Sunday, September 18, 2016

Sylvan Hairstreak Butterfly



A small butterfly with an accent of orange
 


One morning in late August I was attempting to photograph a dragonfly at the fish pond when I noticed small bluish butterflies on the mint flowers.  When the tiny butterfly came into focus with my Nikon 150mm macro lens, I discovered that it had an interesting orange accent on the lower edge of its wing. 


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After I finished taking more photos, I rushed to my butterfly book and determined that this was a Sylvan Hairstreak, Satyrium sylvinus, one of the smallest butterflies in North America with a wing span of 1 to 1 3/8 inches (2.5 - 3.5 cm).   


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Sylvan Hairstreaks are a Gossamer-wing butterfly which means that their delicate wings have the appearance of gauze with bright colors that reflect the sun when they are in flight.  The male Sylvan Hairstreak’s wing has a blue sheen with gray-brown or reddish on the upperside; while the female’s wing has more of a yellowish tinge with pale gray to white underside.  


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The Hairstreak name comes from the hair like tail that extends from the hind wing.



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Since their eggs are laid on the stems of a host plant, I will be carefully looking at the mint growing at the pond for any turban-shaped eggs or oval-shaped larva.  After winter’s hibernation, the caterpillars feed on the leaves of the host plant so I will also be on the watch for these caterpillars. 


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 If by luck I do see the eggs or caterpillars, I will add a part two to this blog post.  



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To read more about the Sylvan Hairstreak:


Subscribe to and follow my blog to see where my next photo-adventure will be, there is so much in nature to explore!

With my Nikon and tripod, my goal is to recreate the scene as it appears in nature, to preserve in a photographic image the awesome, yet simplistic beauty of the scene that waits around a bend or over a hill. Sometimes it's a colorful landscape, and many times I'm allowed in the presence of the numerous creatures that adapt to life in the wild.


No images on this blog are within Public Domain and are available for free download. 

 All rights reserved, world-wide and images protected by Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). All photography, graphics, text, design, and content is copyrighted by Bonnie Rannald and should not be copied, down-loaded, transferred and re-created in any way without the express consent, in writing to Bonnie Rannald. For information on Bonnie Rannald licensed, right-managed images, please submit a written request.

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Friday, September 9, 2016

The Great Reno Balloon Races




Hot Air Balloons ascend in the early morning sky. 





Around the second weekend in September in Reno, Nevada colorful hot air balloons fill the morning skies starting on Friday and culminating on Sunday. 



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Held at Rancho San Rafael Park just west of the University of Nevada, Reno, The Great Reno Balloon Races have evolved into the largest free event of its kind in the world.



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Using information on wind speed and currents along with elevation measurements, the pilots test their skill for a chance to win an $11,000 prize purse.



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Beginning in 1982 with just 20 balloons, presently this event has evolved to at least 100 balloons filling the sky across the city of Reno.


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Lighting up the early morning dark sky at 05:00, the Glow Show kick-starts the day.  



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Next and equally thrilling, the Dawn Patrol is a trademark of The Great Reno Balloon Races.


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Hot air balloons that are qualified to fly in the dark ascend and glow in sync to choreographed music.


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A T-6 formation fly-over is performed by the National Championship Air Race during the singing of the National Anthem.


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The Mass Ascension Launch follows the Dawn Patrol and begins at 06:45 as the balloons launch in the early morning light.


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Up to 100 balloons take to the air and fill the sky with a multitude of colors and shapes.


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During the day there are many exciting activities at Rancho San Rafael Park including balloon rides, demonstrations, art exhibits and concession stands.
 

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With so many exciting outdoor events in Reno,  The Great Reno Balloon  Races are my favorite.  There is so much action and colorful balloons, I hardly know which way to point my camera.

Follow my Blog and subscribe to my photo-adventures to see where or what I will be focusing on next. 

