Monday, January 16, 2012

Desert Bighorn Sheep at Walker Lake



 Photographing the Cliff Dwellers

  
A few weeks ago in January, early one Sunday morning as I was leaving the beach at Walker Lake, I spotted a Desert Bighorn Sheep standing on a ledge at the area knows as The Cliffs. 



Many years ago, the water level to Walker Lake was much higher and the area known as The Cliffs was underwater.  In present time the water level has receded eastward, way below the highway.



 After a short hike scrambling around the rocks, I noticed a group of at least 10 bighorns grazing on the dry desert grass. I quietly set my camera with the ISO at 800 for a faster shutter speed since the canyon was still in shadows with the morning light.



A closer look through the lens revealed that this was a herd of younger sheep and females.  Bighorn sheep have a gregarious nature and will stay together in large groups. The adult males, rams, will usually remain a part from the ewes and young in bachelor herds for most of the time.



Several sheep stop grazing to watch and a youngster peeks out from around the cliff. 



During winter, the sheep can be found in sheltered areas around the canyons and along the cliffs. 



In the warmer season, they will migrate to the upper areas.  Interestingly, the sheep may inhabit their same bedding area for many years. 


 
The rugged rocky cliffs allow the sure footed Bighorn sheep quick escapes from predators.   
 

Photographs Make Great Gifts



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 11, 2012

Walker Lake's East Side


A Glimpse Through Earth's Ancient History

A trek through the desert to the east side of Walker Lake takes one back through the ages to a glimpse at Earth's ancient times.  The natural high desert lake of Walker Lake lies with in the Great Basin Desert, south of Reno Nevada and northeast of Yosemite, California. 



Going back in history, earlier than 586 million yeas, the Great Basin Desert was formed during the Prepaleozoic Era due to plate tectonics that lifted the ancient seabed.  Having no outlet, it became an inland sea.  Moving forward in history, during the Pleistocene epoch (ice age), Lake Lahontan covered most of the western U.S.  As the climate began to warm, the massive ice sheet receded northward, causing Lake Lahontan also to recede.  A number of smaller isolated lakes were left behind in closed valleys, thus Walker Lake was born.  Today, three major rivers still drain and feed these lakes: the Truckee, the Carson and Walker which presently flows to Walker Lake.



The west side of Walker Lake is established with a residential area, parks and recreation.

 Across the lake, the east side still remains desert and primitive. Desert sage, natural grass and rabbit bush grow abundantly in the alkali desert soil. Shells from ancient sea creatures are uncovered from wind drifts and accent the sandy banks. 



The mantle from a long extinct volcano stands out against the distant Gillis Mountain Range and is a reminder of Walker Lake's violent past.



Looking out across the desert playa toward the west side of Walker Lake and the Wassuk Mountain Range.



A fun day exploring the desert with the camera.  At a glance, the desert appears barren and harsh, but remain still and watch closely and its many secrets will be told.


Photographs Make Great Gifts


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/





Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Quadrantid Meteors


Star Chasing in January


 The first meteor shower of 2012 was the Quadrantid that peaked on January 4th, around midnight for the western U.S.  The Quadrantids are reported as being the most intense of all the meteor showers and also the shortest duration, occurring when Earth passes through the debris left by asteroid 2003 EH1.

 Staying true to my nature of moon chasing and star watching, I was out and ready to catch what ever action  came my way.   Unfortunately, there was the light from a waxing gibbous moon and just enough cloud cover to obscure anything but the brightest meteor trails.  Even the harsh winter night temperature was mild for this time of year, dipping down to around the freezing point. 

The lens that I choose was my wide angle Nikon 24mm 2.8 to cover as much sky as possible. The Nikon D90 camera was set on manual mode at f/8 and the shutter was held open for approximately 10 second intervals on Bulb with an electronic cable release.  And I also used my sturdiest tripod.

Noticing the descending moon setting in the west between the Wassuk Mountains and just over the bare tree branches, I made a long exposure and happened to catch one meteor trail that was visible through the clouds.     




Even with the moon glow, the stars over Mount Grant were standing out against the winter sky.




The night sky over Walker Lake offers some of the best star gazing and it's always a thrill to see what the camera picks up during the long exposures.



Unlike 2011, this year promises to be a great year for meteor watching in the Northern Hemisphere because most of the meteor showers are due to peak when the sky will be dark and not bright with moonlight. 



For information on 2012 meteor showers:

  http://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/earthskys-meteor-shower-guide



Photographs Make Great Gifts




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/