A treasured symbol of the American Southwest, the saguaro cactus occurs only in southern Arizona, northern Mexico and a small area of California. It's the world's largest cactus, and yet it is incredibly slow-growing, with a lifespan of 150 years or more. During its life, it provides nectar and fruits as well as homes for numerous desert animals, including woodpeckers and owls. Chris set out to capture the grandeur of this individual, growing in the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona, and 'convey the feeling of awe I felt while walking among such giants.' To achieve the star-studded background, he used a high ISO to keep the stars from blurring and created the halo by positioning the rising moon behind one of the saguaro's arms.
Nikon D700 + 14-24mm f2.8 lens; 30 sec at f2.8; ISO 3200; Gitzo GT3540LS tripod + Kirk ballhead.
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona, USA