The weather has been fairly typical for late June and early July: warm temperatures, breezy afternoon winds, and mostly clear and sometimes absolutely clear skies.
That will change dramatically over the next few days as the North American Monsoon ramps up across Arizona and the desert southwest. As subtropical moisture begins to move northward we will see a significant increase in cloudiness and thunderstorms. Clear night skies will quickly become a distant memory.
With that in mind, I took advantage of clear skies and did some Milky Way photographs. I decided to try Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument so that I could get some of the volcanic hills and ridges in the image.
Near the horizon is Mars which is becoming very bright in the evening sky—and will reach its peak brightness later in July. The planet Saturn is also visible within the starry mass of the Milky Way.