Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Late Blooming Wildflowers in Eastern Yosemite



Accents of color along Tioga Pass Drive 


On August 1, 2017 I did a return visit to Tioga Pass in hopes of finding more wildflowers in bloom since my July 23rd. photo-adventure. Tioga Pass serves as the eastern entry to Yosemite National Park and climbs to 9,943 ft./ (3,031 m) elevation. 


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With warming temperatures, I noticed many of the wildflowers from my previous visit were starting to bolt.  However, driving up to higher elevations and even more wildflowers like this Showy Milkweed were in full bloom.   The red flowers are Scarlet Penstemon Penstemon murrayanus  which thrive in some of the worst climate areas of the U.S.-- on rocky, gravelly slopes, at from 3000 to 10000’ elevations. 


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A dash of blue and a healthy bunch of Brewer’s Lupine caught my eye. This flower, the Lupinus breweri,  is native to California’s mountainous areas.  


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Beautiful stands of lilac, the Fireweed or great willow herb, Chamaenerion angustifolium,  accented the gravely slopes.  This wildflower is named for its ability to act as a coloniser on burnt sites after forest fires.  

   
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The Longleaf phlox, Phlox longifolia, was growing profusely around the shady areas about mid way on the Tioga Pass road.  


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A sudden rain storm gave me a break for lunch while I stopped by an area dense with Jeffery Pines. Delicate white flowers of Mariposa Lily, Calochortus, accented the forest floor. 


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Almost hidden from sight, deep lavender flowers of Broadleaf Lupine Lupinus latifolius drew me in for a closer look and a click of the shutter.


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Arriving up higher, I came to a meadow where a number of wildflowers were thriving in the moist soil.

 Showy pink flowers accenting green foliage, Meadow Penstemon, Penstemon rydbergii,  can be found in damp, grassy meadows of Yosemite National Park.  




A small cluster of deep blue Nuttall’s larkspur, Delphinium nuttallianum, or two lobed larkspur were so close to the ground, they might have gone unnoticed.  


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One of the most unusual wildflowers are the Pussytoes, Antennaria,  which can reach up to 20” tall.  They are so named due to their similarity to kitten’s toes.   


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A bunch of Yellow Monkey Flowers, Erythranthe guttata, was spread out near the road side.  This flower gets it
is name from appearing like a monkey’s smiling face during part of its growth cycle. 


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Time was moving on and the shadows were growing long.  The breeze was blowing harder, so it was time to head back down Tioga Pass.


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Just as I was leveling out from my drive down, a huge cluster of pink flowers caught my eye across the road.  After turning around and carefully crossing the busy road, I realized that these were Longleaf phlox!  This flower can grow from 4 to 20” and was at least 20” in height.  What an awesome find to end my day along the Tioga Pass. 


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Follow my blog and check back often to see where my next photo-adventure will take me!





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.

 Visit my website at:

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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Many of these images are available on my website.

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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Tioga Pass Reveals its Soft Side as Wildflowers Bloom


Fragile beauty thrives in the rocky terrain


Tioga Pass, the paved road leading to the eastern entrance of Yosemite opened late this year due to the huge amount of snow over the 2016-2017 winter.  As soon as possible, I made a day trip to check out the scenery along this picturesque drive.  Tioga Pass winds up through the higher elevations and is so narrow in places that it is not safe for winter driving; therefore the road is closed from the first snowfall until late spring. 


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I was quite surprised to see so much snow still lingering on the slopes this late in June. 


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There was so much water coming from the melting snow that it formed a large stream which flowed into a waterfall that poured down through the rugged mountainous canyon.


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Driving up higher, I began to notice wildflowers growing along the rocky slopes. 


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On closer inspection and I realized these vivid fuchsia flowers were  Mountain Pride or  Penstemon newberryi  penstemons. 


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In the gravely areas along the roadside the Showy Milkweed was just beginning to flower.


