Sunday, January 30, 2011

Streams, Springs and Tinajas in Red Rock Canyon

Part II, Aquifers in Red Rock Canyon


 Part I of Red Rock Canyon was an overview of the area’s inception from being formed under an ancient sea to the present day desert landscape with canyons, sandstone formations and escarpments.  In Part II, we look at how water continues to play a prominent role in Red Rock's uniqueness, from seasonal precipitation to the numerous streams and springs, each with their own diverse micro-environments.

Just past the entrance to the Red Rock Scenic Loop and set against the backdrop of the Spring Mountains, First Creek flows through massive boulders, over colorful sandstone rocks, and along banks with single-leaf ash trees.

 






Within the First Creek Trail Head, the Shinarump waterfall flows 20 feet (6m) to the pool below when there has been adequate rainfall or snowmelt, creating its own unique micro-environment with Maidenhair Ferns.










Spring Mountain Ranch State Park located within the Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area is a definite oasis in the desert and holds the water rights to 53 natural springs in the 528 acres (214ha) of the park. Spring Mountain Ranch has a long history with cattle ranching and was once owned by the actress Vera Krupp who ran a working cattle ranch.  At present, many of the pastures are still being leased out for cattle grazing. Behind the ranch house, the 3 acre (1.21ha) Lake Harriet is a permanent water source and home to many different forms of wildlife.








One of many natural ponds at Spring Mountain Ranch surrounded by tall, mature cottonwood trees.







Inside the 13 mile Red Rock scenic loop are numerous perpetual streams including Pine Creek that runs through Pine Creek Canyon.  The unique micro-climate of Pine Creek Canyon supports the growth of tall Ponderosa pines that rarely grow below 6,000 feet 3,000 m, and are thought to be the remnant of a much larger ancient forest.





 
Lost Creek lies about half way through the Scenic loop and offers a serene view with a quiet reflecting pond. 








However, a closer look at the heavy boulders strewn around the area is a constant reminder of the violent earth movement that took place some 100 million years ago.












 



The Waterfall at Lost Creek is one of the outstanding features of Red Rock Canyon when it is flowing after a heavy rain or during snowmelt  as it plunges down to the alcove below.











In the general area of Lost Creek, Willow Springs stands as an important site visited by a hunter-gather society perhaps 10,000 years ago with its petroglyph carved rocks and limestone roasting pits.







 
Many of the aquifers in the Red Rock Conservation Area are fed from seasonal monsoons and low pressure systems that bring occasional rain or snow to the area. There is nothing quite as relaxing as being out at Red Rock during a light summer rain, watching the water flowing through cracks or cascading over sandstone buttresses as it has for millions of years.







Sometimes you might catch a rainbow as it forms across the loop.




During thunderstorms or heavy downpours, flash floods rage through the dry washes carrying tree limbs and big rocks, providing us with a glimpse into the past and how Red Rock was formed.



As paradoxical as it might seem in the harsh desert, water has always played a vital role in Red Rock's legacy.  Whether from underground streams or in the form of participation, water replenishes the aquifers which provide the micro-climates that are essential to the plants and animals of Red Rock Canyon.





In Part 3 of next week's blog, we take a closer look at the flora and fauna unique to the Mojave Desert and Red Rock Canyon.




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.




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





Saturday, January 22, 2011

Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area

Red Rock Canyon, Nevada
Part One of a Three Part Series


The Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area lies west of Las Vegas, Nevada in  the Mojave Desert and covers 10,000 acres (4,000 ha) of land.  To extensively explore Red Rock Canyon, we must take a voyage back in history to a time around 600 million years ago, when this area was buried under an ancient sea.




Living within the sea, a unique ecosystem of marine life contributed calcium from their bodies that when combined with the minerals from the sea would eventually form deposits giving us the limestone and dolomites that we now call Red Rock.





Today, Turtlehead Peak towers above the surrounding desert as a remnant of the ancient sea with its limestone beds formed from the marine life during the Paleozoic Era. 




Moving forward in time to the Age of the Dinosaurs, 225 million years ago, tectonic shifts caused the earth to move and the sea bed to rise. Rocks, exposed over time oxidized, (rusted) and are now part of the red and orange Moenkopi Formation that is visible across the western U. S.




After many years the climate began to turn arid and around 180 million years ago, the Red Rock area was becoming a desert.  Sand blown in by the winds was accumulating in massive shifting sand dunes that stretched for hundreds of miles, thousands of feet in height.  Over time, the harsh ever changing winds etched patterns as seen in the Aztec Sandstone of Calico Hills.





Alternating hues of red, white and yellow in the Aztec Sandstone are thought to be the result from groundwater churning through the sand and leaching out oxidized iron. 




Iron oxide and calcium carbonate interacted with windblown sand and water, solidifying rock and creating intricate designs.




The colorful Spring Mountains, an escarpment 20 miles long (32km) and around 3,000 feet high (914.4m) are thought to be the western-most extension of the Navajo Sandstone of the Colorado Plateau.  The vivid reds, dark maroons and lighter tones of buff stand out across the eastern flank of the Spring Mountains, with contrasting greens of PiƱon and juniper thriving at their base.





During the monsoon season, water rushes through cracks in the cliff walls creating waterfalls that cascade down hundreds of feet to the streams below. 





