Pinnacles National Park – Wildflowers Second Wave

June 2, 2019 at 11:00 am (California, California Central Coast, California wildflowers, National Parks, Nature, Nature photography, Wildflowers) ()

Elegant clarkia (Clarkia unguiculata)

The first wave of wildflowers at Pinnacles National Park has gone by, and the second wave is going strong even though the grass has now turned brown and gone to seed.

California buckwheat

The California buckwheat was beginning to bloom, and this head was the nicest of the bunch.

Fortunately, I am the kind of person that can take an hour on a one-mile trail because every new flower or butterfly fascinates me, and I must record it via pixels.

I couldn’t get a view into the insides of the mariposa lilies because they were on the hillsides. It was odd that they seemed to grow as singles or in very small groups.

View toward the end of the road at West Entrance
Interesting rock layers on the trail I hiked by the VC

Many flowers were brand new to me, and it took me several hours after I got home and edited the photos to find IDs. I feel rather proud of that effort, although there’s no way I’ll remember the Latin names.

Soap Plant, Chlorogalum pomeridianum

This soap plant flowers were actually maybe only an inch across when fully opened.

The goldenstars were also lovely and new to me.

At the turnaround point were lovely views of the pinnacles. I hoped to see a California condor, as I had seen several juveniles on my very first visit about five years ago. No luck.

There were sprinkles of Witches Hair (dodder) that added an orange complement to the flower-dotted brown landscape.

California buckwheat back-dropped by dodder

An artist or photographer often finds great joy in finding just the right angles, the most beautiful specimen, the prettiest background for the subject at hand. That means we are S..L..O..W and most folks get impatient waiting for us. That’s why I prefer to be alone on these trips.

Darkling beetle

Even though my visit was on Memorial Day, there really weren’t that many people there. Maybe because the weather the previous day had been quite cold and raw (for May). It’s amazing what you can see if you walk slowly and look closely at the hidden gems that compete with the beautiful rockscapes called The Pinnacles.

Photos and text copyrighted by Cindy McIntyre

Feel free to reblog or share

Website:  CindyMcIntyre.com

Online gallery:  Smugmug and Fine Art America

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Contact:  cindy at cindymcintyre.com

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Joshua Tree Wildflowers

May 5, 2019 at 11:24 am (California, National Parks, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Wildflowers) (, )

Cottonwood entrance, Joshua Tree National Park

First of all, apologies for not posting this sooner. I visited this area in mid-March this year. I understand Joshua Tree National Park still has plenty of nice flowers blooming at the north entrance and other areas – albeit different ones.

Lupine and bladderpod
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Pinnacles National Park

May 5, 2019 at 10:42 am (Bird photography, Birds - California, California, California Central Coast, National Parks, Nature, Nature photography, Wildflowers) (, )

Owls clover, west entrance

Flowers have been blooming all over California for a couple of months, and despite the end of the rainy season, they are still going strong. Early blooms go to seed and mid- to late-season blooms replace them.

Fremont’s Star Lily

These are among the early bloomers at Pinnacles National Park. The Fremont’s star lily is in the same toxic family as the death camas, which is what I thought it was at first. The park has a nice wildflower guide on its website which set me straight. This visit was on April 15, so the landscape will look different now.

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Pinnacles National Park – West Side

April 8, 2018 at 10:32 am (California, National Parks, Nature, Nature photography, Photography)

Pinnacles NP west side, CA (27) copy

My first visit to Pinnacles National Park was about three years ago when I lived in Apple Valley, Calif. I stopped there again on my way to San Francisco a few weeks ago.

Road to Pinnacles NP West side, CA (1) copy

One of my favorite views is on the narrow, winding road from the Salinas Valley to the park’s west entrance, with this particular oak tree leafing out in spring. Read the rest of this entry »

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Washington, D.C. – the Expected and Unexpected

October 8, 2017 at 5:00 am (National Parks) (, , , , , , )

The long-over due memorial to the influential civil rights leader, Martin Luther King, Jr., was dedicated Aug. 28, 2011 on the 48th anniversary of the March on Washington. Read the rest of this entry »

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Washington, D.C. War Memorials

October 7, 2017 at 5:00 am (National Parks) (, , , , )

The World War II Memorial on the National Mall was dedicated in 2004, and is between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial. Read the rest of this entry »

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Road Trip Lagniappe

October 11, 2016 at 7:13 am (National Parks, National Wildlife Refuges (US Fish & Wildlife), Nature, Nature photography, Oklahoma, Photography)

Rt. 51 near Canton, Okla.

Rt. 51 near Canton, Okla.

What more appropriate introduction to a road trip blog than a cool photo of a hilly road at dawn’s early light?

Plainview, Okla.

Plainview, Okla.

I love country roads. Little traffic. Wide open spaces. Safe to pull over for photo opps. Western Oklahoma has a bunch of country roads.

Old farmstead, Talonga

Old farmstead, Talonga

By the time I get around to editing the photographs from a trip, I tend to forget the feelings and thoughts I had during the trip. Plus I’m just so anxious to get the images posted that I tend not to say much. So my blog posts are heavy on photos.

Freedom, Okla. at dawn

Freedom, Okla. at dawn

As a photographer, I love being out early, and staying out until the sun sets. The best light, the best moods, happen at those times.

Freedom, Okla.

Freedom, Okla.

It’s hard to photograph a vista in Oklahoma without some sign of the oil and gas industry, as you can see in this photo.

