Desert Wildflowers

 Desert Wildflowers Breathe Life Into The Desolate

First Blooms
Source: Guy Tal
The cracked Colorado Desert doesn't usually provide conditions favorable for blooming flowers, but every now and again, deserts do see rainfall. When that happens, certain wildflowers (such as the bee plant and scorpionweed) creep up through the cracks and decorate the landscape for a mere few days before wilting and dying in a process that can last for several years. Capturing these simultaneously fleeting yet enduring spectacles of nature is photographer Guy Tal.
Desert Wildflowers Rare Beauty
Source: Guy Tal
Desert Wildflowers Vortex
Source: Guy Tal
While the subject matter, composition, and lighting of these photographs are certainly noteworthy on their own, further examination into the man behind the camera reveals that he's more of a philosopher than a photographer. Tal also writes, teaches workshops, and does a variety of things in between. Tal considers himself all and none of these things at once; when prodded for an answer to the question "What do you do?" he simply said, "My job is to be inspired."
Desert Wildflowers Survivor
Source: Guy Tal
Cracks In Ground
Source: Guy Tal
Desert Wildflowers Seasonal Effect
Source: Guy Tal
"It's a strange business I'm in; one often misunderstood. There's no real word for what I do and maybe it's time to put a name to it. My job is to be inspired. I make my living conveying the inspiration I find to others, in various ways. I photograph, I write, I teach, I interact. What does that make me? My photography is not about photographs; my writing is not about words; my teaching is not about facts; and my interactions are not about being social. There's a higher purpose – the experience. Am I an experiencer?"
Desert Wildflowers Skull
Source: Guy Tal
Early Purples
Source: Guy Tal
Desert Wildflowers Swan Song
Source: Guy Tal
Tal further explains that he doesn't make things for a living; he lives for a living. And how does one truly "live", in the eyes of Guy Tal? By fully immersing oneself into whatever stimulus the Earth conjures up, allowing your senses to be sparked, and capturing nuggets of beauty – in both words and images – along the way. Tal's writing style evokes all of that; just a small paragraph about an autumn morning ritual from his website leads us into a snapshot of his world -where every sense is able to find something to linger on.
Desert Wildflowers Morning
Source: Guy Tal
Alluvial Rug
Source: Guy Tal
Streaming Color
Source: Guy Tal
It's raining this morning. As the sun slowly rises I can see the bright yellow aspen groves on the flanks of Thousand Lake Mountain from my window. Soon the first light of the day will touch the crest of the red cliffs, then slowly make its way down in a beautiful display that had by now become a part of my morning ritual, along with the fresh brewed coffee and the hushed sounds of a small town slowly awakening. Tourist season is almost over and it's quiet again. I've been up since 5am and so far only saw one vehicle on the road. This time of year there is more to it, though. Autumn always has that intangible feeling of quiet drama. The dark skies as the last of the monsoon storms pass through, the colorful trees, the slight chill in the air and the palpable feeling of winter's impending arrival always put me in a contemplative mood. This is the time of year I look back upon, and forward to, in other seasons.
Desert Wildflowers Playa
Source: Guy Tal
Ground Zero
Source: Guy Tal
Desert Wildflowers Blue Passage
Source: Guy Tal
Much more than a simple photography website –and featuring landscapes besides the desert – Tal's online portal also leads to his blog and journal, as well as to books he's written, and workshops he's currently teaching. Just like his photography, Tal's site entrances us with aesthetics but convinces us to stick around for the stories and experiences behind them.

The World's Rarest Animals

The World's Rarest Animals

1. Northern Hairy-Nosed Wombat

Northern Hairy-Nosed                                            Wombat

There are about 115 northern hairy-nosed wombats left in the wild. They all live in Epping Forest National Park in Queensland, Australia.

This wombat's nose is very important in its survival since the creature has very poor eyesight and needs its nose to smell food in the dark.

2. Pygmy Three-Toed Sloth

Pygmy Three-Toed Sloth

This small three-toed sloth is endemic to Isla Escudo de Veraguas, a small island off the coast of Panama. A 2011 study found only 79 left in the wild.

