Fall Color – Smith Valley, NV

Riparian colors. A minor drainage shines in Smith Valley, Great Basin Desert, NV, USA

A storm had set in; great wind and slashing rain at StoneHeart throughout the night. And yet the Sierra seemed to have caught the storm by the tail keeping it from breaking further east. When this happens, the sunrise has promise. Hunting color at the edge of the storm, I set out into the dark rain of the pre-dawn, hoping the weather radar had truth in it.

Fall Color – Smith Valley Collection

Upstream. A riparian corridor in Smith Valley, Great Basin Desert, NV, USA
Pairing. Cottonwoods turning late in Smith Valley, Great Basin Desert, NV, USA
Lagging. Cottonwoods hover over a lone willow, Smith Valley, Great Basin Desert, NV, USA
Catching. Cottonwoods catch first light in Smith Valley, Great Basin Desert, NV, USA
Overlay. Riparian shrubs in the watershed of Smith Valley, Great Basin Desert, NV, USA
Surrounds. A play of orange among the willows, Smith Valley, Great Basin Desert, NV, USA

Fall Color – Smith Valley Collection

Smith Valley is on the opposite side of the Pine Nut Mountains, east of our home. In less than an hour, I am in the calm of the valley with dark clouds scudding off the mountain ridges above and to the west. It is as I hoped, a warm glow is peaking in the east and will light the east-facing mountain front. There is color here; black cottonwoods and willows peak from riparian corridors framed by golden rabbitbrush and grasses. Sometimes plans are brilliant.

Spring memory. A promise of life as the seasons turn, Smith Valley, Great Basin Desert, NV, USA

I arrived at Spring Gulch, a sometime well-watered cleft between the lower slopes of the Pine Nuts and the Buckskin Range, and began picking compositions around individual trees. The trees were beautiful and still, almost begging for the new light. Somewhere above me the wind howled, but its effects remained invisible at the mountain tops even as its voice rolled downslope, an ominous warning of the storm rolling over and disturbing the peace in the little woodland.

Road to nowhere. An eager two-track scars the hills of Smith Valley, Great Basin Desert, NV, USA

Working over the course of an hour or so, spitting rain reminding me of the storm at hand, I was very happy with the reward of the riparian corridors of the Great Basin Desert. Especially pleased at being relatively close to home. I journeyed back south, the wind and rain dropping in at my back altering and erasing my presence. I had stolen a few minutes in the calm before the storm, a perfect Sunday morning in Nevada.

Pivot and tree. Another cutting done in Smith Valley, Great Basin Desert, NV, USA

Fall Color – Smith Valley Collection

Please respect the natural and cultural resources of our public lands. #naturefirst #keepgoing

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