Sunday, March 27, 2011

Death Valley and the Artist's Drive




Zabriskie Point and the Artist's Pallet
 

There is so much to explore in Death Valley and one of the most beautiful areas is the Artist's Drive.  The nine mile, 14.484096 km, one way scenic loop lies at the foot of the Black Mountains between Furnace Creek and Badwater.
   


As the narrow paved road curves and bends over hills and across steep gullies, we were taken on a voyage back in time through Death Valley's violent past while it was being created by volcanic activity.



The Artist's Palette, vivid hues of orange, mustard and yellow accent the clay which was composed from cemented gravel and volcanic debris.



The Black Mountains are a result of the uplifting caused from faulting. The broken layers of multi-colored rocks were created over the vastness of time from the oxidation of metals: red, pink and yellow from iron salts; green from decomposing mica; and purple from manganese. 



The Desert Holly blends in so well with the harsh desert surroundings,
it often goes unnoticed.



Zabriskie Point and the Artist's Pallet stand as a testament to nature's artistry and the violent eruptions, ancient lava flows and million of years of erosion involved in the creation of Death Valley.



Photography like nature is forever changing and no one moment remains the same.  What I found most rewarding with our group in the Death Valley Photography Experience was that we were able to stay on track with our plans for each photography session and were also able to make a mutual change of direction to go to a different scene, whenever it presented itself. 




 For additional information on Death Valley, please visit the following link:

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




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, March 20, 2011

A Hike to Natural Bridge


Natural Bridge at Death Valley

 During the March 2011 Death Valley Photography Experience, one of our side adventures was exploring the  Natural Bridge Canyon with our cameras. 




The entrance to the canyon is around a half mile walk, (0.804677 km) from the Natural Bridge Trail Head.




After entering the narrow canyon with such high vertical walls, a passage of time is felt. Almost like being in nature's sacred temple.




  Thousands of years ago, a stream once flowed through this canyon but now the rock walls remain dry, untill it rains and the flood waters come pouring down, carving out more of the walls.  




When there are seasonal rains, flood waters wash over the walls, creating interesting etched patters from mud drippings.  These are not safe times to be inside the canyon at Natural Bridge. 




A view from under the 50 foot (15.24 m) tall Natural Bridge. 






Mineral deposits are found in many of the cracks in the canyon walls.  





 Smooth vertical chutes line the canyon walls from eons of erosion.





Natural Bridge is an interesting 2 mile (3.218688 km) trek with glimpses of the geological history that created parts of Death Valley.



 Part 3 in next week's blog, the sunset colors at Artist Drive and Zabriskie Point.



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, March 13, 2011

2011 Death Valley Wildflower Photograpy Sojourn


The 2011 Death Valley Photography Experience



On March 8, 2011 a group of nine people met in Death Valley National Park for the first annual Wildflower Photography Workshop, under the direction of Image Angels professional photographer Karen Linsley and me.  Most in the group were unacquainted and what happened over the next one and half days was a remarkable bonding from sharing an adventure in one of the most inhospitable places on earth.




 Death Valley was so named when a group of pioneers became lost in the winter of 1849 because they thought they were taking a shortcut to the gold mines in Californian.  They were stuck in Death Valley for weeks and assumed dead. However only one in the group died.




What causes Death Valley to be such an inhospitable place is a number of factors.  Located between the Great Basin and Mojave Desert, Death Valley has a violent creation over a span of millions of years from earthquake activity and severe erosion. Over time, flood waters rushing in to the lower elevations deposited salt and other minerals which collected in the 200 square miles (520 km2) valley floor, making any standing pools of water undrinkable, thus the name--Badwater.  An exaggerated rainshadow effect causes Death Valley to be the driest area in North America, receiving on average 1.5 inches (38 mm) of rain a year.  Having the lowest elevation in the Western Hemisphere, 282 feet (86 m) below sea level, Death Valley is also one of the hottest places on earth with a recorded temperature on 134 °F (56.7 °C) on July 10, 1913.  Winter’s can also be harsh when temperatures drop toward the freezing point.




So why choose such a desolate, inhospitable location for a wildflower photography workshop?  Along with the challenges that Death Valley presents, it also offers so much diversity with its rugged terrain, varying saturated colors and thriving ecosystems.





