs (bring your waterproof camera!). Or take a scenic boat tour on Saguaro or Canyon lakes.