Scenes from the Grand Canyon

Let Me Take You on a Tour
Juvenile California Condor; Mather Point, South Rim, Grand Canyon National Park; AUG 2019

I have a friend, Gary Hart, who leads some of the best photography workshops you will ever find. Two of m favorites were to the Grand Canyon. One was to raft the Colorado River and the other to photograph lightening from the rim. Here are some images from those trips.

Note: Please click on caption to see images at higher resolution.

Ancient Walls
Grand Canyon National Park, AZ; MAY 2016
Sunset Over Grand Canyon
Rim Trail, South Rim, Grand Canyon National; Park; AUG 2019
Kanab Creek Canyon
Grand Canyon National Park, AZ; MAY 2016
Lightning Over Grand Canyon
Mojave Point, South Rim, Grand Canyon National; Park; AUG 2019
Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon National Park, MAY 2016
Rainbow Over Grand Canyon
Point Imperial, Grand Canyon National Park, AZ; JUL 2019
Sunrise From Point Imperial
Point Imperial, Grand Canyon National Park, AZ; AUG 2019
Through the Canyon
Grand Canyon National Park, AZ; MAY 2016
Sunrise From Point Imperial
Point Imperial, Grand Canyon National Park, AZ; AUG 2019

Please visit my website, www.earthwatcher.us to see my collection of landscapes and wildlife.

These and other images are available to purchase by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.

Some Birds Photographed This Summer

Gray Jay (Perisoreus canadensis) AKA Whiskey Jack
Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada; MAY 2019

I’ve been traveling a lot this year. In my travels, I have seen and photographed many interesting birds. I just haven’t made the time to share them. Here are a few of them. Others will follow.

First up is the Gray Jay. It is a corvid like other jays but is smaller and has a much less raucous voice. In November 2016 the BBC reported that Canada adopted this bird, also known as the Whiskey Jack, as its national bird.

The other Jay in this collection is Woodhouse’s Jay. Those of us in the west don’t see Blue Jays; they are eastern birds. Mostly, we see the scrub jay.  At one time, the Scrub Jay was just called the Western Scrub Jay. But recently, it was split into 3 separate species: the California Scrub Jay which we see here west of the Sierra Nevada mountains; the Island Scrub Jay which is only found in the Santa Cruz Islands, and Woodhouse’s Jay which is seen between the Sierra Nevada mountains and the Rocky mountains and from Southeastern Oregon into Mexico.

I found the Horned Lark and the Black-throated Sparrow at Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. Ash Meadows is an oasis, a marshland in the Mojave Desert that is fed from springs that draw from an ancient aquifer. You’ll find it in Amargosa Valley, NV . It is a great place to visit, in the early morning.

The Yellow-headed Blackbird is a common bird in much of the western US. It thrives in marshes among the reeds and cattails.

Note: Please click on caption to see image at higher resolution.

Woodhouse’s Jay (Aphelocoma woodhouseii)
Mather Point, South Rim, Grand Canyon National Park; AUG 2019
Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris)
Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, Amargosa Valley, NV; JUL 2019
Black-throated Sparrow (Amphispiza bilineata)
Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, Amargosa Valley, NV; JUL 2019
Yellow-headed Blackbird (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus)
Mather Park, Sacramento, CA; JUN 2019

These and other images are available to purchase on my website: www.earthwatcher.us or by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.

Grand Canyon Monsoon – Part 2

Sunset Over Grand Canyon – P2;
Rim Trail Between Mojave and Hopi Points,
South Rim, Grand Canyon National; Park; AUG 2019

This is the remaining images from the Grand Canyon that I plan to share at this time. Again, I hope you enjoy these images from this amazing place.

Note: Please click on caption to images at higher resolution.

Lightning Over Grand Canyon – P1A;
South Rim, Grand Canyon National Park, AZ; AUG 2019
Rainbow Over Grand Canyon;
Imperial Point, Grand Canyon National Park, AZ; JUL 2019
Sunset Over Grand Canyon;
Rim Trail Between Mojave and Hopi Points, South Rim,
Grand Canyon National; Park; AUG 2019
Sunset From Imperial Point – P1;
Imperial Point, Grand Canyon National Park, AZ; JUL 2019
Lightning Over Grand Canyon – P3A;
Mojave Point, South Rim,
Grand Canyon National; Park; AUG 2019

These and other images are available to purchase on my website: www.earthwatcher.us or by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.