3. Red-Crested Tree Rat

Red-Crested Tree Rat

The red-crested tree rat lives in the forests of Colombia. It was thought to be extinct for many years — until volunteers at the El Dorado Nature Reserve were visited by the creature in 2011. The last recorded sighting was in 1898, when two of the critters were found and studied, and were the subsequent source of all information about the rat.

This little critter is about 18 inches long, which is about the same size as a guinea pig. It inhabits a relatively small area of the forest in Colombia, and much of this area has been cleared or disturbed.

4. Angel Shark (aka Squatina Squatina)

Angel Shark (aka Squatina                                            Squatina)

Historically, the angel shark range was from the Northeast Atlantic, Mediterranean, and Black Seas, but commercial fishing has diminished the population. It is now uncommon throughout most of its range with the exception of some areas of the southern Mediterranean and Canary Islands.

Camouflaged in the sand, an angel shark waits there for small fish to swim within gulping distance.

When an unsuspecting fish comes near, the shark lunges upward, sucks the fish into its huge mouth, and swallows it whole.

5. Boni Giant Sengi (Formerly Known as an Elephant Shrew)

Boni Giant Sengi                                            (Formerly Known as an Elephant                                            Shrew)

This rare animal lives in the Boni-Dodori Forest in Kenya. The forest these giant sengi call home is being destroyed for development.

6. Javan Rhino

Javan Rhino

This rhino used to be found throughout Southeast Asia, but there are about 40–60 individuals living in the Ujung Kulon National Park in Java.

Rhino horns can fetch up to $30,000 on the black market.

7. Plougshare Tortoise (aka Angonoka)

Plougshare Tortoise (aka                                            Angonoka)

This is the most endangered tortoise in the world. The population is estimated to between 440–770, and they reside in the Baly Bay region in Madagascar.

The plougshare tortoise is so beautiful, it's a curse. The animal is poached for the illegal international pet trade.

8. Gooty Tarantula (aka Metallic Tarantula)

Gooty Tarantula (aka                                            Metallic Tarantula)

The spider's habitat is in Southeastern India and Sri Lanka. Habitat loss and degradation as a result of deforestation, firewood collection, and civil unrest have all contributed to the loss of this tarantula's population.

9. Durrell's Vontsira (aka Salanoia Durrelli)

Durrell's Vontsira (aka                                            Salanoia Durrelli)

The Durell's vontsira is a marsh-dwelling animal that lives in the Lake Alaotra in Madagascar, which is an extremely threatened area.

10. Hainan Gibbon

Hainan Gibbon

There are only about 23 Hainan gibbons left, making it the world's rarest primate, who live on Hainan Island in the South China Sea.

11. Cuban Greater Funnel-Eared Bat

Cuban Greater                                            Funnel-Eared Bat

There are fewer than 100 Cuban greater funnel-eared bats left in Cueva La Barca, Cuba. The bats have lost much of their habitat due to human destruction.

12. Northern Bald Ibis

Northern Bald Ibis

There are fewer than 250 mature Northern bald ibises.

The northern bald ibis breeds in Morocco, Turkey, and Syria. The ibis is threatened by habitat degradation and destruction, and hunting.

13. Nelson's Small-Eared Shrew

Nelson's Small-Eared                                            Shrew

This shrew is endemic to eastern Mexico. It has suffered from habitat loss due to logging, cattle grazing, and agriculture.

14. Roloway monkey

Roloway monkey

The roloway monkey used to live in the forests of Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire, but it has become extinct in Ghana.

Hunting for consumption as bushmeat and habitat loss have contributed to the drastic decline in the creature's population.

15. Araripe Manakin

Araripe Manakin

There are 779 Araripe Manakins that live in Brazil. They have suffered from habitat destruction due to expansion of agriculture and recreational facilities.

16. Rio Pescado Stubfoot Toad

Rio Pescado Stubfoot                                            Toad

Unseen since 1995, the toad, which lives in the lowlands of Ecuador, was rediscovered in 2010.

17. Geometric Tortoise

Geometric Tortoise

The geometric tortoise lives in Cape Province, South Africa. It is threatened by habitat destruction and degradation as well as predation.

18. Jamaican Rock Iguana

Jamaican Rock Iguana

Believed to be extinct for many years, this iguana was found in the remote Hellshire Hills in 1970.