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Suddenly a flash of red caught my eye and the Beaked Beardtongue penstemons  Penstemon Rostriflorus were thriving along the rocky bands of the road.  


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Additionally a number of Giant Red Paintbrush Castilleja miniata were making a spectacular showing! 


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Delicate flowers of  the spiny Prickly Poppy accented the rocky terrain.


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What an awesome photo-adventure this turned out to be.  I came in hopes of just enjoying the rugged scenery along the Tioga Pass and was delighted with a showing of wildflowers.  


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Come back often and  join me as I explore the awesome moments of nature.  Follow my blog for updates on 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.


Many of these images are available on my website:
  http://www.bonnierannald.com/

"Off The Wall" custom matted and framed images.

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.







Sunday, August 27, 2017

Bullock's Oriole, a Summer Visitor



A mated pair returns each spring



Backyard birding in the warm months brings a special pleasure with the arrival of the Bullock’s Orioles. These birds begin to show up in early April from their summer migration.  A dash of bright orange from the green leaves and a whistling call signals that it’s time to get the nectar feeders ready to hang.   


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The oriole’s diet consists of fruit, insects and nectar.  They are especially drawn to the same nectar water that I supply for the hummingbirds: a 1:4 mixture of sugar to boiled water.  Their feeders are like hummingbird feeders except with slightly larger holes and larger perches. 


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Male Bullock’s Orioles are easy to identify with their deep orange plumage with black accents. The females and first year-males however are more difficult to identify because they have similar colors; gray-brown on the upper areas, with dull yellow on the underparts. The only noticeable difference on the male is the eye-lines and black on the throat. 


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Not too long after both males and females arrival they soon begin the task of nest building.  Each year the mated pair selects a site on the outer limbs of my tall elm tree.  They always make a new nest which they weave from string, strands of plastic tarp and grass that hangs like a sock.


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Once the chicks hatch, the male and female are kept busy hunting for insects and flying up to the nest. Can you  spot the yellow head peeking out from the nest?


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After the juvenile fledge, it’s a special treat to watch the parents training these youngsters to eat fruit from my mulberry trees and drink from the nectar feeders.  


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Around mid-July, I begin to miss seeing the adults and realize that they have departed to fly south where they will spend the winter.  The juveniles stay for several more weeks building up their stamina for the long trip south.   


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Over the years from bird watching in my yard, I began to notice a pattern where the orioles were in the yard at dusk, but gone the following morning.  I did some inquiring on the Internet and found to my surprise that orioles and songbirds migrate at night.  Studies have found that when birds are in the nest, they spend a large portion of their time at night looking out at the stars. It is believed that by watching the stars in the nest, birds develop the ability to recognize star patterns and their movement in the night sky.  Furthermore, it is theorized that birds use the North Star for navigation. During spring migration, orioles and other type birds fly to the north, or to the North Star, and in fall they fly away from it, heading south to Mexico.  On cloudy or foggy nights, it is believed that birds fly above the clouds and can actually detect the earth’s magnetism through a built-in compass.

It is always a sweet sadness when my yard becomes quiet and still.  I sure do miss the flurry of activity from these summer visitors. However I know they will be back again.  I bid them safe travels on their journey south and will look forward to their return next spring.  


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Check back often and follow my blog to see where my next photo-adventure will take me! 


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.


Visit my website at: http://www.bonnierannald.com/ 



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.

  "Off The Wall" custom matted and framed images.





Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Photographing the Solar Eclipse, August 21, 2017



Being in the moment with nature as the sun grows darker



On the morning of August 21st. I was packed and ready to photograph the solar eclipse.  What a beautiful morning, the sky was almost completely clear of clouds with just a little haze  hanging on the mountains from all the summer wildfires. 


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I chose an area with a view of the lake but off the beaten trail.  I was hoping to be away from civilization and just alone with the natural environment.    


