Best Of Tucson®

The BOT Interview: Jack Dykinga

Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Jack Dykinga has lived in Tucson since 1976. He merges large-format landscape-art photography with documentary photojournalism and is a regular contributor to Arizona Highways and National Geographic. An advocate for protecting the natural world, his books include The Sonoran Desert, Jack Dykinga's Arizona and Images: Jack Dykinga's Grand Canyon. His work will be on display at Etherton Gallery in March 2010.

If you had to take a publicity shot to represent Tucson, what would be thebest place to photograph?

I am a romantic and cling to the Spanish past. Therefore, I'm drawn to the "White Dove of the Desert": Mission San Xavier.

Best contemporary architecture?

I hate to admit it, but I love the rattlesnake footbridge over Broadway (Boulevard). I smile whenever I pass under it.

Suppose you are up early taking photos. Afterward, what's the best place to go for breakfast or morning coffee?

My truck is the usual place ... but the Coffee Times drive-thru on Speedway (Boulevard) is where I head when I return.

Best public garden?

I'm a nut for Baja's boojum forests, so I am in love with the mature boojums on the UA's mall.

If you are looking to take photos in a local state park, which is the best one?

The best place here is easy: Catalina State Park. When then-Gov. (Bruce) Babbitt created the park, the city had not yet crept around and isolated this spectacular section of the Catalinas. Now it's his vision that allows future generations to see the mountain as a unit rising steadily from Sutherland Wash to the rocky palisades.

Best spot in town to see a sunset?

Gates Pass.

Best aspect of the Sonoran Desert to photograph?

The big sky with vast open spaces that allow the light to slice through the land forms, providing texture and color. Plants here stand alone, spaced by limits imposed in a waterless land.

After a long day of working, what's the best place to go to unwind?

I love the quiet ambiance of Pastiche. Whenever we entertain or want real conversation, that's where we head.

Best dish you've had in Tucson?

Café Poca Cosa's chalkboard menu has never failed me. I feel I could simply throw a dart and come up with an amazing meal!

Best radio station to catch up on the news?

I am a National Public Radio junkie. KUAZ (FM 89.1/AM 1550) is my place on the dial when I'm not listening to Jon Stewart or the BBC.

Best part of town to photograph?

I enjoy the stands of emerald-colored cottonwoods that line the washes, reminding us that these were once flowing rivers ... and periodically still are. Looking east from the Craycroft bridge after monsoon or winter rains have carved braided ribbons of water through the sand is a real treat.