Desert Sky Images: A New Site for a New Year

Desert Sky Images - Fine Art Desert Photography by Osha Gray Davidson

Out with the old, in with the new: Desert Sky Images.

I started The Phoenix Sun in May 2009 as a place to blog about renewable energy. It’s led to a number of fascinating projects. With this blog as a launchpad, I’ve written dozens of articles for online publications (including Mother Jones, Dissent, Popular Science, InsideClimate News, True/Slant) and print media, like Discover and Sierra magazines. I wrote a blog for Forbes on the subject called Edison 2.0, and had entries from this site reposted, cited, and, the internet being what it is, republished under someone else’s name. Expanding this blog into the twitterverse, led to a feed that now has more than 10,000 followers – some of them not bots!

What began with The Phoenix Sun culminated in a book, “Clean Break: The Story of Germany’s Energy Transformation and What Americans Can Learn from It,” published by InsideClimate News (thanks in part to a Climate Media Fellowship from the Heinrich Böll Foundation, and grants from several foundations). That project has, in a way, led to a new adventure.

While traveling around Germany researching the Energiewende, I photographed solar and wind installations and portraits of people I interviewed – some of which were included in Clean Break and in an online slideshow.  I’ve been illustrating my freelance articles for 30 years, but after receiving positive feedback on my photos from Germany, and encouragement from readers, I began working to improve my photography, studying techniques and investing in better equipment. In particular, Krista Schlyer and her book, Continental Divide, documenting the environmental effects of the Southwestern border wall, were an inspiration. Over the course of 2016, with generous and patient advice from Krista and photographer Richard Hahn, I moved from being a writer who sometimes takes photographs to a photographer who also writes. In mid-2016 I was hired as lead photographer for the Central Arizona Conservation Alliance and conservation photography became my primary work.

You can find (and buy!) my photos at the new site, Desert Sky images, starting sometime in January.

Thanks for reading and supporting The Phoenix Sun for lo, these many years. Best wishes for a bright (and renewable) 2017!

Sunrise at Oak Flat, Arizona, with Pogo.

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Arizona Legislature May Roll Back Incentives for Rooftop Solar


All three ballot initiatives listed below were withdrawn this afternoon (April 28) as the parties agreed to negotiate a settlement of the issues.


Two bills are working their way through the Arizona state legislature that, if passed, could derail attempts to lock-in incentives for installing rooftop solar PV for six years. Each bill would automatically add an initiative to next November’s ballot — to compete against the “pro-solar” ballot initiative unveiled last week. Supporters of that initiative, the Arizona Solar Energy Freedom Act, need to gather 225,000 valid voter signature by July to get on the ballot.

HCR2039 – “Solar Consumer Protection Act.”


HCR2041, "Solar For All Act."

HCR2041, “Solar For All Act.” (Read the full text here.)

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The Solar Saga of Woodland, North Carolina

Solar field

A solar generating station.


Can the people of Woodland, North Carolina, really be stupid enough to think that solar panels “suck up all the sunlight?”

Probably not.

If you read the original article (and not just the Internet chatter about it), you’d know that only two people at a public hearing based their opposition to rezoning agricultural land to allow construction of a solar generating station on pseudo-science.

Two people in a town with a population of 1,788.

Others objected to rezoning land for a project that wouldn’t provide any economic benefits for residents — nearly a quarter of whom live in poverty. One woman, for example, opposed the measure because, “the only people profiting are the landowners who sell their land, the solar companies, and the electric companies.”

The story could have been a springboard for discussing the benefits of “community solar,” where residents pool their money to own renewable energy generating stations. Or an examination of why people mistrust utilities. Instead, it was used to justify another cheap shot at Southerners and rural people in general.

Now, that’s ignorance.

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