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Best of Arizona 2013: Excellence Marks the Spots
There are a lot of scenic photo ops in Arizona — the Grand Canyon alone has about a million. But what are the best? The very best? For the answer, we asked some of our most talented landscape photographers to reveal their single favorite place to make a photograph. Here's what they had to say.

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Natural wonder

SOUTHERN ARIZONA GRASSLANDS
Randy Prentice

Camera: Toyo 4x5 with 150 mm Fujinon lens and Fujichrome 50 film

Why is this your favorite place? I made this photograph in the grasslands near Madera Canyon, below the western face of the Santa Rita Mountains. I like the dense, clean look of the grass — it's almost like a carpet.

Best season to photograph this location: Every season has its attributes. This scene was taken in February. It snows fairly often in this area, too. Summer would provide some dramatic thunderstorm activity and good barrel-cactus blooms. Spring can exhibit an abundance of wildflowers. However, in early fall, I've seen massive patches of summer poppies.

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Best time of day to photograph there: I usually photograph at first light and last light. However, a cloudy or partly cloudy day would provide some dramatic light, as well as soft light, which is good for flower photography.

How many times have you been there? I've photographed this area at least a dozen times. Maybe more.

How did you discover this location? Early on in my photographic career, I was on a quest for wildflowers, particularly Mexican goldpoppies. That year, this area had an abundance. Many times, a photographer will discover a road that looks promising and just go for it. That's part of the joy. It's the discovery and exploration.

Directions: From Interstate 19, drive east on Continental Road and follow the signs to Madera Canyon.

Information: Coronado National Forest, 520-749-8700 or www.fs.usda.gov/coronado

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