Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Environmental Photographs Highlight 2015



 Themes and Issues during my photo-explorations

At the year’s end, I usually write about the highlights of my travels or adventures.  However for the finality of 2015 and following the Paris Climate Summit, I have been compelled to feature a photo for each month that has an environmental theme. These photos are from scenes that I have come across during my photo-explorations of the past year, from water issues to weather extremes and compromised ecosystems. The following photographs were taken within a 100 mile radius around Walker Lake, Nevada and in the Great Basin Desert.

Clouds form over Mono Lake, California, moving eastward from the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The receding shore line and lack of snow on the mountains for the month of January are indicators of the drought that continues to plague the western U.S.


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Late January and early February, a large number of waterfowl were infected with Avian cholera at Walker Lake, Nevada. 


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The bodies of American Coots lay tangled in tumble weeds that were blown to the water’s edge by the wind.


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A dust storm churned up by the strong winds of March on east side of Walker Lake, Nevada. 


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A desolate location for Lee Hot Springs with a capped off well and volcanic rocks, however the mountains in the background show lack of snowpack after a dry winter on an early spring day in April. 


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 On a hillside in the Gabbs Valley Range, in May, the top of a purple bottle stands out.  A closer look reveals a piñon pine root that has been growing through the bottle’s neck for no telling how many years.


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A hot June morning and cumulonimbus clouds build over the Garfield Flats Range.  I barely made it out of the wash before the clouds produced a F1 Category Tornado that touched down in Hawthorne, Nevada. 


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With the heat index reaching over the century mark in July at Walker Lake, ecosystems grow out of balance at the water’s edge as numerous damselfly larvae are caught in the huge orb-weaver spider webs that cover most of the shore.


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The receding shore at Soda Lake in August, tufa mounds grow along the edge of the water.  Soda Lake was formed inside the collapsed cone of a basaltic maar volcano by irrigation for agriculture which increased the groundwater.

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A tunnel by the highway to Yerington, Nevada in September.  Rainfall from fast moving summer monsoons produced flash floods that cut deep washes through the dry desert.  


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An October photo-trip to the Wild Burro Range at Marietta, Nevada.  The frame of a windsock stands as a reminder of the harsh winds and extreme weather in the Great Basin Desert. 


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Strong winds in November blow the thin snow pack across the peaks at Mount Grant, Nevada.  


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A winter storm in December brings in much needed moisture; however it will take so much more to offset the receding north shore at Walker Lake, Nevada.  


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The year of 2015 has seen interesting weather patterns with a warmer winter and rising heat index for the summer.  When El Niño comes for the winter, I will be ready with my Nikon to record any interesting trends, so follow my blog and check back often for the new posts.






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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Sunday, November 15, 2015

Soda Lake's Tufa Mounds





Nature's Artistry in a lake within a volcanic cone 

What are the chances of finding a lake within a collapsed volcano cone out in the dry, hot desert of Nevada?  Just northwest of Fallon, Nevada, off a dirt road to the north is a 1.2 mile long body of water, named Soda Lake.

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The basin that holds Soda Lake's water is a collapsed volcanic cone.  Over the short geological span of 1500 years, magma rose toward the surface which boiled the groundwater, causing a violent explosive eruption.  However, it has only been recently that the water for Soda Lake filled the collapsed cone when irrigation from farming caused the ground water to rise.


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The eastern rim of Soda Lake provides the most noticeable clue of the volcanic cone and rises 80 feet above the water.  Dark rocks of various sizes, "basaltic bombs" can still be found mixed in the sand of the crater.


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However, one of the most intriguing features at Soda Lake is not exactly due to its volcanic evolution.  Looking across the lake to the northwest, a number of white pillars stand out on the water's edge. 


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At first glance, I was reminded of the Biblical "Pillars of Salt" and curiosity drew me to venture for a closer look.


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The white pillars in various shapes and sizes growing out of the water appeared to me as abstract art works in plaster of paris. I was soon to learn that these creative works of nature's artistry were in fact Tufa Mounds.


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Tufa is a type of limestone and tufa mounds are created when underwater springs rich in calcium mix with carbonates (soda). A chemical reaction forms that produces calcium carbonate--limestone.  The calcium carbonate precipitates or settles out of solution as a solid around the spring. Over the course of time, which usually takes hundreds of years, tufa mounds begin to grow. However these at Soda Lake are estimated by the USGS to be less than a century old.


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Some of the larger tufa mounds reach about 9 feet tall (3m) with a 16 foot (5m) base.  Since the tufa mounds grow or form underwater, they may extend down 13 feet (4m) deep.



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The shallow shore makes a sudden drop off  visible in the darker shades of green, the lake has a calculated depth of 147 feet (44.80m).


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Soda Lake's high alkali content does not support fish, but brine shrimp do thrive in the water. The brine shrimp draw a large variety of waterfowl, including grebes, gulls, terns, coots and ducks.  Additionally people come to swim and soak in the lake for recreation and the health benefits of the carbonates.


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Nature's diversity never fails to amaze me as I have discovered in this thriving habitat that exists within a collapsed volcanic cone in an alkaline lake.  Continue to follow my blog and check back often to see what adventures my next photo-explorations will discover.


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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.






Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Autumn Comes to Zion National Park




Enjoying Nature during my favorite season!



Days grow shorter, drawing the hustle and bustle of summer to a crescendo.  The season's contrasting vibrant colors give way to yellow and oranges of autumn.