 With my Nikon and tripod, my goal is to recreate the scene as it appears in nature, to preserve in a photographic image the awesome, yet simplistic beauty of the scene that waits around a bend or over a hill. Sometimes it's a colorful landscape, and many times I'm allowed in the presence of the numerous creatures that adapt to life in the wild.




No images on this blog are within Public Domain and are available for free download. 

 All rights reserved, world-wide and images protected by Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). All photography, graphics, text, design, and content is copyrighted by Bonnie Rannald and should not be copied, down-loaded, transferred and re-created in any way without the express consent, in writing to Bonnie Rannald. For information on Bonnie Rannald licensed, right-managed images, please submit a written request.

"Reflecting Nature's Artistry"

Follow this blog for upcoming post!
Photos Make Great Gifts!
Many of these images are available on our website.
We now offer Gift Certificates and Digital Downloads in addition to the
"Off The Wall" custom matted and framed images.





Sunday, September 4, 2016

View from Lookout Mountain, California

 
 
 
Photo-exploring on a crater's summit
 
 
Where would you go to spend the day on top of a mountain, among tall pines with a 360° view?  If you are in eastern California, that might be at Lookout Mountain.
 
 
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Lookout Mountain is located on the Eastern Sierra and within the Inyo National Forest.  The name Inyo is Native American meaning dwelling place of the great spirit. 
 
 
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To reach the summit of Lookout Mountain one must travel a gravel, dirt road that is opposite of the Mammoth Scenic Loop turnoff and is not maintained during the winter months.   
 
 
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The narrow, one vehicle trail wanders through ancient Jeffery Pines that have their legacy almost as far back as the volatile creation of this peaceful mountain.  
 
 
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Today, Lookout Mountain appears to be a  peaceful retreat.   However, its inception was due to a violent volcanic eruption around 677-692,000 years ago.  The summit crater that is just over a half mile, 1 kn, in diameter, is covered with gravely pumice and shards of obsidian which offer the few  traces of  this mountain’s volcanic features.  
 
 
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Up high on this ancient summit, 11,158 feet, 3,401m,   wildflowers have managed to adapt in this harsh environment. 
 
 
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 Yellow blooms of sulfur buckwheat accent the landscape against black obsidian and grey pumice. 
 
 
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A walk toward the west gives a view of volcanic domes that run north to south:  Deadman’s Creek Dome, Glass Creek Dome and Obsidian Dome. 
 
 
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Grey slopes, Precaldera Rhyodacite Flows tower on the northern horizon.
 

 
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To the south are the Inyo Craters and the east side of Mammoth Mountain. 
 
 
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Delicate white flowers of sego lily Calochortus nuttallii stand out in the dense chaparral. 
 
 
 
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 The tulip shape draws in pollinators and the entire plant was used as a food source by Native Americans.
 
 
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Brilliant red of Desert Paintbrush, Castilleja, accent the grey alkaline soil.  Native Americans enjoyed the health benefits of this stunning plant which is similar to that of garlic.  
 
 
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The shadows grow long, clouds flow across the western sky signaling it’s time to start my descent back down from Lookout’s summit.  With so many wonders to explore in the Mammoth, Mono County area, I am anxiously awaiting my next adventure.  When I go out on my adventures I try to have a blank slate which allows for the story to come into focus.


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Follow my Blog and check back often to see where my next story will take you. 


For additional reading: 
https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/long_valley/field_guides_lookout_mountain.html





With my Nikon and tripod, my goal is to recreate the scene as it appears in nature, to preserve in a photographic image the awesome, yet simplistic beauty of the scene that waits around a bend or over a hill. Sometimes it's a colorful landscape, and many times I'm allowed in the presence of the numerous creatures that adapt to life in the wild.


No images on this blog are within Public Domain and are available for free download. 

 All rights reserved, world-wide and images protected by Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). All photography, graphics, text, design, and content is copyrighted by Bonnie Rannald and should not be copied, down-loaded, transferred and re-created in any way without the express consent, in writing to Bonnie Rannald. For information on Bonnie Rannald licensed, right-managed images, please submit a written request.