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After setting up my camera, 500mm lens, Baader Solar Filter on my heaviest tripod, I took a test photo of the sun before the eclipse started.  The Baader Solar Filter is very dark but allows the natural color of the sun, which is white on the photograph.   


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 Before starting to photograph, I checked out the special solar viewing glasses.


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At approximate 08:53 PDT, I noticed the dark area beginning to appear on the top of the sun.  The solar eclipse was starting.  The dark spots on the face of the Sun are sun spots.   


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Continuing to photograph the eclipsing Sun every few minutes as the moon advanced across its face, I bracketed my exposure from 1/125 second up to 1/1000 second.  The camera was set on manual mode, at f/8 and 100 ISO.


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 When the Sun began to grow darker, I noticed how quiet and still everything seemed to be.  All of a sudden, the wings of a golden eagle caught my eye as it headed back toward the canyon.  This was a very special moment, almost like a totem was there.  

The landscape was getting darker with each advance of the eclipsing Sun and the early  morning heat was beginning to cool down.  A slight breeze moved the still air.   


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Around 10:14 PDT it appeared that the Sun had reached the total point of eclipse for this area in Nevada.


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I paused from my photography to notice my surroundings, the dark shadows, cool breeze and stillness with any wildlife.  Shortly afterward, the surface of the sun began to lighten and the morning heat returned.  I heard birds chirping in the canyon and saw a few flying toward the sage brush. 


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What an experience this was, it was a thrill to try and photograph the Sun but even more meaningful  to become one with nature and just be in the moment. 


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I took the artistic creativity to work this image in Photoshop to bring out the colors surrounding the Sun through the Baader Solar Filter. 

Follow my blog and check back to see where my next photo-adventures will take me.   





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, July 9, 2017

Climate Change or Hot Spell


 

 The water’s too green for me! 
 


On a hot July weekend what could be more refreshing than spending time wading in a cool lake surrounded by tall cottonwood trees?  My chosen spot for this getaway was the Lahontan State Park with its 69 miles of shoreline, a favorite for nature lovers to camp, picnic and enjoy aquatic activities. 


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Making a quick stop for picnic provisions, I headed out on Alt 95 to the Silver Springs entrance at the state park.  Verbal warnings came from the friendly ranger about the water level being up over many of the beaches and that a number of cars had gotten stuck driving in the lose sand.   


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Parking in a shady spot, I gathered my camera and started to walk down to the day use area.  I noticed that the water was up to the benches on the picnic tables and that the BBQ grills were almost totally submerged. 


  How interesting I thought, but as I drew closer to the water I saw that it had the appearance of green pea soup!


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I picked up a bright yellow leaf to drop in the water for a macro shot and it was immediately sucked down and did not float.  I then realized what I was witnessing was a huge algal bloom.  This happens when sunlight and warmer temperatures accelerate the growth of blue-green algae, cyanobacteria, in water that has an over abundance of phosphorus and nitrogen from agricultural pesticides and fertilizers.  


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Moving on to a northern cove and the scene looked like a set from the B rated “Swamp Thing”.  Any minute I expected to catch something from the corner of my eye rearing up from the murky depths.  


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Making the adventure even creepier was the absence of water fowl, except for a lone killdeer.  


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 The flycatchers seemed to be doing well.



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The flycatchers must be dining on the abundance of dragonflies.



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The green pea soup water didn’t seem to bother anyone else.  Families were enjoying the day with jet skies and children were splashing about and having loads of fun.   


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With record breaking hot summers and the warming climate, I wonder if this is the trend of things to come.  As for me, I’ll keep my camera dry and be content to just stroll along the shore. 


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Join me for my next photo-adventure and as I’m out in nature, I will share with you my observations from behind the lens.  Check my website and order that special print to have a lasting moment in time with nature.




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.



Visit my website at: http://www.bonnierannald.com/




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 my website.

"Off The Wall" for custom matted and framed images.