We had a wetter-than-usual spring this year, and as a result the prickly pear cacti are loaded with fruit that is just now starting to ripen.
As we were driving north on the Beeline Highway last week, headed toward our camping spot, we stopped just south of Rye, AZ on Gisela Road to look for some Indian ruins. The map indicated that the ruins were about two miles off the highway, but we never did find them. Instead we found a gravel road that led to the top of a hill that provided a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains as the summer storm clouds moved in. When we stepped out of the truck to look around, we found these beautiful prickly pear cactus plants. The fruit is edible and delicious, but of course you have to be extremely careful when handling it. The juice makes great jellies, jams, and margaritas.
All of these images are HDR’s composed from three bracketed photos (+2.0/0.0/-2.0), processed in Photomatix, and then post-processed in Paintshop Pro X3. They were shot with my Nikon D5000 and the kit lens (18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6 AF), tripod mounted.