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"

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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, July 24, 2016

Desert Oasis at Fletcher Stage Stop



Cool stream, wildflowers and a screaming hawk 

What could be a better way to escape the July desert heat than spending the day at a real oasis under tall cottonwood trees with a running stream and watercress growing every?  



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This desert oasis was once a stage stop known as Fletcher.  From 1883 to 1919 this remote area connected the thriving mining camp of Aurora to the rail line at Hawthorne, Nevada.


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As I wander along the cool stream on this hot summer day, I can imagine how people might also have enjoyed a refreshing pause during their travels with the tall shade trees and fresh, cool clear water. 


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Much to my surprise, a number of flowering plants were growing in the marshy soil and along the sandy bank.  


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Wild watercress seemed to be thriving in abundance.  Acknowledged as one of the oldest edible green plants consumed by humans,  Nasturtium officinale is prized today for its nutrient rich leaves and stems. 


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Delicate violent flowers of American Speedwell Veronica americana mixed in with the watercress.  This wild beauty is edible, rich in nutrients, has medicinal qualities and a taste similar to watercress.  


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 Several clusters of yellow sand verbena Abronia latifolia stood out on the sandy bank with the native grass.


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Small trumpet flowers of Yellow Monkeyflower Mimulus guttatus grew in the shade.


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Just when I thought my day could not bring me more photo-adventures in nature, over head I heard a piercing scream.  Looking up, a red-tailed hawk was flying in over the trees.  As fast as I could aim my camera, a black bird came in fast pursuit of the hawk.


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I managed to get several clicks of the shutter before the screaming raptor was chased away.  


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The stage stop at Fletcher has become on of my favorite photo retreats, whether it is in summer or winter.  What great diversity in a natural landscape with such a peaceful setting.  Follow my blog and subscribe to my posts while I bring you along on more of my photo-adventures.   







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.





Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Revolution of Summer


Artist Exhibition and Reception, New York City

 It is with great honor that my Nevada Nature Photography has been selected to exhibit with other talented artists at the "Revolution of Summer" in New York City from June 30 ~ July 3, 2016.  LOFT 227
227 W. 29th St. 4F.  



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When I was invited to exhibit in the "Revolution of Summer" Curator Lyza Sahertian requested that I select five images that best represent me as a Nevada Photographer.  After much thought I selected the following photographs that have special meaning of Nevada to me:

“Quiet Retreat”:  In Nevada, the seasonal transition from winter to spring and then to summer is often so unpredictable on the east side of the Sierra Crest  The days warm and then a cold front moves in from the Pacific, lowering the temperatures.  Sometimes the landscape is covered with icy freezing fog. 

Solstice Moon:  The full moon rising over the mountains in Nevada has always been one of my most favorite subjects to photograph, especially when it appears bigger than life over the Gillis Mountain Range and dazzling across the water at Walker Lake, Nevada   

Summer Storm:  A lightning storm in the desert is an awesome show of Nature's pyrotechnics.  This rare event was photographed over the Spring Mountains, near Las Vegas.

Walker Lake Wildhorses:  A herd of wild horses run along the shore at Walker Lake, Nevada.  These wild horses were saved from being rounded up and now roam free in their on habitat at the south end of the lake. 

The Challenge:  As spring revolves to summer, two wild stallions are feeling frisky and up for a challenge at Cold Creek, Nevada.  The wild horse is as much an icon of Nevada as the snow-capped mountains and desert landscape.

Thank you Curator Lyza Sahertian for giving me the opportunity to showcase my nature photography and my adopted state of Nevada.

If you are in New Your, I invite you to come and enjoy the exhibition.



 Reception June 30th, 7~9pm
  



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.



Monday, June 27, 2016

Great Basin Wildflowers on the Drive to Corey Peak


Catching the wildflowers before the summer heat 


Locating the sometimes allusive wildflowers in the Great Basin Desert for photos can be a tricky task.  Most often it comes down to getting lucky with Mother Nature.  Although the Great Basin Desert is noted as a cold desert, the sun is hot and will bake the rocky soil in a matter on minutes.

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What fascinates me with desert wildflowers, along with the fragile beauty, is their tenacity and miracle of adaptation in these harsh environments.  A rocky landscape hardly seems the ideal place for wildflowers to thrive.  However, the Woolly groundsel (Packera cana) in the aster family benefits from growing near rocks due to the mulching effect from the rocks to retain moisture.  

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With the El Nino weather pattern bringing more rain and snow during the winter and spring of 2016, many of the wildflower seeds that were lying dormant have sprung to life.  To take advantage of this rare opportunity, I have been traveling to areas that I hope will have different types of wildflowers that adapt to the elevations.

