Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘desert

From the cliffs of Montezuma

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Let’s get two things straight about Montezuma Castle: Montezuma, the Aztec emperor, had nothing to do with it, and it’s not a castle. No, this cliff in northern Arizona shelters the 600-year-old remains of a cliff dwelling created by a people called the Sinagua. And let’s get a third thing straight: that wasn’t their name. No, Sinagua was a name created in 1939 from the Spanish words sin ‘without’ and agua ‘water,’ based on the scarcity of flowing water in the region.

The prominent plants in the foreground are four-wing saltbushes, Atriplex canescens. Here’s a closer look at some saltbushes bordering the parking lot:

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If you want an even closer look, you can check out a post about our 2014 trip to the Southwest.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 18, 2017 at 5:01 AM

Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park landscape with clouds

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Southern Utah; October 23, 2016.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 13, 2017 at 4:50 AM

Skull rock again

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For some unknown reason the e-mail version of the Skull Rock post didn’t go out this morning, so I resent the post and succeeded the second time.

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A popular formation at Joshua Tree National Park is Skull Rock. This photograph from November 5th, 2016, shows you the pareidolic reason the boulder is called what it is.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 4, 2017 at 6:03 AM

Skull rock

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A popular formation at Joshua Tree National Park is Skull Rock. This photograph from November 5th, 2016, shows you the pareidolic reason the boulder is called what it is.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 4, 2017 at 4:59 AM

Celestial fire over the Valley of Fire

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Here’s what we saw at the end of our visit to Nevada’s Valley of Fire State Park on October 24th last year.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 3, 2017 at 4:54 AM

Chuckwalla

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Like me, you probably didn’t know that there’s a lizard called a chuckwalla (Sauromalus spp.). This picture from the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum on November 7th of last year shows that there is.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 2, 2017 at 4:56 AM

Tafoni

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From my big Southwest tour I learned the geological term tafoni, a plural noun that refers to “small, rounded, smooth-edged openings in a rock surface, most often found in arid or semi-arid deserts. They can occur in clusters looking much like a sponge and are nearly always on a vertical or inclined face protected from surface runoff.” Such formations have also been called “honeycomb weathering” and “swiss-cheese rock.” The example above is from Arizona’s Wupatki National Monument on October 21st of last year.

The formation shown below from Nevada’s Valley of Fire State Park on October 24th represents a different sort of tafoni that you can imagine inspiring the practitioners of Art Nouveau.

To learn more about tafoni and see many more instances, check out Kuriositas or Wikipedia.

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© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 31, 2017 at 5:00 AM

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