Mission San Xavier

Today’s WordPress photo challenge is the “Rule of Thirds”. Arizona Missions

We arrived in Tucson, Arizona, a couple of days ago and my first ‘must see’ stop was Mission San Xavier del Bac.  The stunning Spanish architecture and beautifully landscaped grounds made for a fun and interesting photographic opportunity.Mission San Xavier del BacMission San Xavier del Bac is a historic Spanish Catholic mission located about 10 miles south of downtown Tucson.  The church was built between 1783 and 1797 and is the oldest European structure in Arizona.Mission San Xavier del Bac

The mission was originally founded by an Italian Jesuit, Padre Eusebio Kino.  San Xavier is still actively run by Franciscans and continues to serve the local community.Mission San Xavier del BacOver 200,000 visitors come here each year from around the world to view what is considered some of the finest Spanish Colonial architecture in the United States.Mission San XavierThere was so much to explore and take in at the mission…. more than I expected. So if you do visit, plan on spending at least an hour versus the 20 minutes we scheduled.  I guess that means, I’ll just have to revisit.RoadrunnerAnd since Jen over at WordPress challenged us to experiment with the Rule of Thirds with a little bokeh (blur), I thought I’d end the post with this photo of an unusual cactus bloom located near the entrance to San Xavier.Spanish missions

The Spanish Missions of Arizona (True Books)
Moon Arizona & the Grand Canyon (Moon Handbooks)


72 thoughts on “Mission San Xavier

  1. Pingback: Lightweight | Live Laugh RV

    • I went back a couple of days later on a Saturday as I wanted to see it at sunset. Much to my surprise they held a 5:30 mass. It was very enjoyable to visit this mission in the morning and then again in the evening.

  2. Ingrid, your photos of the mission are just gorgeous! We were so busy doing other things in Tucson that we didn’t get to the mission, even though it was on my list. I will definitely not miss it next time we’re nearby. Love the roadrunner shot, too.

    • I’ve wanted to visit this mission for the past two years, but something else always seemed to pop up. Therefore, this trip San Xavier was a priority and I even made a second visit for a little more lingering. Definitely worth a stop 🙂

  3. We so enjoyed that mission too! There is another mission South of Tucson near Tubac..VERY old…They were still working on it. If memory serves, we walked across the road for a “cool one” in some little bar..This mission is a little “out of the way” , but worth it.

    • We drove by the one in Tubac traveling from Patagonia SP to Tucson. Hubby is a little ‘done’ with me dragging him to missions LOL. San Xavier is definitely one fine piece of architecture 🙂

  4. Great shots Ingrid. I have quite a few from there as its so photogenic. I LOVE that one with the dead tree. It has been a day of relentless cold rain and I am missing that blue sky 🙂

    • I have a thing for dead trees, so that’s one of my favorite shots as well. Sounds like you crossed the pond a tad too early. The weather here is lovely and the wildflowers are starting to show themselves 🙂

  5. Very nicely done – great clouds in the background…that always makes the shot exciting. I’m amazed you found a roadrunner that would sit still long enough for a photo, they seem to be in constant motion.
    How long are you sticking around the Tucson area? It would be great to connect with you since you’re on the west side of the country now.

    • Thank you Cheryl. The desert never seems to disappoint with her beautiful skies. We’re heading north in the morning. I’ll send you a message and see if we can’t connect 🙂

  6. I have great memories walking the mission in 1976 when visiting my parents…a piece of art. You aced the Rule of Thirds…that was one of my favorite lessons when took our class…the colors are gorgeous too!!!

    • Thanks C. I’m really trying to pay more attention to the rule of thirds and framing my subject (s) accordingly. Photographing architecture is still a tough subject for me as I seem to be partial to landscapes 🙂

    • Awe…. thank you. Our tour at San Xavier was a bit rushed but when we were in Texas we toured several missions leisurely and the history behind each mission was fascinating.

  7. Absolutely beautiful… your photo challenge photo was brilliant. BUT those clouds in the first photo above the mission…. WHOA! Very heavenly!

