Luminous Landscape Forum

Equipment & Techniques => Landscape & Nature Photography => Topic started by: Arlen on August 16, 2021, 12:59:16 am

Title: Islands in Time
Post by: Arlen on August 16, 2021, 12:59:16 am
“Come quick and see these giant bumblebees,” Susan called out from ahead of me on the trail. She’s nearly always up ahead, as I lollygag (by her judgment) behind, eye to viewfinder.

   Nevada Bumblebee (Bombus nevadensis)

She was in a small high desert patch of thistles, and indeed every flower was occupied by one of the largest bumblebees either one of us had ever seen. It wouldn’t be too much of a
stretch to call them thumb size. Some flowers had two bumblebees, making for a rather crowded workplace. Heads boring down and proboscises probing, they were too busy to be at all
bothered by our intrusion.

   Bumblebees & Wavyleaf Thistle (Cirsium undulatum)

Thanks to my dilly-dallying and the resulting pictorial records, we’ve since learned that the bees were some of the country’s largest, the Nevada Bumblebee, and are native to much of
western North America. Especially in the mountains, and particularly in mountain meadows. Which is right where we were. And we now know that patches of the native Wavyleaf Thistles,
which are common in the same locales, are some of their favorite places to dine. Motivated bee and wildflower enthusiasts schedule their trips to such places in hopes of catching the
flowers and bees at just the right time. But not us; we simply stumbled right into it.

We were here in the John Day area of eastern Oregon primarily for the stunning geology and scenery. To get to this spot, we had hiked up from near the John Day River in the valley
below. Here’s the view we saw behind us when we looked back away from the bees.

   John Day River valley

The John Day River runs along the valley floor in the middle of the greenway behind that big hay barn. It is the longest undammed tributary to the Columbia River, and the fourth largest
free flowing river in the United States. But being not all that far from its headwaters here, it is fairly narrow and shallow.

Hitting the trail again, we left the wildflower field and pressed onward, with still a fair hike to go. We were headed into Blue Basin, an other-worldly formation of blue/green clay layers that
has resulted from eons of cyclic volcanic eruptions and subsequent compaction. Along the way we kept our eyes open for wild things big and small. Considering the terrain, the occasional
appearance of reptilian inhabitants was no surprise.

   Western Fence Lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis)

Eventually we reached our destination for the day, at the end of the Island in Time Trail. Surrounded by 360-degree views like this.

   Blue Basin, at the end of the Island in Time Trail

Blue Basin is rich in fossils, and is why it is part of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. This is one of the least known or visited national parks or monuments in the country, but
certainly does not lack for striking scenery.

In the coming days and weeks, if I get the time, I will try to post some more images from the John Day area.
Title: Re: Islands in Time
Post by: Mark Nadler on August 16, 2021, 04:51:33 am
I like your first bee image.

Title: Re: Islands in Time
Post by: Bob_B on August 16, 2021, 07:24:49 am
Very nice set, Arlen. I too like the first bee photo.
Title: Re: Islands in Time
Post by: francois on August 16, 2021, 08:41:34 am
Yes, excellent set with different but fantastic shots. Bees are terrific.
Title: Re: Islands in Time
Post by: Eric Myrvaagnes on August 16, 2021, 02:16:52 pm
An excellent set indeed, especially the bees and thistles.
Title: Re: Islands in Time
Post by: Arlen on August 17, 2021, 07:28:31 pm
Thanks to all of you for taking the time to look and comment. For sure the stars are the bees, and the others are supporting characters.
Title: Re: Islands in Time
Post by: Chris Calohan on September 14, 2021, 08:36:39 am
Good photos all but the first is quite spectacular.
Title: Re: Islands in Time
Post by: Arlen on September 15, 2021, 10:55:42 pm
Thank you, Chris.
Title: Re: Islands in Time
Post by: Randy Carone on September 23, 2021, 04:05:22 pm
Beautiful images and new (to me) info about the John Day River. Thanks.
Title: Re: Islands in Time
Post by: Arlen on September 24, 2021, 06:43:57 pm
Thanks, Randy. I'm glad you found it of interest.