Araucaria araucana, or monkey puzzle tree, is native to the south-central Andes of Chile and Argentina. The leaves of this confer are thick and appear as triangular scales encircling the tentacle like branch, the pattern similar in structure to a pine cone. While the leaves last on average 24 years, the tree can live as long as 1000 years.
Its English name was derived during its early cultivation in Britain in the mid-1800s. While visiting an estate in Cornwall, a lawyer noted his friend’s specimen tree “would puzzle a monkey to climb that”.
The round globes are the female cones. Indigenous people in Chile and Argentina continue to harvest the edible seeds. Our Airbnb in Portland was named after this specimen. I am impressed on how striking this tree works as a monochrome composition.
Thanks for stopping by today. To appreciate the character of this tree, click on an image to view a high resolution version.
This post presents expansive color landscapes, featuring the wide range of earth tones found in the volcanic rock formations in Smith Rock State Park.
I typically finish my color composition workflows with a Kodachrome 25 film emulation using Alien Skin’s Exposure X3. For this series, I used Photoshop to mix in, at varying percentages, an older Kodachrome II film emulation with the newer Kodachrome 25. The results offered what I felt was a more realistic, and pleasing, presentation and separation of yellow to green tonalities.
For the best viewing experience, click on an image to view a high resolution version. More of this amazing landscape and be viewed at my Smith Rock State Park Gallery.
In my first earlier post I mentioned the interesting Sulphurflower Buckwheats growing throughout the Badlands. Each seems to have its own unique characteristics and color scheme. This post includes a few more compositions, along with some additional landscapes.
Thanks for stopping by. Click on an image to view a high resolution version, or click to see my complete Oregon Badlands Gallery.
This post features additional monochrome western juniper tree and lava rock compositions from my visit to the Oregon Badlands Wilderness earlier last month. My previous post included details about this amazing landscape. This was supposed to be a Monochrome Monday post, but I just had too many items on my Labor Day to-do-list. So, its my Monochrome Tuesday, Day After Labor Day post instead.
My wife was appalled by my consistent grammatical errors and typos in recent posts. She told me “You don’t want readers to think you’re illiterate!” I told her not to worry, its just my ADD, and me getting a little older. She replied “Just read it out loud before you post!” That sounds like some good advice, I’ll give it a shoot.
Thanks for taking time to visit my photo blog! For the best viewing experience , click on an image to see a high resolution version, as well as other images from my Oregon Badlands Wilderness Gallery. Ha, ha “I’ll give it a shoot”! I’m so silly!
My brother-in-law Jim, his pointer puppy Artie and I arrived at the Badlands Rock Trailhead around 8:30 am on a Tuesday morning. The Oregon Badlands is about 30 minutes east of Bend in Deschutes and Crook counties. The high desert area is known for castle-like volcanic rock formations, harsh terrain, ancient Juniper trees, sagebrush, and extensive arid land.
The Western Juniper is a prominent feature across the badlands and Oregon high desert. The durable juniper is known to live more than 1600 years. Its scraggly bark and gnarly branches are quite impressive. I suspect the specimen above is well over 200 years old. Ironically, the tree is seen by many scientists and land managers as invasive. It hogs scarce water resources (12 – 14 inches, or 30 – 35 cm, of rain annually in the badlands), and crowds out native shrubs, grasses and flowers – all of which provide critical wildlife habitat.
Before settlement of the west in the 1800s, the juniper occupied only 10% the territory it does today. Up until then, naturally occurring fires kept the tree contained. But settlers and ranchers have since tended to quickly suppress fires giving the young junipers opportunity to spread. We did notice along the trail evidence of past fire events.
Another interesting feature of the badlands is the volcanic rock formations created by ancient inflated lava flows. Jim, Artie and I climbed the 75 ft (23 m) tall Badland Rock outcropping to get an impressive 360 degree view of Central Oregon. The Badlands soil is composed of sand from eroded volcanic rock and ash from the Mt. Mazama eruption (known today as Crater Lake) some 7,700 years ago.
Finally, the high desert landscape is complemented with visual interest from big sagebrush, rabbitbrush, Idaho fescue and bluebunch wheatgrass. Artie loved bouncing around the thickets of sagebrush and bunchgrasses, sometimes flushing a flight of Mourning doves. As it was early August, the desert wildflowers were waning, but there was still numerous pink dwarf monkeyflower, Oregon sunshine and sulfur buckwheat to be found. I particularly found numerous sulfur buckwheat subjects for photography.
Below is Artie scoping out scenes from the Badland Rock Trail. You can see big sagebrush, rabbitbrush, bunchgrass and junipers mentioned above.
Look for more posts featuring this amazing landscape! For the best viewing experience, click on an image to view a high resolution version from my portfolio site.
Smith Rock State Park is an amazing volcanic rock formation rising above the high desert plateau in central Oregon. In addition to its gorgeous scenery and abundant hiking trails, it is also considered one of the best rock climbing destinations in the western United States.
We arrived in mid-morning and were able to hike a couple of miles before it got too hot. As usual, I was constantly lagging behind my family, sister and brother-in-law, stopping to take photos. So many amazing photo opportunities!
There are more pictures from Smith Rock State Park to curate for a future follow-up post. For the best viewing experience, click on an image to view a high-resolution version from my portfolio site.