Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘rocks

Joshua Tree National Park

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Where else to find Joshua trees than Joshua Tree National Park in southeastern California?

The park and the Mojave Desert welcomed us four years ago today, though actually we’d seen our first Joshua trees two weeks earlier in Nevada, and then in Barstow.

These “trees” aren’t truly trees at all, but members of the yucca family, Yucca brevifolia. Yuccas are members of Agavoideae, which isn’t so surprising, but that group is a part of the asparagus family, a fact that does surprise most people. Not all is as it seems, is it?

And how about finding a nest in one of the Joshua trees? Thanks to the staff at Joshua Tree National Park for telling me that the maker of the nest is most likely a ladder-backed woodpecker, Picoides scalaris.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 5, 2020 at 4:38 AM

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

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Four years ago today we visited the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area on the west side of Las Vegas, Nevada. We arrived in the morning, when clouds still hung over the mountains.

Note the yuccas in the second picture. I believe they’re young Joshua trees (Yucca brevifolia).

And notice the cholla cactus that looks like a running stick figure in the third picture.

The first three views don’t seem to support the name Red Rock, so here’s a picture that does.

Instead of a quotation today, let’s have an English vocabulary question. A mailman delivers mail. A fisherman catches fish. A fireman puts out fires. A salesman sells things. What does a henchman do?

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 25, 2020 at 4:37 AM

Nevada’s Valley of Fire

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Four years ago today we spent hours at Nevada’s scenic Valley of Fire State Park. The day was overcast and at times we had rain, but at least the subdued light reduced the desert’s normally harsh shadows

In the second and third pictures, note the tafoni in the rocks.

As dusk approached, the sun sank for a short while beneath the level of the clouds.

The setting sun’s warm light made the reddish earth and rocks seem even redder, as in the last two pictures.

And here’s a thought for today: “On n’a guère de défauts qui ne soient plus pardonnables que les moyens dont on se sert pour les cacher.” “Almost all our faults are more forgivable than the means we use to hide them.” — François de la Rochefoucauld.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 24, 2020 at 4:43 AM

Zion revisited

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On October 22, 2016, we spent much of the day in Zion National Park.

Because it’s such a scenic place, the park swarmed with visitors well past the summer tourist season; I sometimes had to aim and frame judiciously to keep people from showing up in my pictures.

These four pictures suggest how diverse Zion’s rock formations are.

And here’s a relevant quotation for today:

“Faeries, come take me out of this dull world,
For I would ride with you upon the wind,
Run on the top of the dishevelled tide,
And dance upon the mountains like a flame.”
― William Butler Yeats, The Land of Heart’s Desire

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 21, 2020 at 4:37 AM

Slide Rock State Park

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Oak Creek Canyon

On this date in 2016 we spent a few hours in Slide Rock State Park near Sedona, Arizona.

A strangely deformed alligator juniper (Juniperus deppeana)

Overwhelmed by so many other scenic places on that trip, I never showed any of the Slide Rock pictures.

How about those shadows?

After four years, finally you get to see a few of those views.

Oak Creek’s rocks and water came in for a lot of attention.

And here’s a question rather than a quotation: how often do you renew your poetic license?

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 20, 2020 at 4:40 AM

South Fork of the San Gabriel River

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As often as I’ve photographed along the North Fork of the San Gabriel River at Tejas Camp in Williamson County, I’d never photographed along the South Fork till September 18th, when we visited the relatively recent Garey Park in the southwest corner of Georgetown.

All three of these landscape pictures show the eons-long erosive effect of water streaming against rock.

In case you’re wondering about the yellow-green stuff at the edge of the water, it’s duckweed (Lemna minor), which forms floating mats. On one such mat I found a tiny grasshopper.

Click to enlarge.

Here’s an unrelated thought for today: “Dear, sweet, unforgettable childhood! Why does that irrevocable time, forever departed, seem brighter, more festive, and richer than it actually was?” — Anton Chekhov, The Bishop (1902).

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 6, 2020 at 4:24 AM

Interesting geology

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During the same August 26th visit to Bull Creek District Park that you saw pictures of last time, I stopped by a limestone overhang where I’d taken pictures in other years. This time I noticed a group of brain-like formations that had somehow escaped me on those previous visits, and that I assume eons of dripping water had created. Close by and higher up, a different sort of formation asked to have its portrait made, as you see below. Note the southern maidenhair ferns (Adiantum capillus-veneris), both green and brown.

And here’s a cautionary quotation that’s as relevant now as it was when it appeared in 1945: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” — Animal Farm, by Eric Blair writing under the name George Orwell.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 16, 2020 at 3:08 AM

Bull Creek reflections

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There are times when a reflection of something is more interesting artistically than the thing seen directly. When I wandered in Bull Creek Regional Park on the morning of August 26th I felt that way about what you see in the first photograph. Not far away, the edge of a flat, irregularly shaped rock also got reflected in the creek; I find that the reflection in the second view plays an important role in the picture’s attractiveness.

Below, the reflected limestone strata add to the allure of the strata themselves.

Here’s a much-quoted statement by Sherlock Holmes, which is to say by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, from “The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet”: “It is an old maxim of mine that when you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” In the 2014 book How Not to Be Wrong, mathematician Jordan Ellenberg amended the statement by adding some extra words to make it more accurate: “It is an old maxim of mine that when you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth, unless the truth is a hypothesis it didn’t occur to you to consider.”

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 15, 2020 at 4:44 AM

Alberta’s badlands

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Three years ago today we visited the badlands east of Drumheller, Alberta.

We stopped there once near the beginning of our trip, and now again near the end.

If you’re looking for a great place to visit, this it it.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 12, 2020 at 2:16 AM

Dinosaur Provincial Park revisited

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On this date three years ago we visited Dinosaur Provincial Park in the southern part of the Canadian province of Alberta. (Oh, if only we could travel again now!)

In today’s post you’re seeing some more views of that scenic place.

Below, how about what looks like a petrified whirlpool?

And speaking of the country that stretches across the top of the United States, here are two quotations by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield:

“You don’t sit around and not know stuff.”  “To me, science is just formalized curiosity.”

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 3, 2020 at 4:58 AM

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