"Reflecting Nature's Artistry"

Follow this blog for upcoming post!
Photos Make Great Gifts!
Many of these images are available on our website.
We now offer Gift Certificates and Digital Downloads in addition to the
"Off The Wall" custom matted and framed images.




Sunday, August 28, 2016

Photo-adventures at Deadman's Creek, California



A peaceful creek with an ominous past



After reading about the intriguing legend of Deadman’s Creek, I was ready for a photo-adventure and planned a day trip to the area which is in Mono County near Mammoth Lakes, California. 


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The lazy Deadman’s Creek wanders through slopes with Quaking aspens, while Jeffrey Pines and various evergreens reach toward the blue sky. 


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 In such a serene environment, you might wonder how it came to be named Deadman’s Creek.


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It is told that in 1861 two prospectors were searching for the Lost Cement Mine which held a gold vein.  The burned and headless body of the one partner, Robert Hume was found in a shallow grave. Later, his head turned up in a stream which came to be named-- Deadman’s Creek.   When Farnsworth, the second partner was questioned, he told of a surprise Indian attack and barely escaping with his life.  However Farnsworth disappeared before an arrest warrant could be issued.  


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Then after a few more years, the remains of two more prospectors were found at the bottom of what was to become Deadman’s Pass.  Furthermore, in December 1879 after a severe winter storm, the body of mail carrier William Haines and his mailbags were recovered at the bottom of Deadman’s Summit.  


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Arriving at road’s end, I followed the path and saw 2 planks for crossing the stream.  At this point, you might be curious if I dared venture across the weathered boards and tempt the legend with my own mortality? I noticed a grassy path that led away from the creek and being the adventurous soul, I carefully walked the planks.  


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Trekking up through the tall grass, I came to the clearing and was rewarded with the most incredible view.  A sign standing on the rocky pumice ground stated that I was entering the Owens River Headwaters Wilderness. 


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There before me stood the tallest evergreens and the horizon that was accented with dormant volcanic domes.   


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Most of the wildflowers had reached their prime but the rabbitbrush was thriving and drawing in bees and several different fleeting butterflies. 


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To me, the negative entities that controlled the past were put to rest by the peaceful beauty of a thriving environment.  I left Deadman’s Creek with a renewed spirit and a yearning to explore more of the domes, craters and summits that were works of nature’s creative artistry.


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Join me and subscribe to my posts to see where my next photo-adventure will be. 




With my Nikon and tripod, my goal is to recreate the scene as it appears in nature, to preserve in a photographic image the awesome, yet simplistic beauty of the scene that waits around a bend or over a hill. Sometimes it's a colorful landscape, and many times I'm allowed in the presence of the numerous creatures that adapt to life in the wild.


No images on this blog are within Public Domain and are available for free download. 

 All rights reserved, world-wide and images protected by Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). All photography, graphics, text, design, and content is copyrighted by Bonnie Rannald and should not be copied, down-loaded, transferred and re-created in any way without the express consent, in writing to Bonnie Rannald. For information on Bonnie Rannald licensed, right-managed images, please submit a written request.

"Reflecting Nature's Artistry"

Follow this blog for upcoming post!
Photos Make Great Gifts!
Many of these images are available on our website.
We now offer Gift Certificates and Digital Downloads in addition to the
"Off The Wall" custom matted and framed images.




Thursday, August 4, 2016

Desert Wildflowers in the Aurora, Nevada Area



A ghost town alive with blooms 


 Looking for wildflowers in the Great Basin Desert can take me to some very interesting and off the beaten path locations.  Many species of flowering plants have unique adaptations that are specific to the type of soil and elevation. 

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In July, I planned a photo-adventure to the Aurora, Nevada area for the chance of catching any desert wildflowers that might be in bloom following monsoonal rain that moved through the mountains. 

