Astounded by Frightened Trees

This was our first visit to the Petrified Forrest National Park and we were completely surprised and astounded by the colours within the Petrified Tree Logs, which are really fossils.

Spectrum of Coloured Quartz in a Petrified Log

The trees grew in a climate similar to Costa Rica’s before the tectonic plates split up. Some 200 million years ago they were washed into a river system and quickly buried by massive amounts of sediment, thereby cutting them off from a water supply and greatly slowing down their decay.

The colours came from minerals that were contained in the water that penetrated the buried trees and created large crystals of clear quartz, purple amethyst, yellow citrine, and smoky quartz. These crystals were formed within the trees’ cellular structure over the millennia preserving that structure, which is easily seen today.

Spectrum of Coloured Quartz in a Petrified Log

The petrified trees are now formed of very hard but brittle crystal structures.

We did notice that often the logs were surrounded by red crystals which appear to have been created in the bark of the original tree.

Red Crystals Surround the Log

Should this be the case, some were quite thick layers of bark, something like the Sequoia trees of today.

Thick Red Crystals Surround the Log
Thick Red Crystals Surround the Log

The images showing the colours in the petrified wood were taken on the trail behind the Visitor Center and on the Crystal Forest trail.

Spectrum of Coloured Quartz in a Petrified Log

However, on the Long Logs trail there were very few examples of the brightly coloured crystals and the logs were predominantly brown and black. Presumably a different water supply which did not contain the minerals that had created the bright colours elsewhere.

Long Logs with Few Bright Colours – Brown and Black
Long Logs with Few Bright Colours – Brown and Black
Long Logs in the Badlands Landscape

Given how long these Petrified Logs have been exposed, it came as a surprise that lichens and other flora appear to have difficulty colonizing the logs, but there are traces of this as seen below.

Lichen starting to grow on a Petrified Log

The crystals are very reflective of light, so these images were taken using a polarizing filter to reduce the reflective glare. The filter also tends to increase the saturation of the colours a little.

Gear: Nikon D800, Nikon GP-1, Nikon MB-D12, Nikkor 80.0-400.0mm f/4.5-5.6 VRIII, Nikon 77mm Thin Polarizing Filter, Lexar Digital Film

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Birds Seen for the First Time

This is a link to a recent post to my photography blog – for those who have yet to sign up for my photography blog (it is really easy and you can cancel at any time).

Please click HERE to go to the complete blog post.

Lazuli Bunting (Passerina amoena)

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Sea Otters – Mum & Pup

A recent post on my photography blog.  Louise and I had a fabulous day with Al and Toddy of Archipelego Cruises out of Ucluelet on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

Click image to go to full post and all images.

Pup Sea Otter cuddling up on Mum’s belly.

Gear: Nikon D4s, Nikkor 80.0-400.0mm f/4.5-5.6 VRIII, Nikkor TC-14 EII, Lexar Digital Film, Archipelego Cruise’s 53′ Canoe Cove Motor Yacht








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A Photography Blog about Eared Grebes

For those of you who have not yet signed up for my photography blog here is a link to my latest post about our visit to Saskatoon Lake Provincial Park in Alberta.

Eared Grebes (Podiceps nigricollis) and their Young

 








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Nesting Birds Really Aggravate Cali

Last year at Madison Campground in Yellowstone National Park a Robin decided to build his nest in the fir tree 18″ from our living room window.  At first this excited Cali, she would keep leaping up to the back of the sofa to watch.  We were also convinced the Robin knew she was there and felt safe and wound her up even more by sitting and looking at her.

This year in the campground in Grande Prairie, AB Cali was rushing around, looking out of the windows on the Driver’s side of Tigger and her tail was flicking and her cheeks quivering.  We thought it was the Robins visiting the trees next to us.

However, I discovered the source of her aggravation – a Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) had built a nest in the tree next to us before we arrived and had four chicks that needed feeding.

I had my handheld set up ready so I crept back into the coach, picked it up, and got these images.

Adult Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) on nest with Four Chicks.

Adult Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) on nest with Four Chicks.

Adult Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) on nest with Four Chicks.

Adult Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) on nest with Four Chicks.

I think these images tell the story, but the next day I had my 600.0mm lens out and thought to get some closeups.

Sadly the nest and chicks had gone.  There were just a few strands of the nest left on the tree branch otherwise there was no sign of the nest or it’s occupants on the ground. That’s Mother Nature.

To acquire one of the images for wallpaper or as a print simply click on the image and you will be directed to the sales page.

Gear: Nikon D4s, Nikkor 80.0-400.0mm f/4.5-5.6 VRIII, Nikkor TC-14 EII, Lexar Digital Film

 








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