One area that I recently visited was the mountainous area of Cory Peak.  Located on the east side of the Wassuk Range and to the east of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Cory Peak stands at 10,520 foot, 3206 meter elevation.  I found that a number of flowering plants were already past their bloom. 

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The white flowers of this large Sierra Mountain Misery shrub had dried up and turned a rusty red color. 

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Mountain Misery or Chamaebatia foliolosa was so named by the miners because of its strange odor and that it seemed to grow everywhere.  Many Native American Tribes valued the plant as a remedy for treating various illness.
 

Pale yellow flowers of Bitterbrush, one of the first shrubs to bloom in the spring, was in various stages of bloom.  The shrub gives off a pleasant spicy, cinnamon fragrance and provides sustenance for deer and other types of wildlife. 

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Deep purple, thick clusters of Pursh's  Milkvetch (Astragalus purshii)  accented many areas in the disturbed rocky soils. 

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Newberry's Milkvetch with pink-lavender flowers in the Fabaceae family were showing off in the gravelly areas.

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Flowering in the open flat areas at mid-elevations Nuttall's Linanthus (Leptosiphon nuttallii)  of the Phlox genus was adding a delicate touch to the rugged terrain.  

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Accents of bright yellow with the Sulphur buckwheat (Eriogonum umbellatum) a species of wild buckwheat stood out at the mid-elevations.   

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A foreboding looking plant, the Granite prickly phlox (linanthus pungens), was just beginning its bloom in the higher elevation washes.
 
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One of the largest shrubs of Mormon tea that I have encountered was taking up a huge space along the road-side.  The unique plant appears to have no leaves, just jointed leafless branches.  The branches have been used for medical purposed by numerous peoples; including the Mormon Settlers from which its name is derived.   
 
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During the month of July, most of the wildflowers at lower elevations will succumb to the desert heat.  Locating these desert wildflowers to me is like being a kid on a treasure hunt, it's so exciting to see what nature creates like with this bouquet of  Desert Paintbrush and Milkvetch.

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Follow my blog to see where my next Photo-adventure takes me.  However till then, if you happen to be in the New York area from June 30th. through July 3rd. stop by and see my photography in the "Revolution of Summer" Exhibition, Curated by Lyza Sahertian NYC ArtHouse; LOFT 227, 227 W. 29th St. 4F New York City.  Reception June 30th, from 7 to 9pm.
 


 

No images on this blog are within Public Domain.






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.

 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, June 23, 2016

Wildflowers bloom on Summer Solstice at Corey Peak, Nevada




Delicate flowers bring gentle beauty to a rugged mountain pass


My quest to record photographically the rare occurrence of desert wildflowers that bloom in the spring has taken me to very remote and interesting locations.  Timing is critical and best planned after there has been some rain.  However, trekking out on dirt roads after a desert rain can be tricky and must be approached with caution.
 
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On a calm, fair weather day, just before Summer Solstice, I made a day trip to Corey Peak in search of wildflowers.  Corey Peak is the second highest summit in the Wassuk Range, at 10,520 foot elevation (3206 m) and lies to the east of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

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After turning off from Lucky Boy Pass. the road to Corey Peak is not as well maintained or as wide as the  Lucky Boy Pass road.

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Ascending higher, the road becomes narrow with large rocks and ruts that must be carefully negotiated.

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Looking down at the switchbacks that made for an interesting and challenging drive!

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The view from the summit is breath-taking with dormant volcano peaks rising  up and the  Sierra Nevada Mountains with traces of snow in the background.

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To my delight as I climbed in elevation, I began to see clusters of wildflowers on both sides of the winding road that were thriving in the rocky terrain.  The fragrant, yellow flowers of Bitterbrush seemed to be everywhere, creating a garden setting in the rugged landscape.

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The Desert Milkvetch was in full bloom, with its pale purple flowers.

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The deeper purple Newberry's Milkvetch shared its space with yellow flowers of Woolly Grandsel.

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A beautiful bouquet of red Paintbrush accented with lavender Milkvetch flowers stood out against green and grey desert plants. What an arrangement of nature's artistry!

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As the day progressed, clouds started moving in from the west.  I was thankful for the diffused lighting, however I also had to keep a close watch on the weather changes these clouds might bring.  Driving down this narrow, rocky road in a downpour would be next to impossible.

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Rounding a curve and I noticed a graphic rock-outcropping.  I  stopped for a photo and the  the moon began to rise in the east, coming up behind the rocks.  Feeling at peace with this awesome landscape, I imagined welcoming the summer solstice with the ancient ones.  What a fun and inspirational adventure this wildflower quest turned out to be.

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Check back and follow my blog where I will be posting more details about the wildflowers from my Corey Pass Wildflower photo shoot.

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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.