Desert flowers

Claret Cup

Claret Cup (Echinocereus triglochidiatus var. melancanthus)
Dead Horse Point State Park

The areas we visited in Utah are all locations that are considered high-desert but that does not mean that there are no plants.  This cactus was blooming at all three parks we visited (Arches, Canyonlands and Dead Horse – where I got this image.) along with numerous other wildflowers.

With an average annual rainfall of 10 inches, the plant life has to be adapted to the hot, dry climate and if you visit this area in the summer I’d be surprised if you see alot of flowers.  Since our trip was in May (Which appears to be just the beginning of Spring in this area since we got snowed on several times!) we, and the plants, were treated to a fair amount of rain.

Good side of visiting this time of year – No crowds in the parks and not too hot.
Down side – Fair chance of rain and possibility of cool/cold temps

Nikon D7000
Nikkor 18-105mm @ 66mm
Hand-held
ƒ/10.0    1/250 sec   400 ISO
Processed with Adobe Lightroom

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So much for planning…

RMNP_May 10 2016_BearLakeBear Lake – Rocky Mountain National Park
May 10, 2016  6:15 AM

OK, I did my homework and planned out great sites for photos at RMNP.  Bear Lake is listed as a very popular site and there are many beautiful images showing reflections of the surrounding mountains in the sparkling water.  We were all ready to take the short hike up there and observe a stunning Rocky Mountain sunrise.

As it turns out, the skies were cloudy and the lake was completely frozen and covered with snow.  We passed a group of cross-country skiers on the way in and I found myself wishing for a pair of snowshoes as we tromped through the snow-covered trail.  The scene was beautiful but certainly not what I was expecting!  Guess we need to make plans to come back when its a bit warmer.

Nikon D7000
Nikkor 18-105 mm @ 18mm
3-shot bracketed exposure   ISO100
Processed with Photomatix Pro, Nik Color Effects Pro and Adobe Lightroom

Bonsai gardening in the desert

RMNP_May 08 2016_0787

There is so much to see when visiting the National and State Parks in Utah that I hardly know where to begin.  This image is a pinyon pine at one of the overlooks at Dead Horse State Park.  These trees are dotted all over the landscape in this area and are so interesting because the trunks look like twisted knots of driftwood.  If you didn’t see the green leaves on it, you would think the tree was dead.  As you can see from this shot, they grow in the most unexpected places, like a crack on the side of a cliff or a boulder.  Nature is amazing!

Dead Horse State Park
Moab, UT

Nikon D7000
Nikkor 18.0-105.0 mm @ 48mm
f/18    1/160 sec   ISO400