Grand Canyon Monsoon – Part 1

Lightning Over Grand Canyon;
South Rim, Grand Canyon National Park, AZ; AUG 2019

I recently had the privilege to photograph the Grand Canyon during the monsoon season of Southwestern North America. It was a marvelous time to visit this national wonder. We were treated to dark and stormy skies, lightning, rainbows and vivid sunrises and sunsets.

I generally don’t think of the southwestern US as having a monsoon season, after all, it is largely desert. I think of torrential rains in places like India and the eastern coast of Africa. But, the monsoon season in southwestern North America is very real. The term monsoon refers to the seasonal wind shift that brings in warm, humid air. Those winds cause most of the rainfall received by the desert southwest each year – all 1” to 8” of it; sometimes more and sometimes less. It can be responsible for torrential downbursts that cause flash flooding and lightning induced wildfires.

The southwestern North American monsoon season generally starts in early July and runs through September.

In this post, I am sharing a few of the images I took while at the Grand Canyon. I’ll share a few more later this week.


Note: Please click on caption to see image at higher resolution.

Sunrise From Imperial Point;
Point Imperial, Grand Canyon National Park, AZ; AUG 2019
Milky Way From Cape Royal; Cape Royal
North Rim, Grand Canyon National Park, AZ; AUG 2019
Sunset Over Grand Canyon – P1
Mojave Point, South Rim, Grand Canyon National; Park; AUG 2019

Sunrise From Imperial Point – P1
Point Imperial, Grand Canyon National Park, AZ; AUG 2019

These and other images are available to purchase on my website: www.earthwatcher.us or by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.

The California Condor

Adult and Juvenile California Condor (Gymnogyps californianus);
Mather Point, South Rim, Grand Canyon National Park; AUG 2019

This past week, I had the opportunity to visit the Grand Canyon National Park. While there, I saw a rare site: a juvenile and adult California Condor (Gymnogyps californianus). This vulture can reach 4 ½ feet long with a wingspan of nearly 10 feet; 25% larger than the more commonly seen Turkey Vulture.

What makes this bird remarkable, beside its size, is that it was nearly driven to extinction. Many millennia ago, it ranged across the entire North American continent. By the time European settlers arrived, it was found mostly in the western part of North America.

During the 20thcentury, California Condor populations declined until extinction became extremely likely. In 1987 all remaining 22 wild birds were captured. These birds formed the breeding stock for a federally sponsored program aimed at reestablishing them in the wild. These condors were bred and their offspring released into the wild. The birds have begun breeding in the wild. Captive birds continue to be released. The population is now expanding.

The birds can sometimes be seen in places like the Grand Canyon but seeing them is still the exception rather than the rule. So, I feel blessed to have been able to see and photograph these magnificent birds.

Note: Please click on caption to see images at higher resolution.

Juvenile California Condor (Gymnogyps californianus) in Flight – P1;
Mather Point, South Rim, Grand Canyon National Park; AUG 2019
Juvenile California Condor (Gymnogyps californianus) in Flight – P2;
Mather Point, South Rim, Grand Canyon National Park; AUG 2019
Juvenile California Condor (Gymnogyps californianus);
Mather Point, South Rim, Grand Canyon National Park; AUG 2019

These and other images are available to purchase on my website: www.earthwatcher.us or by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.

Five Days Rafting on the Grand Canyon

Ancient Walls - Perspective 1
I had an amazing experience; five days rafting through the Grand Canyon on the Colorado River. Many thanks to Gary Hart (http://www.garyhartphotography.com/), who organized the trip, and to Western River Outfitters (http://www.westernriver.com/), who conducted it.  Their professionalism, efficiency, and energy made the trip great fun, great adventure, and an unforgettable experience. 

