An Early Morning at Folsom Lake

Early Morning at Folsom Lake; Doton’s Point,
Folsom Lake State Recreation Area, Folsom, CA; MAR 2019

This past week, we had a morning where the rain clouds were breaking up in the early morning. I chose that day to explore Doton’s Point trail at Folsom Lake Recreation Area; a trail that was new to me. The grasses and other plants were displaying their spring green. The early morning sun helped saturate the colors. Spring was at its finest. I went with the expectation that I might see some different birds. Instead, I discovered that it was time for some landscapes.

The beautiful rocks in this image are granite. The area around this portion of Folsom Lake is called Granite Bay because of the abundance of granite in the area. Like the Sierra Nevada mountains, this area sets on a pluton, a large blob of magma that cooled slowly underground to form granite then was uplifted and exposed.

Please click on caption to see image at higher resolution.

Early Morning at Folsom Lake – P2;
Doton’s Point, Folsom Lake State Recreation Area, Folsom, CA; MAR 2019

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

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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

Aerial Abstracts

Abstract art uses color, shape and line to create a pleasing image. That image may or may not represent something real. In photography, you arrive at the result through a different route. You find a candidate and create a composition that emphasizes the pattern created by the color, shape and/or line over the subject itself.

I am a primarily a landscape photographer. As I progressed and learned more about that art, I became fascinated with the questions about how a scene evolved; what processes shaped it in the past and what processes are shaping it today. As I observed, I began to see the patterns and to understand how to recognize the effects of the wind, water and tectonic events that influenced it.  I also began to see how the patterns repeated themselves in different ways in different objects. It is those patterns that often make a wonderful abstract image.

On a recent cross-country trip, we flew over the high plains of Kansas and the foothills and peaks of the Rocky Mountains. In many places the snowpack was broken; ice and snow lay in the crevices where snowmelt flows, while the remaining surfaces were clear. I was struck by the patterns that I saw. Erosion created patterns like those of a bush branching or leaves branching on a stem. In one spot, I saw a fish backbone with its tiny ribs extended. Using my trusty phone camera, through an airplane window, I created some abstracts from the landscapes I love.

I hope you enjoy these images. Reflect on the patterns – what do you see?

Regards

Larry

Note: Click on Caption to see larger, higher resolution image

These and other images are available for purchase at http://www.earthwatcher.us or by contacting me at larry@earthwatcher.us.

These and other images are available for purchase at www.earthwatcher.us or by contacting me at larry@earthwatcher.us.

Less Common views from Sacramento and Colusa National Wildlife Reserve

Our visit to the Sacramento and Colusa National Wildlife Refuges found us in fog an low light. These conditions make photography more difficult but also present some interesting opportunities for unique and special images. Additionally, on this visit, we were treated to some birds that we don’t normally see. I hope you enjoy these images.

Regards,

Larry

Note: Please click on caption to see image in larger size.

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

Great Basin Images

Image of Joshua Tree Forest in Nevada

Joshua Tree Forest

In October, 2015, Donna and I made a tour of the Great Basin area in Nevada.  I recently revisited the images I took during that trip and decided to get them ready to publish.  The first image is of a special Joshua Tree forest.  It is special because, over the mountains,behind the forest, lies Groom Lake, the fabled Area 51.  I wonder what you’d see if you were a bug on one of the trees.  The second image is of a rainstorm over the desert.  It is raining in the distance as crepuscular rays cast their beams over the desert landscape.  The third image is a rainbow over Death Valley.  I’ve published a version of this image before but wasn’t happy with it.  Now it’s back and will be one of the images featured in my show at ACAI Gallery and Studios beginning December 17.  The fourth image is one of Mesquite Dunes in Death Valley.  It too will be displayed in my show.

Image of rain and crepuscular rays over Nevada desert

Clouds, Sun and Rain

Image of a rainbow at sunrise over Death Valley

Wondrous Morning

Image of Sun Set Over Mesquite Dunes - Death Valley

Sun Setting Over Mesquite Dunes – Perspective 1

Spring in Northern California

My wife, brother, sister-in-law and I took a trip to the Eastern Sierra and the desert of the Great Basin.  I remember a trip to Yosemite and down Rte. 395 seeing the snow capped Sierra for the first time.  It was an incredible experience.  In the intervening years we have experienced drought.  The snow left the mountains early causing the rivers to slow early.  The beauty is always there but, it’s not as spectacular as when we get lots of snow and rain.  This year we got a respite from the drought so the drive down 395 regained much of its splendor.   We were treated to scenes from romantic westerns; large mountain valleys, ringed with high snowcapped peaks, cattle grazing on lush green grass.   I felt like I should be on a horse with Hoss and Little Joe.  The rivers were running hard, churning white water that glistened in the sun.  At Yosemite, the waterfalls thundered.

