Category

Icons

Photo of the Egyptian Pyramids

Egypt, Icons, Photo of the Day

We wrapped up our stay in Egypt with some time at my brother’s house in Cairo, touring the older parts of the city and seeing some off-the-beaten-path markets, mosques, and other amazing stuff. One highlight of our time in Cairo was a day at the Giza necropololis to see the Great Pyramids, and another day in Saqqara to see very different pyramids. Tracy is seen below riding a camel on the sand plains of Giza, with the Great Pyramids in the distance. Seeing one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World with our own eyes was a humbling experience. Completed around 2560 B.C., the largest of the Great Pyramids, the Pyramid of Khufu, was for 3800 years the tallest building in the world until the Lincoln Cathedral was built in 1300 A.D. I thought I got a good deal when I bargained for our camels, but later that day my brother just laughed when he heard what I paid. Tracy can ride much better than I. In Saqqara we explored the crumbling remains of the Pyramid of Userkaf, built as the tomb of 5th Dynasty ruler Userkaf and dating to approximately 2458 B.C. While the dressed stone exterior is largely in disrepair and crumbling, the pyramid still rises 163 ft above the surrounding desert. Nearby we also checked out the Step Pyramid of Djoser, built in approximately 2611 B.C. for Djoser (Zoser), 2nd king of the 3rd Dynasty. Rising 204 ft in height, the Step Pyramid of Djoser predated the great pyramids and was the highest building in the world at that time.

Great pyramids, visitor rides a camel across the sands to see the pyramids, Egypt.  Pyramids of Queens, Pyramid of Menkaure, Pyramid of Khafre, Pyramid of Khufu (left to right, front to back), Giza

Great pyramids, visitor rides a camel across the sands to see the pyramids, Egypt. Pyramids of Queens, Pyramid of Menkaure, Pyramid of Khafre, Pyramid of Khufu (left to right, front to back).
Image ID: 00375
Location: Giza, Egypt

Pyramid of Userkaf, Saqqara, Egypt

Pyramid of Userkaf.
Image ID: 02574
Location: Saqqara, Egypt

Step pyramid of Djoser (Zoser), Saqqara, Egypt

Step pyramid of Djoser (Zoser).
Image ID: 02575
Location: Saqqara, Egypt

Photos of Ancient Bristlecone Pine Trees

Icons, Trees, White Mountains

Ancient Bristlecone pine trees (Pinus longaeva) live in a relatively restricted area of eastern California, Nevada and Utah, typically at altitudes above 9500′. The ancient bristlecone pine tree is considered to be the world’s oldest species of tree (and indeed the world’s oldest sexually reproducing, nonclonal lifeform). A number of individual bristlecone pine trees are known to exceed 4000 years of age; the “Methuselah tree” in the Schulman grove was estimated to be 4838 years old in 2006. These extraordinarily hardy, gnarled and lonely trees are best seen in the Inyo National Forest in the White Mountains of California, where two exemplary groves (Schulman and Patriarch) can be accessed by car. These photos were taken in the Patriarch Grove, but my stock of images includes photos from the Schulman Grove as well.

Bristlecone pine displays its characteristic gnarled, twisted form as it rises above the arid, dolomite-rich slopes of the White Mountains at 11000-foot elevation. Patriarch Grove, Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, Pinus longaeva, White Mountains, Inyo National Forest

Bristlecone pine displays its characteristic gnarled, twisted form as it rises above the arid, dolomite-rich slopes of the White Mountains at 11000-foot elevation. Patriarch Grove, Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest.
Image ID: 17475
Species: Bristlecone Pine, Pinus longaeva
Location: White Mountains, Inyo National Forest, California, USA

Stars and the Milky Way rise above ancient bristlecone pine trees, in the White Mountains at an elevation of 10,000' above sea level.  These are some of the oldest trees in the world, reaching 4000 years in age, Pinus longaeva, Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, White Mountains, Inyo National Forest

Stars and the Milky Way rise above ancient bristlecone pine trees, in the White Mountains at an elevation of 10,000′ above sea level. These are some of the oldest trees in the world, reaching 4000 years in age.
Image ID: 27782
Species: Bristlecone Pine, Pinus longaeva
Location: Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, White Mountains, Inyo National Forest, California, USA

Ancient bristlecone pine trees live at extremely high altitudes. In some regions, the lower treeline for bristlecone pines exceeds the upper treeline for all other species. Bristlecone forests often occur in areas where there is a strong carbonate content (limestone, dolomite and/or marble). In these barren, remote mountain areas, exposure to constant wind, excessive sun and bitter cold has molded the trees into remarkably gnarled, twisted shapes that have captured the interest of photographers and artists for years.

The trees do not grow tall — 60′ is about the tallest — but tend to be girthy with a wide base and roots that splay outward in all directions. Ancient bristlecone pine trees grow very slowly, and pine needles are infrequently dropped with some living for 30 years. Pinus longaeva has evolved a few strategies that yield such a long lifespan. Their wood is extraordinarily dense, and full of resin, making it nearly impossible for invasive bacteria and insects (what few there are in that inhospitable climate) to bore into and damage the wood. Bristlecone pines also tolerate a gradual dieback of their bark, in such a way that old specimens may have only a small amount of living bark. While the tree may appear dead or nearly so, this is actually an advantage as it lessens the bulk of living material the root system and crown must support. In some old trees, a thin strip of bark a foot or less in size is enough to support a healthy specimen.

Ancient bristlecone wood is so resistant to decay, and occurs in such an arid and cold environment, that fallen pieces dating back 8000+ years have been found in some groves. These pieces have been used in the calibration of the radiocarbon time-dating method, a technique which is employed in a broad range of scientific disciplines.

