Is it permissible to use beautiful and bleak in the same sentence?   If so I would say "A beautiful but bleak Death Valley landscape."  Right click on the photo to view the 2K image.  Four photos were stitched together for this view.  46.3 (12,773 x 3,627) mega pixels.  If you don't know what a pixel is, read about pixels in my Tutorials section.

Why stitch photos together to make a Pano?  Why not just shoot this with a wide angle lens?  Simply speaking, this is the best way to eliminate to much sky and too much foreground while achieving super mega resolution.  In this case, shot with the telephoto lens set to 100mm.  It is also noteworthy that the sky is interesting, not just blue, not just whispy clouds, a mixture of both works really well.. My favorite sky has lots of interesting vertical Thunder Clouds.  You can always count on the formation of Thunder Clouds for a wonderful photographable sky.  Storm Clouds are exciting as well.

Oaks and boulders on Hwy 178 on the way to Death Valley, a pretty drab colored landscape.  But hey guys and gurls, it's winter.

Acorn Woodpeckers at work but instead of a dead snag peppered with holes to store acorns, a farmers fence post.  Amazing industrious birds, like ants only bigger.  I had a friend with a house in the Big Trees area off of Hwy 4, the Sierras.  A woodpecker decided my friend should share her home with him.  LoL  Since her house was vacant for months at a time, it was always a mystery which varmint would attack it in the interim period.  That Woodpecker made a third story in that two story house during one of the times it was vacant.

Same area, a Sparrow with it's flight feathers deployed for max take off.

Then onto Death Valley and some of it's desert flora.

A Desert bush, in it's more or less dormant stage.  Looks like it could be a "Burning" bush very easily.

A delicious green package inside an inpenatratable Porcupine case.  Not sure what they are called besides "Cactus," but if I find out, I will post later.  Not sure how delicious either, but with that much protection it just has to be GREAT.  For instance, have you ever had Nopales and scrambled eggs? Nopales is the inside of the more traditional cactus we are used to seeing In the Santa Clara Valley.  If you are lucky enough to find a Mexican restaurant serving Nopales, be sure to order up and enjoy a delicious mouth watering dish.  Oh darn, now I'm hungry.

More "ouch" protection but not as clear about what is being protected.  Nothing here to eat, let's move on.

More prickly stuff

Now you know where to get a tooth pick when you're camping in Death Valley.

I went on a hike with my 100-400mm lens looking for critters to shoot.  Turns out there are lots of rocks and no critters so I used my "reach out and touch somebody" lens to shoot rocks instead.  Not a very efficient use of a high tech lens but hey, when there aren't any rabbits, what's a guy to do? Fortunately, there is an abundance of really interesting rocks in Death Valley.

You could imagine a contractor reinforcing concrete with gravel, Mother Nature takes it one step further reinforcing a rock with more rocks.

This rock was used by the Indians to scratch their name into.  You know how it goes, one Indian does it and they all have to do it, scribbling over each others names until it just looks like a big mess.

How does this happen?  Like a used Pumice Stone.  Perhaps some very large people used it to clean their very large toilet bowls. Or, maybe not.

WoW, a rock with it's own fur coat.  Actually it was all rock, just different colors.  Like somebody dribbled brown rock over a gray rock.  How does this happen?  I need to ask one of my geologist friends.  "Well Jim, you know this was a highly volcanic area. Cool rocks were thrown up in the air with molten rocks and the two just kind of stuck to each other."  Or something like that............

Kind of lonely looking with no siblings in sight.  Obviously a piece broken off a cliff, then pushed by a very brisk 2000mph wind to rest in this place.  (I know, just a bad guess by an aspiring Geologist.) lol

Just a pretty r o c k.

Now this has got to be a valuable sculpture.  You could display this in any art gallery and get $10,000 for it.  Or maybe ten dollars?

Another pretty but huge rock.  Couldn't fool you guys and gurls, huh?

We have lots of rocks near Santa Cruz, CA USA with embedded shells and what not but this looks different.  Like a molten mixture of cookie dough swirl mix.

MOTS (more of the same!) and thankfully the very last rock photo.  (For this page, anyway's.)

I don't know if you know this or not but I'm on an adventure intersperssed with some fun along the way.  It is still a mystery to me whether my trusty 235,000 mile car will hold together for this adventure projected to be a total of 6 to 8 thousand miles and four to six weeks.  I left San Jose on December 25th (2013).

I'm not sure I care if my car holds together or not.  If I did, I probably wouldn't have left San Jose in the first place.  My plan is to fix it as I go or leave it at a salvage yard if it gets to be an expensive fix.  e.g. blown engine, transmission, etc.  One of the huge advantages of being retired, is the freedom to not care.  Try it, you will like it.  Twenty year old kids do it all the time, booking one exotic country after another until they run out of money and or get bored and go back to work.  No chance of going back to work for me so I am good to "go."

My MO (Modus Operandi) is to travel the back roads looking for "Alligator Farm" signs, the kind of signs that promise a two foot midget wrestling match, or a tour of the three toed chicken ranch or a one legged butt kicking contest with a $100 entry fee.  Do chickens even have toes?  I know they have feet because a former friend ordered them for me once.  If you want to stay friends, don't order Chicken Feet for them to eat.  I'm just saying.

I hope you enjoy my future postings.  I try to post new pages every two to five days.  Don't freak if you don't see a new posting in this time frame. Something wonderful probably happened and I got distracted from posting or worst case, somebody is calling my son to come and collect me.  Either way, having fun, having adventure and being as careful as I can to enjoy the next sign, the next curve, the next experience.  For instance, I didn't know that rocks could be so interesting.  It wasn't until I decided to photograph them, that I noticed how many different rocks there were.

jim 12/28/2013


copyright mark  All of the images and text on this post are copyright protected and have been digitally watermarked.  The images and text displayed here, in no way implies consent for any form of distribution or reuse.  Email me if you desire permission to do so. 

web metrics