The hottest in all of North America, the Sonoran desert covers southern Arizona, southeastern California and northern Mexico. Along with coyotes, rattlesnakes and tumbleweeds, the saguaro cactus only grows in the Sonoran desert and is one of the most recognizable and iconic features of this harsh arid region. A master of desert survival, very little water is instantly used when collected. Instead, it is stored within the sponge-like tissue of the cactus to use during periods of drought. The saguaro cactus grows from the tip or top and takes some 200 years to reach its full height of 40-45 feet.
Using an iPhone app to measure height, Pielage’s portraits of these evocative desert plants are straightforward and frontal. Pielage has selected only the most mature giants of the Sonoran desert, those reaching 40 feet or higher, to photograph.