The following are highlights from our 2011 Death Valley Photography Experience:



 After setting up camp at Furnace Creek, 
the group relaxes before going out on the first photo shoot.


 

An Antelope Squirrel comes by looking for some snacks.




The first photo shoot was catching the sunset at the Sand Dunes.
Far in the distance, one of the photographers waits for the sun to drop.
 




A colorful sky greets us at sunrise the following day.



Wildflowers of Blue Phacelia and  white Desert Chicory
grow in the slopes and rocky areas close to the main highway.





The Blue Phacelia grow profusely, accented with white Brown-eyed Evening Primrose. 




 
Blue Phacelia and Brown-eyed Evening Primrose accent the rocks and wooded areas. 



Creosote Bush and Brittle-bush color the desert with accents of yellow.


Setting out as a group with the goal to photograph the rare and unique wildflowers that bloom ever so timely in the spring, we were soon captivated by the lure of Death Valley’s mystique and the Wildflower Photography Workshop evolved in to a mutual photography experience with lasting memories and friendships.  We are now committed and determined to offer The Photography Experience with return visits to Death Valley and other intriguing areas.

 


 Next week's blog will be a continuation of the 2011 Death Valley Photography Experience, The Hike to Natural Bridge.




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, March 6, 2011

Wildflowers of the Death Valley Area

Death Valley in Bloom

One of the things that I look forward to the most in spring along with the warmer temperatures is when wildflowers start to bloom and the desert is carpeted in color. This spring on March 8-10th. professional photographer Karen Linsley and I have designed a Wildflower Photography Workshop in Death Valley where if the conditions are just right the desert will come alive with numerous wildflowers.






Getting ready for the workshop, I have written a three part series on desert wildflowers. This week's post is the conclusion and a preview of many of the wildflowers that grow in the Death Valley area.

In order for there to be a good crop of wildflowers in the spring, weather conditions must be ideal over the fall and winter. Many seeds will lay dormant for 10 to 20 years waiting for the soaking rains that are spaced out to wash away the protective coating and when the days have been warmed by the sun, the seeds will quickly sprout. 




On rare occasions all the wildflowers bloom at the same time, attracting the most bees, butterflies, moths and hummingbirds to pollinate the plants and ensure the cycle of life continues. Most wildflowers will continue to bloom, ending when the dry hot heat returns to the desert, usually during the month of June.





Dune Primrose opens in the early evening and closes by late morning to fill the desert night with its sweet aroma. Growing prolifically in open sandy areas or near sand dunes after abundant winter rain, it may carpet the desert floor with its white flowers. 




Palmer Penstemon's pink flowers growing on tall stalks color the desert landscape in such beauty. Also known as the hummingbird plants, the Penstemon have a most delightful fragrance and are found along desert washes during spring and early summer. Its leaves and stems are covered with a layer of wax to prevent moisture evaporation. 




The Sand Blazing Star accents washes and pebbly slopes in the spring with white flowers that are streaked inside with orange lines which are nectar guides to attract bees inward to the pollen.

Desert Globemallow also known as Desert Hollyhock is a favorite food of the Bighorn Sheep. It fills the slopes and flats with numerous orange blossoms in the spring and will grow through out the summer if there is additional moisture.

Purple Mat, known as a "belly flower" because it grows low to the ground, spreads its mat along sandy areas and has a long growing season when there is ample moisture.




Blue Lupines line the banks and washes in higher elevations with their striking color and will continue to bloom without much moisture.

The sweet scented Desert Four O'Clock open their purple flowers in the afternoon and blossom through the night. Found on stony areas and washes, the Four O'clock is a prolific bloomer lasting during the warm weather months.

Sand Verbena, growing at lower elevations, carpets the desert with pink and white flowers in sandy areas and around dunes when there has been abundant rain in the winter.

Desert Dandelion covers the sandy flat areas with a splendor of yellow in spring, but only when the right combination of temperature and rain occurs.





So in just two days, the Death Valley Wildflower Photography Workshop adventure begins. What a rare treat, to be able to walk among numerous wildflowers of yellow, gold, lavender and fuchsia that may have been waiting up to 20 years to bloom. An artist pallet of color adorns the desolate salt and alluvial fans in the 3.4 million acres of Death Valley National Park. 










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/