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Cherokee, Okla.

Cherokee, Okla.

I’ve always loved old wall signs.

Broomcorn

Broomcorn

I think state tourism agencies should ask farmers to post signs in their fields to identify crops, since many times I have no idea what is growing and, like many people, I’m just darned curious. This is my first sighting of broomcorn. I had no idea what its purpose was and (don’t laugh) even wondered if the odd stalks that replace edible ears of corn were growing popcorn!

Broomcorn-sorghum

Broomcorn-sorghum

After I googled it, I learned it is sorghum! And lo and behold, it CAN be popped like popcorn. It’s also crushed like sugar cane for syrup, used as livestock feed, and also for ethanol.

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Homemade election signs seemed appropriate in the far-flung farmlands.

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I take it Stan has been in office quite awhile.

Sodhouse, Washita Battlefield

Sodhouse, Washita Battlefield

The Washita Battlefield and museum gave an insight into a sad event of American history, when the peaceful Cheyenne were blamed for the actions of a band of renegades and massacred by the U. S. Cavalry, led by Lt. Col. George Custer. Not only were the men, women and children slaughtered, but 800 ponies were also killed. It can’t help but make decent people angry. Reminded me of watching “Dances with Wolves” when Kevin Costner came to appreciate the native peoples and then the crude, hateful hicks of the cavalry arrived and started killing the Indians and wolves without ever attempting to appreciate them. At least Custer got his just rewards at Little Big Horn. (Too bad about the Soldiers, though.)

This was a very unusual part of Oklahoma, a flatter-n-a-pancake salt bed where you could dig selenite crystals.

salt-plains-nwr-ok-6-copyIt looks like Badwater in Death Valley and the salt bed at Carrizo Plain National Monument.

Digging selenite crystals

Digging selenite crystals

The US Fish & Wildlife Service has a large area set aside where you can dig for the crystals, as well as signs that tell you how to do it and what the most prized crystals look like. Unfortunately some scofflaws were out in off-limits areas, which always makes me sizzle.  In winter this area is flooded over for migrating waterfowl.

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I wasn’t interested in getting a perfect crystal with the hour-glass opacity in the center. These looked pretty good to me and I didn’t even have to dig for them. They were in the tailings piles.

Osage orange

Osage orange

The osage orange fruit looks really funky, but isn’t edible.

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This little drama shows a scary-looking jumping spider with its mayfly prey.

Jumping spider and mayfly

Jumping spider and mayfly – a closeup!

I just had to put in a Halloweenish touch since it IS October. Oh, and did I show you the blotched water snake at Boiling Springs State Park?

Blotched water snake

Blotched water snake

Someone on the trail said it had tried to make a frog its meal. They said it was a venomous copperhead, which shows that people often want things to be more dramatic than they really are. This guy is non-venomous.

Major County Historical Society choo choo

Major County Historical Society choo choo

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Beef cattle and irrigation sprinklers.

Hay bales

Hay bales

So there. That concludes my Okie Road Trip that I took six weeks ago.

All photographs and text copyrighted by Cindy McIntyre

Feel free to reblog or share

Website:  CindyMcIntyre.com

Online gallery:  Smugmug and Fine Art America

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Contact:  cindy at cindymcintyre.com

 

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October Explodes With Color in the Wichitas

October 3, 2016 at 6:25 pm (Autumn, Birds - Oklahoma, Butterflies, National Parks, National Wildlife Refuges (US Fish & Wildlife), Nature, Nature photography, Oklahoma, Photography, Wichita Mountains NWR, Wildflowers)

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I didn’t realize the fall wildflowers in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge rivaled those of spring. There are patches of brilliant yellow Maximilian sunflowers that grow along a single stem like hollyhocks. And the purple liatris is everywhere amid the prairie grass and prairie broomweed. I’m not sure what species it is exactly (gayfeather something I think) but even the wildflower lady at the refuge has a bit of a time narrowing it down, so I’m not gonna worry about it.

Maximilian Sunflowers

Maximilian Sunflowers

I haven’t been able to do much blogging as my computer was in the hospital for a month. It’s got a new 1TB hard drive, and some other upgrades. So now I can get back to my photo editing! Read the rest of this entry »

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Carrizo Plain National Monument

January 9, 2016 at 5:07 pm (Bird photography, Birds - California, California, National Parks, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Wildlife) (, , )

Carrizo Plain National Monument

Carrizo Plain National Monument

The nice thing about being in Oklahoma in winter is that the cold, dreary days make it easy to stay inside and catch up on my photo editing. Although I miss California, I needed some down time and a chance to stop spending several hundred dollars a month in gas traveling to beautiful places year-round. Editing is a way of revisiting these places, such as the Carrizo Plain National Monument.

State Rt. 58

State Rt. 58

April 2015 was past-peak flower season in many areas of California, but enroute to the coast the hills were still kelly green in central California. Read the rest of this entry »

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Organ Pipe National Monument, Arizona

December 14, 2015 at 6:00 am (National Parks, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Southwest Landscapes) (, , , , )

Organ Pipe cactus, Organ Pipe National Monument, Arizona

Organ Pipe cactus, Organ Pipe National Monument, Arizona

The distinctive organ pipe cactus is so sensitive to freezing temperatures that its northernmost range is in very southern Arizona in and near Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.  However, the most noticeable cactus is the saguaro. Read the rest of this entry »

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