IMAGE OF THE MONTH and ARCHIVES

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June 1, 2024

IMAGE OF THE MONTH FOR JUNE    "Russian Invasion?"

Crater Sulphur Mine, Death Valley NP, California

About a 150 years ago the central and western states were rapidly invaded by the Russian Thistle, better know as Tumbleweed. Not actually a thistle, just a weed from Eastern Europe/Russia/Siberia that was accidentally introduced with imported hay and carried by trains as they headed west. When the plant matures and dries, it detaches from the roots and easily rolls in the wind, spreading its seeds.

High in the mountains of Death Valley NP I happened to see this very effective tumbleweed collector…

iPhone 13 Pro, lens at f1.5, exposure of 1/6000 second, ISO 50.

May 4, 2024

IMAGE OF THE MONTH FOR MAY    "Ancient Rock Art"

Grapevine Canyon In The Spirit Mountain Wilderness, Lake Mead NRA, Nevada

As far back as nine centuries what are thought to have been the Mojave people created Rock Art in what is now know as Grapevine Canyon. Desert Varnish is a dark coating that forms over rocks in arid environments, and is easily scraped away with sharp rocks to reveal the lighter colored rock beneath. The artists then created different shapes, animals and people—over 700 in all—that are still visible today.

I wondered how the petroglyphs high up were made until I saw a drawing of one person standing on the shoulders of another…

iPhone 13 Pro, lens at f1.5, exposure of 1/120 second, ISO 50.

April 1, 2024

IMAGE OF THE MONTH FOR APRIL    "A Lake In Death Valley?"

Lake Manly, At The Bottom Of Death Valley

Every Alaskan deserves a break from winter's snow and cold, so I've just returned from a short Southwest trip. One of the reasons I wanted to visit Death Valley was the rare lake in Badwater Basin, some 282 feet below sea level. It formed in August last year after Hurricane Hillary dumped 2.2 inches of rain, and then was replenished by another atmospheric river in February.

Tourists are flocking to the lake to experience something that will soon evaporate away...

iPhone 13 Pro, lens at f1.5, exposure of 1/4600 second, ISO 50.

February 25, 2024

IMAGE OF THE MONTH FOR MARCH    "Such A Cute Pest"

Alaska Range Mountains Of Interior Alaska

Anyone living in rural Alaska has a love/hate relationship with Red Squirrels. On one hand they are so cute collecting spruce cones for the winter and then perching on a branch while eating them. On the other hand they can be quite destructive if they find a way into your attic or shed.

The secret is to train your resident squirrel--like keeping off the house--and they in turn will defend their territory from 'non-trained' squirrels. A symbiotic relationship...

Canon R5, RF600 f4 lens, exposure of 1/1000 second at f5.6, ISO 10,000, handheld. A vertical crop, processed with Topaz DeNoise.

January 29, 2024

IMAGE OF THE MONTH FOR FEBRUARY    "Stand Or Flee?"

Scorseby Sound, East Greenland

Most East Greenlanders are subsistence hunters and fishers so are able to hunt musk ox and polar bears any time of the year. So when our group of three slowly approached these bulls, using all our collective non-threatening techniques, they were both inquisitive and wary. After deeming us harmless, they ambled up the mountain.

Canon R5, RF100-500 f4.5-7.1 lens at 451mm, exposure of 1/640 second at f8, ISO 500, handheld.

December 24, 2023

IMAGE OF THE MONTH FOR JANUARY    "A Natural Lightshow"

Scorseby Sound, East Greenland

Freezing hands or not, when such a brilliant aurora display occurs, I photograph! The forecast was for a KP Index 7, which is very high. Picture 40 some photographers crowded along the ship's railing trying to properly compose and expose the display while the ship slowly rotated, and you can understand why I got only one keeper.

Blue and purple colors only occur during intense solar activity.

Canon R5, EF16-35 f4 lens at 16mm, exposure of 4 seconds at f4, ISO 12,800, Feisol tripod. Topaz DeNoise used to reduce the sensor noise.

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