Located in west central Nevada, near the California border, Aurora was a mining town that by 1869 had produced $27 million in gold. However, the gold veins proved to be shallow and due to its remote location, the town of Aurora was deserted and eventually became a ghost town.

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Today not much remains of the town except for the cemetery that is maintained and still receiving souls to be laid to rest under the tall junipers.  


The area south of the cemetery is where I focused my wildflower photography.  At an elevation of 7,441 Feet (2,268 meters) and surrounded by the Humboldt-Toiyable Forest, the wildflowers growing in this area are adapted to the lose, gravelly, alkaline soil; where most of the moisture comes from snowpack in the winter or a summer thunderstorm.  

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The first flowers that I noticed were pale yellow blooms of the Antelope Bitterbrush, Purshia tridentata which seemed to be growing everywhere.  "Bitterbrush" is in the Rosaceae or rose family, was used for medicinal purposes by Native Americans and is a browse plant for wildlife.

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Glancing down close to the ground I saw delicate yellow flowers of Brewer's navarretia, Navarretia brewer extending up from a layer of rocks.  These tiny flowers are under a centimeter in length. 

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A unique looking flower, the Cushion Desert Buckwheat, Eriogonum ovalifolium was growing in mats around the gravelly soil and is a species of wild buckwheat. 

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A deep blue-violet Anderson's Larkspur, Delphinium consolida  caught my eye standing out against a yellow flowering Bitterbrush shrub.  Larkspur is in the buttercup family and happens to be the flower for the month of July. 

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Purple clusters of Shaggy Milkvetch, Astragalus malacus thrive on the sandy slopes. 

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 In the pea family, this interesting flowering plant of Milkvetch has soft, white hairs covering its leaves. 

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Such dainty white flowers on the Longleaf Phlox, Phlox longifolia seem out of place in a desert environment but this plant can cover dry hillsides where it gives off a sweet fragrance to attract pollinators.  

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Periwinkle flowers of the Two-lobe Larkspur, Delphinium nuttallianum stood out against the pale green desert sage.  This variety of Larkspur prefers gravely soils.  

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Much to my surprise, I found numerous clusters of the colorful Bigelow's Monkeyflower, Mimulus bigelovii all along the desert floor.  During dry spells, this plant may only grow to an inch off the ground. 

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The Monkeyflower's name comes from the flower markings that resemble the face of a smiling monkey.  Not only is the plant beautiful, all parts are also edible. 

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While I was trekking deeper in to the denser desert vegetation, I began to notice a different type of yellow flowering plant.  Closer inspection revealed that I had come upon the Yellow Milkvetch, Astragalus flavus  This Milkvetch is in the pea family and grows in Selenium soils. 
 
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As the day was wearing long I began my departure which took me through Lucky Boy Pass.  Rounding a hair-pin turn and there on the roadside stood the most gorgeous stand of Scented Penstemon, Penstemon palmeri

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Carefully parking and bracing my camera, I managed to get a few sharp images of these beautiful flowers.  

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What a rewarding day this turned out to be! Continue to follow my blog and see where my next photo-adventure will go.  
 
 
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With my Nikon and tripod, my goal is to recreate the scene as it appears in nature, to preserve in a photographic image the awesome, yet simplistic beauty of the scene that waits around a bend or over a hill. Sometimes it's a colorful landscape, and many times I'm allowed in the presence of the numerous creatures that adapt to life in the wild.

No images on this blog are within Public Domain and are available for free download. 

 All rights reserved, world-wide and images protected by Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). All photography, graphics, text, design, and content is copyrighted by Bonnie Rannald and should not be copied, down-loaded, transferred and re-created in any way without the express consent, in writing to Bonnie Rannald. For information on Bonnie Rannald licensed, right-managed images, please submit a written request.

"Reflecting Nature's Artistry"

Follow this blog for upcoming post!
Photos Make Great Gifts!
Many of these images are available on our website.
We now offer Gift Certificates and Digital Downloads in addition to the
"Off The Wall" custom matted and framed images.