I've never been a big fan of cacti. (I could also have said "cactuses", but that doesn't sound as academic. Besides, I like saying "cacti".)
Cacti always seemed to be somewhat dry, a little off-putting, and frankly not all that attractive. But then I realized that people could say the same thing about me. So I decided to give cacti another chance - maybe they're just misunderstood.
While in Arizona not long ago, I was able to see cacti growing in the wild - as opposed to the way we usually see them here in the northeast U.S., growing in a pot on someone's window sill.
I took the usual photo of one cactus. By "usual" I mean that I focused on one portion of the plant, using a shallow depth-of-field to render similar parts of the plant out of focus in the background - essentially the same approach I use for most flower shots:
But you really see some of the natural beauty of the cactus when you zoom in for a close-up. As with any flower image, this kind of close-up shot really reveals the details of the plant.
If you read up on cacti, you realize what amazing plants they are. The very fact that they survive and grow in some of the driest climates on earth is pretty impressive. They store water that they collect through their root system. Their spines serve several purposes, the most obvious is to keep plant-eating animals away. There are thousands of species - some grow like trees, others are small plants. Some species can survive for hundreds of years.
They've also got that whole "i" plural thing going on, which is cool.
So I'm ok with cacti now.