The trip began with a flight over the Colorado Plateau to Marble Canyon, AZ where we packed up and entered the river at a spot called Lee’s Ferry.  We traveled 180 miles through Marble Canyon and the Grand Canyon.  At Whitmore Wash we were helicoptered out to Bar 10 ranch then back to Las Vegas by small plane.  After spending time on the river, the return flight gave me an opportunity to connect some dots: I could see the relief of the canyon and view the beds of the feeder rivers as they travelled to the slot canyons and into the Colorado.   We travelled on motorized rafts that were 5 heavy duty vinyl pontoons lashed together with ropes.  Each of the pontoons was about 25 feet long and 3 feet in diameter.  Our food, camping gear, and personal items were piled on, covered, and tied down on 2 platforms lashed to the pontoons.   We camped on sandbars along the river; some under the stars, others in tents.   

My first impression took me back to adventure stories where a team of intrepid explorers entered an unknown and unexplored area looking for the fabled lost city and its people.  The narrow gorge through weathered, high walled canyons, felt imposing.  The patterns on the rock reminded me of ancient statuary that weathered away.  It left me wondering where the door to the ancient city, the one that is only revealed at sunset on the summer solstice, is located. 

The geology was fascinating.  Over the course of our trip, our elevation changed by 1,700 feet.  When we entered Marble Canyon, we were between walls of the red-orange limestone layer that forms the roof top of the canyons.  As we travelled through the canyon, progressively deeper layers were exposed until we came to the basement layer of granite which underlies the canyon.  At places, nearly 2 billion years of earth’s history lay exposed for us to see.   

To top off all of this beauty we even got to have fun running the rapids.  There were many rapids.  Most of them were small ripples.  Two of them were really wild rides.  Several more were big enough to be exciting.  As we approached the rapids, you could see choppy white water ahead.  The swells that had already broken smoothed out to a jello-like surface and reflected gold on top of the green river.  As the driver turned the raft into the swells the swells would lift the raft and drop it down or the raft would nose dive and dig into the swell.  Sometimes a wave would hit from the side.  Regardless, water sprayed up, soaking us.  As we held on, braving the bucking and twisting, we laughed like little kids.  I was anxious about this part of the trip, not really knowing what to expect.  Having done it, I wouldn’t trade the experience. 

Visiting the rim or flying over the canyon will give you an appreciation of its magnificence.   But running the river brings it up close and personal.  Look up and see cliff walls rising thousands of feet or see the layers set back, one upon the other, rising into the sky.  Look at the walls and see swirls of fossilized sand dunes or rock walls that look like layers of stacked stone; some horizontal, some tilted at an angle.  Vegetation invaded the weathered red-orange limestone giving the appearance of terraced gardens.  In other places cacti and brush dotted hillsides of black and brown in no particular pattern.  Still other areas were painted in earth tones of tan, brown, pink and green.  We hiked back slot canyons to see running streams and waterfalls that have carved the sidewalls and brought debris to the canyon floor.  We were even lucky enough to see some of the wildlife that inhabits the canyon: condors flying high above, big horn sheep climbing canyon walls, swallows swooping over the rapids to catch bugs and even a heron.  I have difficulty finding words to describe how it felt to be among those ancient walls.  Walls that were created by the deposition of silt and the remains of creatures at the bottom of a great sea, uplifted when plates of the earth’s crust crashed into each other and finally sculpted by the forces of wind and rain into the natural wonder that was presented to me each day of the trip.  Wonder and awe aren’t expressive enough.   

I hope the images I’ve included give you sense of what I felt as I traveled through the natural wonder that is the Grand Canyon. 

Regards,

Larry

(Note: Click on images to see enlarged)

 

Ancient Walls - Perspective 2

CaveThrough the CanyonGrand Canyon National Park, MAY 2016Grand Canyon - Perspective 3

Grand Canyon - Perspective 1

Grand Canyon - Perspective 2

Deer Creek Falls - Perspective 1
Deer Creek Falls – Perspective 1

Deer Creek Falls - Perspective 2

Barrel Cactus Dotting the Hillside

A Special Treat

Kanab Creek

Havasu Canyon