When I first started out in photography, I was fortunate to find a great stock agency to sign on with. The woman who ran it was very knowledgeable and provided tips on what to shoot and more importantly, perspectives from which to shoot. On one of my early visits, I asked for a list of subjects. Saguaro cacti at sunset was one of the items on the list.
When I returned about a month or two later with material to review, her response was less than enthused. She accepted a couple, but then said, “Can you find a postcard cactus?” “A What?” I replied. “A postcard cactus – you know, one with one arm on each side, but one side slightly lower.”
I had never heard that expression before, but apparently in the early days of postcards, someone had taken a picture of this type of cactus that sold very well. People then came to expect that all saguaro cacti looked like that. The state of Arizona has one on their standard issue license plate, but the previous red license plate had the perfect stereotype.
So the entire request went something like this: One saguaro cactus (of the postcard variety) without any others nearby…..close enough to recognize, but not filling the frame…..at the right angle so as to not cut off the base…..with generic looking mountains in the background…..and a spectacular sunset. Right.
In my travels, I eventually spotted a couple of these elusive cacti, but they were always in some location that involved scrambling – something I didn’t want to do with a flashlight. I was looking for “road kill“. The top shot is as close as I ever came to the complete request. Along the way, I encountered many beautiful, unique saguaros. One of these ended up being my best selling stock photograph by a huge margin.
For this week’s Daily Post Challenge: Quest
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