Sunday, August 28, 2016

Photo-adventures at Deadman's Creek, California



A peaceful creek with an ominous past



After reading about the intriguing legend of Deadman’s Creek, I was ready for a photo-adventure and planned a day trip to the area which is in Mono County near Mammoth Lakes, California. 


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The lazy Deadman’s Creek wanders through slopes with Quaking aspens, while Jeffrey Pines and various evergreens reach toward the blue sky. 


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 In such a serene environment, you might wonder how it came to be named Deadman’s Creek.


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It is told that in 1861 two prospectors were searching for the Lost Cement Mine which held a gold vein.  The burned and headless body of the one partner, Robert Hume was found in a shallow grave. Later, his head turned up in a stream which came to be named-- Deadman’s Creek.   When Farnsworth, the second partner was questioned, he told of a surprise Indian attack and barely escaping with his life.  However Farnsworth disappeared before an arrest warrant could be issued.  


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Then after a few more years, the remains of two more prospectors were found at the bottom of what was to become Deadman’s Pass.  Furthermore, in December 1879 after a severe winter storm, the body of mail carrier William Haines and his mailbags were recovered at the bottom of Deadman’s Summit.  


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Arriving at road’s end, I followed the path and saw 2 planks for crossing the stream.  At this point, you might be curious if I dared venture across the weathered boards and tempt the legend with my own mortality? I noticed a grassy path that led away from the creek and being the adventurous soul, I carefully walked the planks.  


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Trekking up through the tall grass, I came to the clearing and was rewarded with the most incredible view.  A sign standing on the rocky pumice ground stated that I was entering the Owens River Headwaters Wilderness. 


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There before me stood the tallest evergreens and the horizon that was accented with dormant volcanic domes.   


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Most of the wildflowers had reached their prime but the rabbitbrush was thriving and drawing in bees and several different fleeting butterflies. 


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To me, the negative entities that controlled the past were put to rest by the peaceful beauty of a thriving environment.  I left Deadman’s Creek with a renewed spirit and a yearning to explore more of the domes, craters and summits that were works of nature’s creative artistry.


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Join me and subscribe to my posts to see where my next photo-adventure will be. 




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.


No images on this blog are within Public Domain and are available for free download. 

 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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Thursday, August 4, 2016

Desert Wildflowers in the Aurora, Nevada Area



A ghost town alive with blooms 


 Looking for wildflowers in the Great Basin Desert can take me to some very interesting and off the beaten path locations.  Many species of flowering plants have unique adaptations that are specific to the type of soil and elevation. 

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In July, I planned a photo-adventure to the Aurora, Nevada area for the chance of catching any desert wildflowers that might be in bloom following monsoonal rain that moved through the mountains. 

Located in west central Nevada, near the California border, Aurora was a mining town that by 1869 had produced $27 million in gold. However, the gold veins proved to be shallow and due to its remote location, the town of Aurora was deserted and eventually became a ghost town.

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Today not much remains of the town except for the cemetery that is maintained and still receiving souls to be laid to rest under the tall junipers.  


The area south of the cemetery is where I focused my wildflower photography.  At an elevation of 7,441 Feet (2,268 meters) and surrounded by the Humboldt-Toiyable Forest, the wildflowers growing in this area are adapted to the lose, gravelly, alkaline soil; where most of the moisture comes from snowpack in the winter or a summer thunderstorm.  

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The first flowers that I noticed were pale yellow blooms of the Antelope Bitterbrush, Purshia tridentata which seemed to be growing everywhere.  "Bitterbrush" is in the Rosaceae or rose family, was used for medicinal purposes by Native Americans and is a browse plant for wildlife.

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Glancing down close to the ground I saw delicate yellow flowers of Brewer's navarretia, Navarretia brewer extending up from a layer of rocks.  These tiny flowers are under a centimeter in length. 

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A unique looking flower, the Cushion Desert Buckwheat, Eriogonum ovalifolium was growing in mats around the gravelly soil and is a species of wild buckwheat. 

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A deep blue-violet Anderson's Larkspur, Delphinium consolida  caught my eye standing out against a yellow flowering Bitterbrush shrub.  Larkspur is in the buttercup family and happens to be the flower for the month of July. 

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Purple clusters of Shaggy Milkvetch, Astragalus malacus thrive on the sandy slopes. 

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 In the pea family, this interesting flowering plant of Milkvetch has soft, white hairs covering its leaves. 

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Such dainty white flowers on the Longleaf Phlox, Phlox longifolia seem out of place in a desert environment but this plant can cover dry hillsides where it gives off a sweet fragrance to attract pollinators.  

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Periwinkle flowers of the Two-lobe Larkspur, Delphinium nuttallianum stood out against the pale green desert sage.  This variety of Larkspur prefers gravely soils.  

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Much to my surprise, I found numerous clusters of the colorful Bigelow's Monkeyflower, Mimulus bigelovii all along the desert floor.  During dry spells, this plant may only grow to an inch off the ground. 

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The Monkeyflower's name comes from the flower markings that resemble the face of a smiling monkey.  Not only is the plant beautiful, all parts are also edible. 

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While I was trekking deeper in to the denser desert vegetation, I began to notice a different type of yellow flowering plant.  Closer inspection revealed that I had come upon the Yellow Milkvetch, Astragalus flavus  This Milkvetch is in the pea family and grows in Selenium soils. 
 
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As the day was wearing long I began my departure which took me through Lucky Boy Pass.  Rounding a hair-pin turn and there on the roadside stood the most gorgeous stand of Scented Penstemon, Penstemon palmeri

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Carefully parking and bracing my camera, I managed to get a few sharp images of these beautiful flowers.  

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What a rewarding day this turned out to be! Continue to follow my blog and see where my next photo-adventure will go.  
 
 
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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.

No images on this blog are within Public Domain and are available for free download. 

 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.