As we travel south on Rte. 395 we reach a point where the terrain transitions from mountain valleys to the valleys of the high desert.  The grass goes away and is replaced by gnarled shrub.  Even the vegetation along the rivers is stunted.  With this year’s rain and snow, the area took on a different look.  The wildflower blooms in Bodie were near their end but, stalks retained their spring green, creating a strong contrast against the brown buildings and deep blue sky.

Outhouse on a Hill

Outhouse on a Hill, Bodie, CA, MAY 2016

Mono Lake had a hue of emerald green instead of aqua.  The lake color, along with the spring greens of its vegetation gave the tufa a softer, cooler gray color and gave a green cast to the air.  The winds were very strong that day.  They created white caps along with waves that crashed against the tufa and broke along the shore.

Mono Lake on a Windy Spring Day

Mono Lake, South Tufa Reserve, May 2016

The strong winds followed us to the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest where we had planned an early morning hike along the Methuselah Trail.  We had to cancel the hike because the wind chill was really bad.  We hiked the shorter Discovery Trail instead.  The trail was clear but snow patches dotted the adjacent hillsides.  The sun peeked through openings in the overcast sky highlighting the sculptural bristlecones and the mountains in the distance.

Bristlecone Pine

Schullman Grove, Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, MAY 2016

From the bristlecones, we made our way to Death Valley.  Spring was in the desert air also.  Wildflowers of yellow and white were in bloom along the road.  The Joshua Trees were budding but not quite ready to open.  Even the cholla cactus was putting on its spring display.

My brother and sister-in-law were taken aback by Death Valley.  Like me, they were raised in the eastern US.  We saw deserts only in movies.  They were areas where sand dunes stretched from horizon to horizon; a place where people rode camels and hung out at an oasis with palm trees.  Instead, Death Valley is a typical valley in the basin and range ecosystem.  It is long and narrow and ringed with high mountains.  It’s hard, gray-brown soil is dotted with gnarled vegetation and rocks that washed down from the mountainsides during storms.  But even it was showing signs of spring.  Some of the normally dry playas contained water.  Tiny wildflowers, mostly yellow, were in bloom.  We hiked back Golden Canyon and we watched a sunrise at Zabriske Point.  The strongly eroded mountainsides, painted by mineral deposits are always a treat to see especially under the golden sunlight of a sunrise from Zabriske.

Side Canyon

Golden Canyon, Death Valley National Park, May 2016

We continued our journey to Lone Pine, CA.  Along the way, we chuckled at 2 coyotes working the tourists at a pull-off in Panamint Valley –  Will pose of food.

The Alabama Hills are located near Lone Pine.  They are oddly eroded, twisted rocks, at the base of Mt Whitney.  They were used as the set for many Hollywood productions of western and other adventure movies.  Those of us who were fans of Roy Rogers, Gene Autrey, Hopalong Cassidy and the other cowboy protagonists of our childhood would find those hills familiar.  Lone Pine also houses the Lone Pine Film History Museum.  It holds memorabilia from movies produced in that area.  It was fun to see the fancy saddles and guns, stagecoaches and even some monsters and space aliens.  It was fun to reminisce also.

The final part of this journey took us to Yosemite.  Our plans were to go across Tioga Pass but a snowfall the night before closed it.  We had to detour.  The detour took us on Rte. 88 from Sorenson’s to Jackson; a stretch we’ve never driven.  It was a beautiful drive over granite balds, along steep sided canyons and past mountain lakes.  We found a new place to explore for photo opportunities.

Yosemite is at its most beautiful in the spring.  Waterfalls thundered, the Merced River churned white water, ephemeral waterfalls were still flowing.  We were only able to visit the valley.  Even Glacier Point was closed due to “impending storm”.  But wondering through the valley is a joy.  The immense scale, with waterfalls crashing over sheer granite cliffs towering 3,000 feet and more above your head, drive home the power and awesomeness of nature’s forces and God’s creativity.  I am always awe-struck by its beauty.  It never gets tiring.

Bridal Veil Falls

Bridal Veil Falls, Yosemite National Park, May 2016

 

I hope my images and words give you a sense of spring in Northern California.  Stay tuned for Part 2 of our adventure.

 

Regards,

 

Larry