Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Wildflowers at Lee Hot Springs



Nature Adapts in a Hostile Environment


Early this spring I made a return visit to Lee Hot Springs because I was curious to see what if any wildflowers or plants might be coming out of dormancy.  The days and nights have warmed significantly, almost to where  they used to be in the month of June.  Gone were the frozen puddles along the dirt path and the snow covered slopes were turning a lush green.  However much to my surprise on this warm April day, the steam was still flowing from the 185°f, 85°c water. 


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The small primitive, un-developed geothermal system is hardly large enough for bathing or soaking but it does serve as a fascinating reminder of the volcanism that shaped this landscape millions of years ago.

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Walking closer to the stream, I noticed a small variety of green bushes that were thriving in the sandy, silt covered ground.


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Contrary to popular belief that deserts are dry, barren wastelands, what I found amazing was the tenacity of nature to adapt and thrive in all kind of conditions. By reducing the size of leaves as with the Greasewood or replacing them with thorns like in the Hop-sage, loss of water to the air (transportation) is kept to a minimum.  


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Desert perennials like the Birdcage Evening Primrose remain dormant during dry spells and then come to life when water is available.



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A Mallow "cheeseweed" grows at the base of a Tufa rock.  The mallow is an edible plant, both the leaves and immature fruit can be used in salads or cooked with some olive oil and garlic.


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Even in the hot, alkaline water, native grass survives along the bank while algae flourishes on the stream bed.  
 
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It might be interesting to make a return visit during the hottest part of summer in July to check out the biological diversity at Lee Hot Springs. If the mid-summer monsoons come again this year, who knows what might be waiting to be discovered within these unique micro-systems.


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For additional reading on Lee Hot Springs:

http://bonnierannald.blogspot.com/2014/01/lee-allen-hot-springs.html


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"


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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.



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

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Exploring Central Nevada along Rabbit Springs Road



Outdoor Cathedrals, Pinnacles and Nature's Artistry


In celebration of Easter and Earth Day, I made a sojourn to observe nature along Rabbit Springs Road  through the Gabbs Valley Range in Central Nevada. 

 Turning off US highway 95 just before reaching the dry lake and the small town of Luning, I traveled up highway 361 for less than 10 miles.  

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In the distance, colorful rugged mountains with lines, swirls and curves accent the landscape giving a breath taking view and a feeling of reverence.

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Driving north on the dirt road, sculpted rocks stand out to the east with features that remind me of the pointed arches, ribbed vaults and flying buttress of a Gothic cathedral.

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A glimpse of white by the road side causes me to stop for a closer look.   A tiny cushion phlox is just starting to bloom in the rocky soil.

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Continuing on, to the west I notice a distinct group of pinnacles accented against the clear blue sky.  Piñon pine and Junipers grow well in the lower rock strewn slopes.


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As I come to the pass, the distinctive shape of a volcanic cone stands out in the distance. I decide to turn around; otherwise it would take me all the way back to Walker Lake.  There still remains a lot of daylight and much more to explore.

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Something red catches my eye on the west side of the road and it’s a nice grouping of Desert Paintbrush!


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Across the road, a colorful rock has a tiny yellow flower growing in its crevice, what an inspirational reminder of nature’s artistry.

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Speaking of nature's artistry, it's like a master landscaper was at work placing a cliff rose at the base of such an interesting rock.

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As the day begins to wind down, I stopped for a break and just as I turn off the road I spotted a coachwhip stretched out to catch the warm sun.  Fearing that I would scare the snake, I quickly grabbed my camera and lowered the truck window.  But no worries, the snake posed for several frames and I then slowly backed up, respecting its space.

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What a wonderful day this was and I feel that I was in nature’s cathedral. Sometimes it's the small things that give the greatest rewards.  To be out in nature as an observer, one also becomes a participant.  As a participant, tread lightly and go reverently for you will be awarded with nature’s wonders.


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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, April 16, 2014

Blood Moon over Walker Lake



Chasing the Lunar Eclipse, April 14-15, 2014


The lunar eclipse on April 14-15, 2014 had me anxiously preparing for photos by charging batteries and testing the electric shutter release.   I was crossing all fingers and toes that the weather would cooperate.   Knowing it might be a long night, I decided to try for a few hours of sleep and catch the moon as it entered umbra just before 11pm (22:00pdt). 

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Fortunately the weather was kind with clear skies, calm wind and temps just cool enough for a light jacket. 

As an experiment, I began the photo shoot using my Nikon 80-200mm 2.8 lens just to compare the images against the Nikon 500mm 4.0.  The 500mm lens is long and bulky where as the 80-200mm is a faster lens and not as susceptible to camera shake when shooting in the wind.    Setting my ISO to 400, I metered the exposure for 1/125 second at f/5.6.  I then began to bracket the exposures from 1/200 up to 1/800 seconds while checking on my camera's sensor, looking for detail and sharpness in the moon. 

As the moon began to become immersed in shadow and eclipse to 75%, I switched lenses to the 500mm which allowed me to focus on more of the moon and not so much of the dark sky.  The aperture was set to f/5.6 and the shutter speed adjusted for a 1/200 second exposure.

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Several minutes before totality, around 00:19 the remaining moon's disk was turning a red-brown color. The shutter speed was again adjusted to 1/60 sec. 


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As the moon entered in to totality, my shutter speed dropped from 1/40 to 1/20 and then to 1/10 second.  When my shutter speed dropped below 1/40, I opened the aperture to f/4.0.




As the moon moved to the north of the center of Earth’s umbra, the gradation of color and brightness across the lunar disk appeared with hues of deep copper or chocolate brown in the lower darkest portion.  The upper portion was brighter with red and orange hues. 


Thus the connotation Blood Moon is derived from the red hue that is reflected on the moon in relation to the Earth.  The sky at Walker Lake was mostly clear during this eclipse, however pollution, dust, clouds, smoke will cause the moon to appear in different colors. 


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/