Sculpted by the elements of wind, water, sand and intense desert heat, Red Rock stands as a unique creation by nature's hand.  Red Rock as we know it today is a thriving ecosystem, so interconnected and so full of life.

http://www.redrockcanyonlv.org


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Rock_Canyon_National_Conservation_Area


Follow this blog for upcoming post,

Part II Aquifers in Red Rock Canyon


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.




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





Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wildflower Photography Workshop in Death Valley

 Photography Workshop


Imagine a desert landscape colored with yellows, golds and purples of numerous wildflowers. With all the soaking rains through out the winter, the wildflower season at Death Valley promises to be one of the best in years. On March 8--10th., 2011, professional photographer Karen Linsley and I will be offering a Wildflower Photography Workshop in Death Valley.

The workshop fee of $99.00 includes tuition and camping in the Furnace Creek group campground, plus an additional $20.00 park entrance fee.  From sunrise to sunset, Karen and I will be offering techniques and tips on photographing the wildflowers.  At night, while we camp in the group camping area at Furnace Creek, we will point our cameras at the canopy of stars overhead.  Death Valley with its dark skies is one of the best locations for night photography.




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.




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





Saturday, January 15, 2011

Nevada, Land of Snow Capped Mountains


Nevada Land of Contrast



I have mentioned my adopted state of Nevada so often when posting photographs that I thought it might be interesting to provide some background information on Nevada. The local pronunciation for Nevada is with a short "a", like in cat and never with the long "a" Ne-vah-da, that is often heard on TV or in the movies. Nevada is referred to as the "Silver State" because one of the largest silver lodes in the world was found at the Comstock Mine in Virginia City. It is also know as the "Battle Born State", which is proudly displayed on the deep blue state flag from achieving statehood in 1864 during the Civil War.





The word Nevada is Spanish, meaning snow fall. The name came from the Spanish explorers after they saw the many tall snowcapped mountains that include 172 summits with 2,000 feet (610m) of prominence, making Nevada the most mountainous state in the U.S. Many of the mountain peaks are above 13,000 feet (4,000m), with the valleys no lower in elevation than 3,000 feet (910m).

The Spring Mountains are the largest mountain range in Southern Nevada and lie west of Las Vegas in the Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area, which is in the Mojave Desert.
With the summer temperatures in Southern Nevada reaching well over 100°f (37.7°c), the winters can be cold and bring snow to the higher elevations and even the desert floor. The Aztec Sandstone of Calico Hills stands out against the occasional winter snow storm in the Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area. No matter what the weather, the 10,000 acre (4,000 ha) Red Rock Conservation Area is a must see when visiting Las Vegas. The one-way 13 mile (21 km) paved loop is open during day light hours, providing vehicle access to hiking and interpretive trails.



In Northern Nevada, the Sierra Nevada Mountains run for 400 miles (640 km) north to south, through Nevada and California, and are around 70 miles (110 km) across, east to west. The highest peak of the Sierras is Mount Humphreys near Bishop, California and stands at almost 14,000 feet (4,300 km).


Lake Tahoe is set against the backdrop of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and is the largest alpine lake in North America. Located along the border of California and Nevada, Tahoe has a surface elevation of 6,225 feet (1,897m) and a depth of 1,645 feet (591m), making it the second deepest lake in the U.S. after Oregon's Crater Lake.



Nevada is certainly a state of contrast with its 110,561 sq miles reaching from parts of Death Valley to the Alpine Lake Tahoe. With a population of 2.7 million, the 7th. largest state is only the 35th most populous state. With so much open space and a warm temperate climate, the State of Nevada is a place for adventure with a lot of nature to explore.




For more information on the State of Nevada:







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.




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





Sunday, January 9, 2011

Jaming in the New Year







Northern Nevada Bluegrass Association
New Year's Jam





On January 1, 2011, the Northern Nevada Bluegrass Association welcomed the New Year to Reno, Nevada with a unique event, the New Year's Jam and Potluck. What better way to celebrate the New Year than enjoying good home made food while listening to acoustic musicians play the grass roots music of country, blues and gospel that has become known as Bluegrass. The Bluegrass music legacy goes back to the first immigrants who settled in America, bringing the folk music and ballads from their homelands of Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England. As the early settlers drifted south and settled in Kentucky, Tennessee, the Virginias and Carolinas, new songs were incorporated to become a standard of the folk music of their region. The music was a reflection of the areas where people lived, the countryside, mountains and daily life experiences. With the slave trade, new music was introduced along with the design for a musical instrument that was to become an integral part of Bluegrass music, the banjo.




The Bluegrass Jams that are so popular today have their roots back to the 1600's or earlier when people would gather in a circle around a campfire and someone would start picking out a tune. Others would join in and soon the whole group would be playing together. At the modern day jams, a circle is formed by the musicians where one person calls out a song and starts playing. Each musician takes a turn playing the melody and improvises around it, while the other musicians perform accompaniment. What is so interesting with a Bluegrass Jam is how a bunch of musicians can join in, who might not know each other and play unrehearsed so beautifully together.



For more information about Bluegrass and Jams, please visit Northern Nevada Bluegrass Association's website: http://www.nnba.org/

The Northern Nevada Bluegrass Association is a non-profit, volunteer organization promoting the enjoyment of bluegrass music in the Northern Nevada area.



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.




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