John Aho Photography November 2014

Few photographers have captured the change of seasons around Boyce Thompson Arboretum as thoroughly as Tempe artist John Aho -- who has posted galleries of thousands of images ranging from intricate coronas of pink blossoms on tiny fishhook cacti to the burnt sweep of a golden sunsets playing across the russet volcanic cliffs of Magma Ridge.

Aho's art work was showcased through our peak month for Fall foliage - and he offered several opportunities to meet, learn from him and shoot alongside him, enrolling in either of two recurring photo classes John coaches here each year.

A luminary artist, he rigs colorful neon lights after dark to illuminate gardens, plants and buildings vivid colors, photographing the surreal result. But what's his favorite time of year to captrue scenes in the gardens?
"I love November at Boyce Thompson Arboretum - it's one of the few places in the area that has true fall color less than one hour's drive from Phoenix. Any time of day during November you'll find that it's magical under the Chinese Pistachio trees with the sun filtering through , hearing the rustle of the leaves above, the bright Northern Cardinals calling to each other. Fall color is a subject that's both challenging and rewarding to shoot -- and Autumn foliage at BTA is the main focus of my exhibit. "

Autumn foliage peaks at higher elevation forests around AZ during October; the Arboretum's groves of Pistachio trees are most brilliant during mid-to-late November, and John offered a Fall Foliage Photography class here November 23 . Read more about BTA camera workshops. To enroll and prepay have your credit card ready for either class by calling 520-689-2723. Adventurous photographers who'd like to try one of his painting-with-lights nighttime workshops can enroll in one of these unique shoots.
"I lead “painting with light” night photography workshops at BTA that use high power LED lights that I've built. I was drawn to night photography in the desert due to the limited palette of colors you see during the day. Many subjects that appear bland during daylight are transformed at night with high intensity colored LED lights that create their own technicolor wonderland."
"Years ago I enrolled as a volunteer -- I donate my time spent leading these workshops at BTA as a way to give back to the park that has given me so much inspiration. When I first moved to Arizona I lived in Superior -- since then I've relocated to Tempe, and I miss the striking natural beauty of Superior and that corner of Pinal County. I love the desert scenery, the saguaros, and Boyce Thompson Arboretum. Having lived in many parts of the country, the desert holds a special place in my heart and I find myself drawn to it."
"Photographers ask what camera I prefer for my range of subjects; you can get into circular debates about the kind of camera you choose -- but knowing light and how to work well with your camera's limitations is far more important than what brand of camera you own. My preference is Nikon cameras because I have great lenses for them."

"A good camera is one that gets out of your way when you want to take a picture and lets you capture the moment how you envisioned it. And what's my favorite photo? that would be my next one -- I'm always looking forward to taking more pictures and finding interesting things to take pictures of."
Loose prints and 5-by-7s from the exhibit will be available for purchase . To contact the artist about commissioned work, email

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