Saturday, February 28, 2015

Tunneling Back to Jurassic Times





A Mystery Tunnel  to where?
  

When I was a child, learning of a secret was always very exciting and I have never outgrown that thrill.  One of the things I love most when I am out photo-exploring is being drawn to look beyond what I might be focusing on.  I believe at times like this a secret is about to be revealed, if I stop and take notice.  This was certainly the experience on a mild winter day in February when I was venturing toward the Singatse Ridge, west of Yerington, Nevada.

I had stopped to photograph an unusual outcropping of rocks that reminded me of a Dimetrodon, the dinosaur with the large sail and elongated spines on its back.

http://www.bonnierannald.com


Just as I was returning to my car,  in the distance I saw what appeared to be the opening to a large cave. 


http://www.bonnierannald.com
 

 However, when I walked closer to the opening, I realized it was a not a cave but a tunnel cut through the base of the mountain.


http://www.bonnierannald.com


 Entering the opening, I reflected on what it must have taken to tunnel out this 40 foot long, 10 foot diameter space through the massive rocks.  There was no evidence of signs or markings about this tunnel, just present day graffiti.  The tunnel was wide enough for a car or small truck but I saw no evidence of any road. 

http://www.bonnierannald.com


Since the settlers moved in, this area known as the Yerington district has been a rich source of copper mining and I began to think that the tunnel had been constructed for usage with the mining or some type of flood control. 

An interesting granodiorite boulder, an intrusive igneous rock produced from lava flows lies toward the south entrance of the tunnel.  


http://www.bonnierannald.com



Walking through the north end of the tunnel, what came to view was an intriguing outcropping of tan colored rocks.  These artistic creations of nature must have been emplaced from the Jurassic era and were just amazing.  A feeling of antiquity came over me as my eyes gazed at the lines and cracks etched by nature over eons of time.  


http://www.bonnierannald.com


A family of raptors have been taking advantage of the overhangs and depressions in the rocks as was visible by their numerous white droppings. 


http://www.bonnierannald.com


 The white paste that oozed out from the rock's edges took on interesting artistic shapes and designs. 


http://www.bonnierannald.com 



Lichens on a granodiorite bolder facing north create an array of abstract designs with the colors of the rock.


http://www.bonnierannald.com


As I turned to go back through the tunnel, I noticed a sediment line in the bank rising up to the east.  Could this layer have been deposited from ancient Lake Lahontan during the Pleistocene epoch?   


http://www.bonnierannald.com


To some, the desert may seem harsh and inhabitable, but the feeling of mystery is what draws me and when I walk quietly, the desert's secrets are often revealed. Standing and quietly watching, I began to see shapes in the rocks and then the slightest breeze lingers on my face as if the ancients are letting me know they are welcoming me to this mysterious area. 

http://www.bonnierannald.com





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.



 




Sunday, February 15, 2015

Coyotes and Valentines, Romance is in the Air


  
Canis latrans singing the desert's music


With February being the month for Valentines I thought how appropriate to blog about one of the wild critters who also feels romance in the air this time of year. The month of February is most often when the coyote's attention turns from stalking a favorite snack to wooing a mate.  Coyotes are known for being good parents as both mother and father feed their pups by regurgitating food they have found while hunting.

http://www.bonnierannald.com


 Following a gestation period of only sixty days, the mother may have a litter of up to nineteen pups.  The pups mature quickly, are ready for weaning in about one month and reach their full size in a year.  Keeping a close family unit, the males most often leave the pack while the female pups remain in the unit.  

http://www.bonnierannald.com


Coyotes prefer to hunt at night in pairs, but on several hikes I have been fortunate to spot a single coyote hunting during the morning.  I have never been allowed to get too close and that is where my telephoto lens comes in.  I've been asked numerous times if I wasn't afraid of being attacked and the answer is No.  Maybe if I cornered one in a barn, but that isn't likely to ever happen. 

 
http://www.bonnierannald.com

 
A family of coyotes lived across the pasture at Spring Mountain Ranch State Park and on summer weekends I would go out to the park for exhibits and events.  One day on my drive out, I saw a duck get hit by a car.  I stopped to retrieve the dead, warm duck  in a plastic bag.  I wanted to see if one of the coyotes would come and take the duck back to the den.  Sure enough, I hardly had time to focus my camera when one of the coyotes grabbed the duck and ran back out of sight. 


http://www.bonnierannald.com


Every time I hear Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Music of the Night", I think of the coyotes singing at night.  There is something about their howls on a warm desert night that just seems right.  I will never forget during our Wildflower Photography Workshop at Death Valley hearing the coyotes break the silence in the early morning hours before dawn. 

In my opinion, Coyotes are given a very bad rap and it breaks my heart to know that they are being hunted and killed just for sport.  Coyotes do their part to keep nature in balance by eating rodents, rabbits and squirrels.  Their diet may also consist of birds, lizards, snakes, plants and fruits.  Yes, they will kill and eat cats and small dogs, which is why I keep my cats inside at night.  The main predators other than humans to coyotes are bears, wolves and mountain lions.  It makes me wonder when we continue to target all the natural predators what will keep nature in check.  


http://www.bonnierannald.com


So as long as there are the Canis latrans, the "barking dog", I will enjoy the desert night where the greatest sound is silence and I anticipate like with a blank sheet of music for nature to supply the notes




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.





Sunday, February 8, 2015

Sharp-shinned Hawk on Southward Migration


   
Taking time out to pose for my camera!
 

Late one autumn afternoon after sundown I noticed a small raptor from my office window.  The hawk had landed on a wooden box and at first sight I thought it had sustained an injury to its beak.  After grabbing my camera and quietly slipping outside, I discovered that the hawk must have recently finished dinner and still had some left-overs clinging to its beak.  

http://www.bonnierannald.com


When I brought the photos up on my monitor, I found that this hawk was a Sharp-shinned, which is one of the smallest hawks in North America.  Males are smaller that females, so at first I thought this bird might be a male migrating southward for winter.  However, as I looked closer, I decided that the hawk was an immature bird since it was mostly brown with vertical streaks on its white under-parts.  Adult birds are blue-gray above with narrow, horizontal red-orange bars on the breast. 

http://www.bonnierannald.com


Backyard bird feeders tend to attract Sharp-shinned hawks and that is one reason why I prefer not to use the seed feeders.  Instead, I grow plants and shrubs that produce seeds and berries, allowing the birds to forage. The shrubs provide cover where the songbirds and sparrows can retreat when predators are in the area.  It is amazing to watch these small birds head for cover, almost like they are being vacuumed in. 

The small hawk must have been  traveling through for I did not notice him around the next day.  It was a nice suprise to be rewarded with a short visit and a few photos.





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.