Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘Valley of Fire

Nevada’s Valley of Fire

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Two years ago today we visited the wonderful Vally of Fire State Park about an hour northeast of Las Vegas. The place may be best known for its “beehive” formations.

On a smaller scale, I saw prickly pear (Opuntia spp.) and desert holly (Atriplex hymenelytra).

Following my pattern at Zion, I kept photographing as long as the light lasted. Though the day remained heavily overcast and we got some real rain for a while, late in the afternoon the sun briefly emerged beneath the lowest clouds and its light drenched the formations in warm colors—the fire in the Valley of Fire. You can see that I photographed the rocky Art Nouveau castle below when the shadows had already started climbing its base. A minute or two more and the magical illumination was gone.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 24, 2018 at 4:45 AM

Lichen like a planet

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Nevada’s Valley of Fire State Park on October 24, 2016.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 11, 2017 at 5:09 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

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

Beehive

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Probably the best-known sandstone formations at Nevada’s Valley of Fire State Park are the ones that people have nicknamed beehives. Here’s an example from our visit on October 24, 2016. Notice how one set of compact rock layers slices across many thicker layers.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 4, 2017 at 4:45 AM

Sometimes nature suggests human activity when there has been none.

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Sometimes nature suggests human activity even where there has been none. As soon as I saw these natural patterns at the Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada on October 24th they reminded me of the petroglyphs you looked at last time.

Thanks to three commenters on that previous post, I now know that the darker markings on the stone shown here are likely to be desert varnish. The areas that tend toward black would have more manganese in them, and the reddish areas more iron. Live and learn.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 6, 2016 at 5:00 AM

What’s that on the flat rock?

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As intriguing as the rocks themselves are at the Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada, when we visited on October 24th we found that some of them also offer up traces of human activity from bygone ages. Click the excerpt below for a much-magnified look at the details on the flat rock.

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I wonder whether the ancient inhabitants darkened the surface of this rock so they could scrape it away to create those orange glyphs.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 5, 2016 at 4:54 AM

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