Out shooting local last night. Walking around the desert looking for a composition, I became fascinated by the variety of plant life that exists in such an arid place. This fascination inspired me to start a new series of images I am going to call Desert Portraits. Here you see the infamous Teddy Bear Cholla cactus. I say infamous, as the Teddy Bear Cholla has quite a reputation around the American southwest. Also known as the Jumping Cholla, the Teddy Bear Cholla releases golf ball size clusters of needles at the slightest little touch. You can see several of these balls laying on the ground at the base of this cholla. All of the needles on this cactus have a reverse barb similar to a fish hook at the end, making them extremely difficult and painful to remove if they become embedded in you skin. Trust me, I Know!
The Teddy Bear Cholla makes a great subject to photograph in the desert, however, you need to take an over-abundance of caution when doing so. People have DIED after getting trapped in a group of Teddy Bear Chollas. Keep your distance, and always be aware of your surroundings. Every time I have been stuck by a Teddy Bear Cholla, it has resulted from stepping on a cluster of needles that already fell off the cactus. Watch where you step,be careful, and enjoy your time in the desert.