Grand Prismatic Spring

The Grand Prismatic Spring is another of Yellowstone’s iconic hydrothermal features. It is the one that looks like a big orange and blue eye. The spring sits along the Firehole River in the general area of the Upper Geyser Basin where Old Faithful resides. It produces a constant flow of water that flows into and heats the Firehole River. To me, the Firehole River is the most fascinating of Yellowstone’s rivers. It flows from Madison Lake, on the continental divide, 21 miles to the Gibbon River at Madison Junction. What fascinates me, is that it travels through the Upper Geyser Basin, where Old Faithful is located, and past the Grand Prismatic Spring. Those and other hydrothermal features dump their water into the Firehole. This raises the temperature 9-18 degrees Fahrenheit.

The pool filled by the Grand Prismatic Spring is very shallow. It is colored by the brown. orange and yellow bacteria and algae that grow in its pool. The sun highlights its colored features and the water reflects the blue of the sky. Steam rising from the spring adds mystery to the landscape. Though you can appreciate the spring by just giving it a cursory walk-by, paying attention to the details and seeing how the light seems to make them change provides a breathtaking experience.

Here is a link to an image that shows the spring in totality: https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/photo/grand-prismatic-spring-close-up-royalty-free-image/136952950; I don’t have one of my own to share.

Note: Click on caption to see higher resolution image.

Note: These and other images are available to purchase on my website: www.earthwatcher.us or by contacting larry@earthwatcher.us.

Advertisements

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon, in Utah, is stunningly beautiful; especially at sunrise and sunset. It should be on your bucket list. You can enjoy it any time of day but, I recommend being there in the morning, before the sun creeps over the distant mountains and as the sun sets in the evening. The colors saturate, the whites appear almost translucent at hose times and it will take your breath away. If you can, walk the trails that take you below the base and look at the hoodoos face on.

As I looked over the landscape, my thoughts turned to the ancient cities from fantasy and action adventures. Perhaps drawing from Petra in southern Jordan. I can imagine temples and palaces constructed from the hoodoos. I see “impregnable” walls being breached by the barbarians outside. It’s a fun connection.

For me, the process of how the land became to look as it does, enhances its beauty. In this case, water channels away the softer soil, forming the hoodoos. The freeze-thaw cycle sculpts the hoodoos by breaking off chunks. The wind helps sculpt too, but, to a lesser degree. What is left are acres of an orange and cream landscape filled with spectacular hoodoos and the erosional hills and valleys at their base.

I can’t wait to go back. Only this time, I am going to allow a day to hike and see what other treasures I uncover. I wonder what it would like in snow.

Note: Please click on caption to see higher resolution images.

These and other images are available to purchase at my website www.earthwatcher.us or by contacting larry@earthwatcher.us

Yellowstone Wildlife

Yellowstone is known as much for its wildlife as its great geologic features. North America’s apex predators, the wolf, grizzly bear and the mountain lion all roam Yellowstone’s wild lands along side the bison, elk, moose, deer and other prey species. Sadly, many of the species we had hoped to see didn’t show and a few were too far away to get a good picture. But we did see some and what we saw was amazing.

In this post, you’ll see the pica, a relative of the rabbit that lives in higher altitude rock fields. You’ll see the pronghorn which is related to but is not an antelope and the mountain goat which is not a goat but, an antelope. Finally, the American Dipper; the only North American song bird that feeds underwater in stream beds.

The Swainson’s hawks we taken not far outside of Idaho Falls, ID on the last leg of our journey to Yellowstone.

I hope you enjoy these images.

Regards,

Larry

Note: Please click on caption to see higher resolution image.

 

Note: These and other images are available to purchase on my website: www.earthwatcher.us or by contacting larry@earthwatcher.us.

A Day at Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge

Commonly known as the Okefenokee Swamp, it is located near Folkston, GA – near the Georgia-Florida border. Though most people consider it a swamp, it is really a peat bog. A bog is a wetland underlain with peat, dead plant material that forms a woody, brown, fibrous blanket. Most of us know it from the peat moss we buy in garden stores. It is home to a wide variety of wildlife that live among the forest of balled cypress trees covered with Spanish Moss and the prairie, a tannin rich pond whose dark brown water is covered by water lilies and other plants.
The Okefenokee is not fed by any river or stream. It is a natural basin that is filled by rainfall on the pond and runoff from the surrounding terrain. Though it is only fed by rainwater, the pond maintains an average depth of 2 – 2 ½ feet of water. Twenty Five percent of its water drains to the Atlantic Ocean via the St Mary’s River. The remaining 75% drains to the Gulf of Mexico via the Suwanee River of “Way Down Upon the Suwanee River” fame.
During the late 1800’s it was heavily logged for its rot resistant cypress wood. The main canal through the swamp was an attempt to drain the bog to the east for purposes of transporting lumber. The canal was dug by hand but was not completed because it wasn’t deemed possible to dig through the natural berm on the east side of the basin.
Native Americans occupied the area surrounding the swamp between 500AD and 1840 when the Seminole tribe was driven off. There is record of Spanish settlement between 1625 and 1640. In 1937, the federal government purchased the Okefenokee and created the Okefenokee Wildlife Refuge. The facilities were first developed by the Civilian Conservation Corps between 1937 and 1941.

Note: Click on caption to see image at larger size and higher resolution.

 

 

Note: These and other images are available for purchase at my website: www.earthwatcher.us or by contacting larry@earthwatcher.us

Cooper’s Hawk

We have an active backyard. Several species of birds frequent our feeder and the ground beneath. My wife is always chasing squirrels from the feeder. This afternoon, we had an unexpected visitor – a Cooper’s Hawk. He was very gracious. He hung around for about 15 minutes and allowed me to photograph him. Interesting though, no birds came to the feeder, no squirrels came around. Not a tweet could be heard; not even from the baby starling that has been crying all week. It took about an hour after the hawk left for backyard life to resume.

Regards,

 

Larry

Note: Click on caption to see larger, higher resolution image.

Note: This and other images are available to purchase at my website: www.earthwatcher.us or by contacting larry@earthwatcher.us

Lava Fields in Iceland

I was intrigued by the Lava Fields that I saw in Iceland last summer. A lava field, or lava bed, is a flat plain over which lava flowed and cooled. The ones that intrigued me the most were those that looked like rocks strewn at random. But what really caught my eye was how nature found a way to turn this area of desolation into a soft blanket of green. Lichens took over and attached themselves to the rock. Low shrubs invaded and even a clump of trees found a way to survive. The images I am sharing attempt to convey the beauty of these features. I hope you enjoy them.

Regards,

Larry

Note: Click on caption to see larger, high resolution copy of image.

Note: These and other images are available for purchase at my website: www.earthwatcher.us or by contacting larry@earthwatcher.us.

Some Less Photographed Perspectives of Yosemite

We recently visited Yosemite National Park. On the day we visited, I decided to look for perspectives that aren’t commonly photographed. I love the iconic images but there are lots of nooks and crannies that provide wonderful landscapes. I hope you enjoy these images.

Regards,

Larry

Note: Click on caption to see image at larger size.

Note: These and other images are available for purchase at my website: www.earthwatcher.us or by contacting larry@earthwatcher.us.