  8. Your mystery cactus is a bottlebrush. They are really popping open this week.

    Hope you had enough time to see inside the Mission. It’s as impressive as the outside. If you are still in the area, check out the DeGrazia Museum/Gallery. There are so many gorgeous sights in this town. The Cathedral downtown is magnificent as well.

    Safe travels.

    • Thanks Judy. I really should learn more about some of these desert plants as I’ll be hanging around Phoenix long enough to take in all the flowering plants. We drove by the Cathedral this morning (per your recommendation) and decided not to stop. Funeral services were being held and we felt it would be disrespectful to take architectural photographs of any kind. I’ll catch it next time through. We’re heading to Apache Junction in the morning 🙂

    • The missions we visited in Texas were equally impressive, especially the history behind them, but this one architecturally is stunning and in a glass of it’s own.

  9. Ingrid, great compositions! Having mastered the rule of thirds then its time to break the rule 🙂
    We skipped the Mission and passed it on our way to the Titan Missile Museum which by the way according to Steve, Al would be very interested in.

  10. I have visited this mission and your photos are terrific. I would revisit this place for sure. Loved the blossom photo. Good job with the Blurrrrr.

  11. Really enjoyed looking at San Xavier through your lens. I’ve been there before, but wasn’t into photography at that time. Thank you for sharing your day with us.

  12. Really enjoyed this visit to the Mission, Ingrid, and your photos are stunning. The exquisite Spanish architecture with the open blue skies of Arizona, cacti — very lovely. But I have to say, that roadrunner photo was my favorite — crystal clear and demonstrating that cocky roadrunner personality.

    • Thanks so much Jet. That roadrunner sat patiently for me for all of about a minute. So I was glad I managed to capture a clear shot before he moved on. The architecture of the mission is indeed exquisite 🙂

  13. We are headed to Tucson next month Ingrid. I had seen this on line but your photos make the place look like a must not miss. You can find birds anywhere it seems .;)

    • Oh darn Sue…. I’ll miss you as we’ll be in Phoenix when you visit Tucson. You’ll certainly enjoy the nice warm temps and lack of snow as well as the desert should be blooming which is always pretty. That roadrunner was posing for me thus I HAD to snap away 😉

      • Oh drat on the timing of that! Oh well I have no doubt our paths will cross one day Ingrid.
        Yes what is one to do when a road runner leaps in front of your camera? 🙂

  14. We absolutely loved this mission and spent several hours there. Your photos are stunning Ingrid. Love the roadrunner shot. That last image looks like it came from a bottlebrush tree…beautiful! 🙂

    • Thank you LuAnn. I should have asked you what kind of plant that flower was from knowing you’d probably have the answer. That bloom is so unique. I was rushed visiting the mission which was a big mistake. I’ll try and revisit Sunday before heading to Ajo next week 🙂

    • Thank you Sylvia. I had seen this mission last year from a distance and thus was very interested in visiting it this trip. It exceeded my expectations 🙂

  15. We have visited many missions, but in our opinion, this one is the most beautiful of them all. The tour guide did such an awesome job of making us feel like we were there when it was being built. Wonderful history lesson.

    That is the most unusual cactus I have ever seen. Simply gorgeous!

    • The mission is extremely beautiful. I just wish I had allowed more time to explore leisurely. I’m going to try and revisit in the next day or two before we move on to Ajo. LuAnn says the bloom is from a bottlebrush tree. I found it so unique that I just had to take a picture or two 🙂

    • It sure helped to visit on a beautiful day with just the right amount of cloud cover. We’re staying only ten minutes away, thus I might need to swing back over for a longer visit…. it is a beauty!

  16. All the photos are beautiful…and nice job on the “rule of thirds” 🙂 Is that a roadrunner? Looks like one but you didn’t say. BTW, when you were in TX did you visit the missions trail in San Antonio? If not, you need to do that next time you are in town.

    • Thank you Judy. We visited San Antonio Feb 2014 and the Polar Vortex had us moving on in between ice storms. We did manage to visit the Riverwalk and the Alamo but the other missions didn’t make the schedule. All the more reason to return. And yes, that is a roadrunner 🙂

    • That’s awesome, Charlie. I knew Jon moved back to the U.S. but did not know it was Tucson. Sounds like you and Dawn will need to visit Tucson and little Anthony 🙂

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