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As much as I appreciate the sunny days and warm nights of summer, there is just something about autumn that makes me yearn to spend as much quality time in the colorful landscape before it disappears.

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My most favorite place to enjoy the colors of autumn has always been in Zion National Park, Utah.  Maybe it's the analogous yellows and oranges accenting trees or the vibrant reflections on the Virgin River as it meanders through the park.


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Perhaps it is the visual stimulation of scenes like the Court of the Patriarchs which stand even more majestic against the deep blue sky when brilliant trees of autumn accent the foreground. 


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 Or maybe it is just becoming one with the moment in a place that time has left untarnished. 

On an overcast autumn morning, to walk across a blanket of gold with colorful limbs arching over head, just as a gentle rain begins to fall.


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A feeling of solitude and peace on a nature walk that awakens the senses with hues, tones and fragrances of the unspoiled earth.  


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And maybe catch a glimpse of wildlife in the quiet, uncrowded park.



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As the day grows late, the sun's rays lengthen warming the red and tan Navajo Sandstone; the autumn's colorful trees slowly surrender to the shadows of approaching dusk.


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 Watchman's Mountain blushes a crimson red just as sunset's finale gives one last curtain call.  


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And as the clouds of sunset lift there is a dusting of snow just as the full moon lights the night. 


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Yes, autumn gives me a feeling of being closer to the earth, the bright analogous colors stimulate my eyes but the stillness of nature create a serenity that only a place like Zion can bring.  


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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.






Thursday, October 29, 2015

Haunted Legends for Halloween Night



Join me if you dare, the spirits are waiting!




 Halloween has always been my favorite time of the year and not just for the sweet candy treats but because it was fun to dress in costume and get all scared going door to door.  I remember my mom decorating our house and later that night, reading scary stories like the Legend of Sleepy Hollow.  Maybe that is the reason that I am drawn to haunted houses, ghost towns, and spooky legends.


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 For this Halloween, I have decided to give a tour of some of the spookiest places that I have been photo-exploring with my camera.




Speaking of spooky places, I will begin my tour with Spooky Rock, a very unusual rock outcropping in Mineral County, Nevada.  Located in Garfield Flats, the area was prone to much volcanism. Even in the bright sunlight the grimacing faces on these rock formations make the hair on my neck stand at attention. As the sun drops down and one cloud to the left appears as a hand beckoning, it really begins to get me in a spooky mood.


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A brick arch stands out in the desert of Central Nevada and is about all that is left of the Delamar mining town.  Once a town of 1,500 residents with an Opera House, hospital, churches and numerous saloons, Delamar soon became known as "The Widow Maker" due to the dust from mining that contained glass like particles. It caused an incurable disease of the lungs--Silicosis.  The hazardous dust not only brought premature deaths to the miners but also to anyone living in Delamar.  I will never forget that smell of rose perfume that greeted me as I wandered around this ghost town.

  
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Spring Mountain State Park is an oasis and peaceful retreat from the hustle of Las Vegas.  However, I have heard some pretty scary tails from the rangers who worked there after dark in the winter months.  Windows rattling, doors creaking, footsteps on the wooden floor!  Some have even seen Vera Krupp wearing her 33.19-carat Asscher cut diamond as she wanders from room to room.  After a settlement from Alfried Krupp,  Vera purchased the 500 acres west of Las Vegas and enjoyed a life of cattle ranching and country living.  


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Bodie State Park, California was once a thriving mining town turning out millions in gold bullion.  As I peek through the dusty window of the undertaker's parlor, I am reminded of all the mining accidents and a harsh winter that brought the demise to hundreds of residents.  Today the ghost town is protected from vandals or looters by the spirits that call Bodie their home.  Anyone foolish enough to remove even a pebble will suffer the "Curse of Bodie".


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Founded in 1902, Goldfield, Nevada grew to a population of 30,000 and produced $11 million in gold.  Know for its longest bar of all mining towns, it took a staff of 80 to serve all the libations.  A stove exploded in a millinery shop and burned two blocks before the wind shifted and saved the town from destruction.  Today, Goldfield is mostly deserted as it sits quietly on Interstate 95.  After sundown you might just catch a glimpse of ole Virgil as he heads down to join with the other spirits.


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Driving through the back roads of Lyon County, you cross the rail road tracks at Wabuska, "The Shadow Town" of Nevada.  The town saw a boom in 1881 when the Carson & Colorado Railroad station was opened.  There was a general store, hotel and hot meals for hungry rail workers.  Over time, the town started its decline and all that was left was a bar and a few rooms for the weary.  You can stop for a cold one on a dark night, but you must be pretty brave to enter that outhouse all covered in vines! 


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Some houses aren't the source of legends to be scary; they just look that way from wear and tear of time.  This house caught my attention and made me stop for a closer look but I declined the invitation to go inside. 

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Other houses stand as a reminder of what life used to be.  The mining boom in the surrounding areas of Aurora and Bodie depleted the forests of pinyon pine which was used for lumber and firewood.  A house near Lee Vinning, California void of any trees except for a stump is a reminder of those days.  The house stands abandoned but the spirits  linger, drawing me to come inside.

  
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Pioche Nevada in 1860's was the scariest town in the west, meaner than Tombstone and badder than Dodge City. Pioche was a mining camp with dozens of saloons and brothels.  Seventy-two people were killed before the first natural death occurred.   No wonder this is still called the "Hanging Tree" and to me is the scariest of all the places that I've been spooked to visit.

   



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.