Charlie Bertsch (cbertsch) wrote,
Charlie Bertsch

Metamorphoses of the Mountain

I never get tired of looking at what we call "our mountain," the western terminus of the Catalinas that looms over the back end of our subdivision. I've seen many beautiful mountain ranges, but none surpass the Catalinas for diversity of appearance. Because of how they are situated, the kind of skies we get in the Sonoran Desert and their intricately jagged lines, they can undergo astounding metamorphoses in a matter of minutes.

Today was one of those special days, most common during the Monsoon and the middle of winter, when the glories of the view from our street were at their apex. Indeed, the lighting was so dramatic that foreground details that sometimes vex me, like the drainage channel and fence that are almost impossible to exclude from a non-Expressionist composition, actually added visual interest. And the church-like pediatric dentist's office a little farther up the slope, which has always appealed to my architectural sensibilities, proved a tremendous boon.

First, in the late afternoon, we got the wonderfully focused illumination that comes when the sun sneaks under the clouds to light up our neighborhood while the mountain remains in shadow:

Western terminus of the Catalinas in temporary shadow as sun blazes on lower levels

Then, as the Monsoon clouds swirled around us, we were blessed with a double rainbow, nicely complemented by a celestial glow suffusing the structures in the foreground:

Western terminus of the Catalinas in Tucson with rainbows

Finally, as the storms returned with more force, the mountain became the focal point for a remarkable watercolor sky, periodically stabbed with lightning. My attempts to capture the latter in a good shot were undone by the rapidly diminishing light -- they came out too blurry -- but this picture from a couple minutes before does a nice job of showing how impressive the heavens were on their own:

Western terminus of the Catalinas at stormy dusk

When I think about all the reasons why I might like to move away from Tucson, I inevitably ponder the things I'd miss the most. In the end, I think it's our mountain and the skies it so beautifully underscores that would be hardest to part from. I'm not exaggerating when I say that seeing that beauty on a daily basis keeps me sane.
Tags: everyday, home, photography, tucson, weather
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