Saturday, February 27, 2016

2016 Death Valley Wildflower Super Bloom



An artist palette of wildflowers carpets the desert 

Who would ever imagine the splendor of wildflowers filling the landscape in one of the hottest and driest places on Earth?  During February of 2016 Death Valley National Park has been accented with an abundance of desert flowers, also coined as a Super Bloom.

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Death Valley is a national park in the U. S. and located in the states of California and Nevada. Covering an area of 5,219 mi², Death Valley is east of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and in the Mojave Desert. 

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An El Niño weather pattern over the winter brought storms and rain to the area.  The rainfall soaked the dry desert which allowed for the numerous flower seeds that have been lying dormant to germinate. 

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 It is a rare occurrence when so many desert flowers bloom around the same time.  

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The wildflowers first begin to bloom in the lower elevations where the temperatures are warmer, filling the rugged desert ground with golden blooms.  

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Desert Gold Sunflowers and Golden Evening Primrose (Camissonia brevipes) blanket the slopes with the picturesque Black Mountains in the background.  The colorful rocks are the result of oxidation with different metals, (red, pink and yellow from iron salts; green is decomposing tuff-derived mica, and manganese produces the purple). 

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Purple Notchleaf Phacelia (Phacelia crenulata) accent the harsh landscape around the salt flats of Badwater Basin. 

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 Badwater Basin lies 279 feet (85 m) below sea level and usually only receives an average of 2 inches of rain a year.  
 
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The abundance of wildflowers in 2016 Super Bloom includes at least 20 different species and their sweet fragrance is almost overwhelming and like being in a formal garden. 

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Traveling up to the higher elevations where the temperatures are cooler, different species of flowers were found to be in bloom.

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 Along the Beatty Cut-Off Road accents of yellow and purple thrive in the rocky terrain.

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  Brilliant Yellow Cups seem to glow in the morning sun. 

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 One of my favorite wildflowers due to its blue-lavender color is the Blue Phacelia or Wild Heliotrope. 

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This profusion of desert wildflowers will only last while the temperatures are mild and I was very fortunate to time my visit before the ones at the lower elevations began to fade.  At this time in mid-February many of the Primrose had already started to bolt.  

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Follow my Photo-adventures Blog and check back for my next post where I will give more information, plus macro shots of the different species that I found. 

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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"


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Photos Make Great Gifts!
Many of these images are available on our website.
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Friday, February 19, 2016

Eastern Sierras in an El Niño Winter



Glacier carved lake, Volcano Domes and Snow covered landscapes


With an El Niño winter bearing down on the Pacific Northwest, the days to go out photo-exploring are determined most often by road conditions.  It is much wiser to wait out the storm in the comfort of one's home than to become stranded like the Donner Party.


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Gauging the weather after a moderate snow storm in early February, I decided to venture toward the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains before warmer temperatures melted most of the snow.  Even in the higher elevations, it does not take much sunlight to raise the ground temperature and within a few hours the snow vanishes.


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As I pass by an out-cropping of solidified lave flows, the remaining snow accents the graphic details in the rocks, creating pleasing artistic effects.


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Mono Lake is calm on this winter day. Paoha Island, formed by an uplift of lake sediments with volcanic core, reflects to the east in the deep blue water.  A number of smaller Tufa Towers line the western shore.


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Driving south after Lee Vinning and Mono Lake, the Mono Craters stand out in the eastern horizon.  The volcanic chain of craters, domes and lava flows stretches 25 miles from the northwest shore of Mono Lake to the south of Mammoth Mountain.  The Explosive eruptions began over 50,000 years ago, with the most recent just 600 years old.


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Continuing on and nestled against the steep eastern escarpment of the Sierra Nevada's is the subalpine valley of June Lake.  At an elevation of 7654 feet. (2333 m), and formed by glacier action, June Lake has been dubbed the Swiss Alps of the Sierras.


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By mid-day the shadows grow long and it is time to turn back.  There are so many more natural wonders to explore and I can hardly wait for my return trip.  When the dirt roads dry and there is not as much danger of getting stuck in the deep snow, I hope to continue this photo-adventure to Mono's Panum Crater and hike the trail to the summit.  Follow my blog and check back often to see where my next photo-adventure will take me.


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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.