Bristlecone pine rising above the arid, dolomite-rich slopes of the White Mountains at 11000-foot elevation. Patriarch Grove, Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, Pinus longaeva, White Mountains, Inyo National Forest

Bristlecone pine rising above the arid, dolomite-rich slopes of the White Mountains at 11000-foot elevation. Patriarch Grove, Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest.
Image ID: 17476
Species: Bristlecone Pine, Pinus longaeva
Location: White Mountains, Inyo National Forest, California, USA

Bristlecone pines rising above the arid, dolomite-rich slopes of the White Mountains at 11000-foot elevation. Patriarch Grove, Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, Pinus longaeva, White Mountains, Inyo National Forest

Bristlecone pines rising above the arid, dolomite-rich slopes of the White Mountains at 11000-foot elevation. Patriarch Grove, Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest.
Image ID: 17478
Species: Bristlecone Pine, Pinus longaeva
Location: White Mountains, Inyo National Forest, California, USA

Bristlecone pines rising above the arid, dolomite-rich slopes of the White Mountains at 11000-foot elevation. Patriarch Grove, Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, Pinus longaeva, White Mountains, Inyo National Forest

Bristlecone pines rising above the arid, dolomite-rich slopes of the White Mountains at 11000-foot elevation. Patriarch Grove, Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest.
Image ID: 17479
Species: Bristlecone Pine, Pinus longaeva
Location: White Mountains, Inyo National Forest, California, USA

Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest photos
Pinus longaeva photos
Bristlecone pine tree photo

Keywords: ancient, bristlecone, pine, tree, photo, picture, stock photos, image, pinus longaeva, california, white moun

Whale Shark Photo, Darwin Island, Galapagos

Galapagos Diaries, Icons, Underwater Life

The Galapagos Islands, an Ecuadorian archipelago straddling the equator in the Eastern Pacific, is a remarkable underwater paradise. The central and southern islands hold a wealth of temperate as well as tropical marine creatures due to the mixing of currents there. However, it is the northern islands of Darwin and Wolf that divers typically look forward to the most on a Galapagos dive trip. These two islands, along with the smaller Roca Redonda, are the best places in the Galapagos — and indeed one of the best places in the world — to encounter whale sharks. On our first dive at Darwin in 1996 the group had left me behind, riding the current back to the anchorage, while I spent my air exploring the area where we were dropped at Darwin’s Arch. I met up with a young whale shark who happened along and allowed me to swim alongside him for 20 minutes taking photos. Eventually the shark and I caught up with the rest of the dive group, and as each diver noticed us he would swim over and join. Eventually everyone got a good look at the huge shark.

A whale shark swims through the open ocean in the Galapagos Islands.  The whale shark is the largest shark on Earth, but is harmless eating plankton and small fish, Rhincodon typus, Darwin Island

A whale shark swims through the open ocean in the Galapagos Islands. The whale shark is the largest shark on Earth, but is harmless eating plankton and small fish.
Image ID: 01520
Species: Whale shark, Rhincodon typus
Location: Darwin Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

During our several visits to Darwin Island (we’ve made three trips there in ’96, ’98 and ’06), we have dove at the Arch repeatedly. In 1996 our group saw a whale shark on every dive there including a final dive at the arch was highlighted by a visit from an enormous whale shark, probably 40 feet or more in length:

Whale shark, Rhincodon typus, Darwin Island

Whale shark.
Image ID: 01503
Species: Whale shark, Rhincodon typus
Location: Darwin Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Keywords: whale shark photo, Galapagos, Rhincodon typus, Darwin Island, underwater.

Photo of the Brooklyn Bridge, New York City

Icons, New York

Just returned from a week in New York City. We had a chance to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and view the Manhattan waterfront from the elevated perspective of the bridge, through its many cables. Here are a few photos from our walk:

Brooklyn Bridge cables and tower, New York City

Brooklyn Bridge cables and tower.
Image ID: 11070
Location: Brooklyn Bridge, New York City, USA

Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridge, viewed from the East River, New York City

Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridge, viewed from the East River.
Image ID: 11118
Location: Manhattan, New York City, USA

Brooklyn Bridge viewed from Brooklyn.  Lower Manhattan visible behind the Bridge, New York City

Brooklyn Bridge viewed from Brooklyn. Lower Manhattan visible behind the Bridge.
Image ID: 11062
Location: Brooklyn Bridge, New York City, USA

Lower Manhattan skyline viewed from the Brooklyn Bridge, New York City

Lower Manhattan skyline viewed from the Brooklyn Bridge.
Image ID: 11094
Location: Brooklyn Bridge, New York City, USA

Keywords: Brooklyn Bridge Photo, New York City.

See more Brooklyn Bridge photos.

Photo of Old Faithful Geyser, Yellowstone National Park

Icons, National Parks, Wyoming, Yellowstone

Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone National Park is such an icon that photos of it have become cliche. It is the most accessible and watched of all the geysers in the park. However, it is still a wonderful sight to behold regardless of how many people have seen it before or how many are standing next to you viewing it now. We awoke early one morning, just after dawn, and strolled 50 yards from our room at the Old Faithful Inn to have this clear, early morning view of Old Faithful geyser erupting at first light. There were perhaps 10 other people sharing the view with us, a refreshing change from the hundreds that gather later in the day.

Old Faithful geyser, peak eruption, Upper Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Old Faithful geyser, peak eruption.
Image ID: 07179
Location: Upper Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA

Keywords: Old Faithful Geyser photo, Yellowstone National Park, photograph, picture, erupting, eruption, steam.