19. Spoon-Billed Sandpiper

Spoon-Billed Sandpiper

The spoon-billed sandpiper is a small wader that breeds in northeastern Russia. There are fewer than 1,000 mature individuals left in the wild.

The main threats to its survival are habitat loss on its breeding grounds and loss of tidal flats through its migratory and wintering range.

20. Luristan Newt (aka Kaiser's Spotted Newt)

Luristan Newt (aka                                            Kaiser's Spotted Newt)

The luristan newt is a type of salamander and is endemic to the southern Zagros Mountains in Iran. The luristan newt is coveted in the pet trade — they were sold on a Ukraine website for $300 — and now only survives in captivity.

21. Vaquita


This is the world's smallest dolphin, and is from the Northern Gulf of California and Mexico.

There are fewer than 200 vaquita dolphins left in the wild, and the population is declining. The immediate threat to the dolphins is the use of gillnets deployed by fishermen.

22. Actinote Zikani

Actinote Zikani

The Actinote zikani lives in Sao Paulo, Brazil, but has lost much of its habitat to humans.

23. Greater Bamboo Lemur

Greater Bamboo Lemur

There are only 100–160 individuals left in the southeastern and southcentral rainforests of Madagascar. The major threat to this animal is slash-and-burn agriculture, mining, and illegal logging.

This creature has powerful jaws that can crack through bamboo, which makes up the majority of its diet.

24. Tarzan's chameleon

Tarzan's chameleon

This chameleon was discovered in 2009 in the Tarzan Forest in Madagascar. Rampant deforestation threatens Tarzan's chameleon.

25. Saola


This magical creature was only discovered in 1992. It lives in the Annamite mountains on the Vietnam and Laos border.

Hunting in the Saola's habitat has caused the species' population to decline.

26. Red River Giant Softshell Turtle

Red River Giant Softshell                                          Turtle

This enormous weighs 440 pounds. Unfortunately, there are only four red river giant softshell turtles left, all of which live in captivity. The animal is considered sacred by many Vietnamese.

27. Dusky Gopher Frog

Dusky Gopher Frog

The entire population is estimated to be between 60–100 individuals living in two ponds in Mississippi. Unfortunately, the dusky gopher frog population has declined because of loss of wetlands and native longleaf pine habitat, the decline of gopher tortoises, invasive species, disease, drought conditions, and lack of natural and prescribed fire.

28. Singapore Freshwater Crab

Singapore Freshwater                                            Crab

This crab is threatened by habitat degradation because of a reduction in water quality and quantity.

29. Madagascar Pochard

Madagascar Pochard

This pochard duck stands on the head of a hippo at the zoo in Berlin. There are about 20 mature pochards left in the wild, who live in volcanic lakes north of Bealanana, Madagascar.

The Madagascar pochard is threatened by slash-and-burn agriculture, hunting, and fishing as well as introduced fish.

30. Hirola (aka Hunter's Hartebeest)

Hirola (aka Hunter's                                            Hartebeest)

The hirola antelope found in arid grassy plains in a pocket on the border between Kenya and Somalia. There are between 500 and 1,200 of them left in the wild.

31. Sumatran Rhino

Sumatran Rhino

There are fewer than 250 mature Sumatran rhinos left in Malaysia and Indonesia. The Sumatran rhino is hunted for its horn, which is used in traditional medicines.

32. Parides Burchellanus

Parides Burchellanus

There are fewer than 100 parides burchellanus left living in Cerrado, Brazil.

33. Franklin's Bumblebee

Franklin's Bumblebee

Franklin's bumblebee lives in Oregon and California. This bumblebee is threatened by disease from commercially bred bumblebees and habitat destruction.

34. Common sawfish

Common sawfish

The common sawfish lives in the coastal tropical and subtropical waters of the Indo-Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Currently, the common sawfish is largely restricted to northern Australia.

Sawfish have adapted to live in both salt and fresh water, while their long saw-like rostrum (nose) has evolved to expertly forage for food under the sandy ocean floor. Sawfish have been placed on the critically endangered list mainly due to a human impact to their environment and being entangled in fishing nets.

35. Tonkin Snub-Nosed Monkey

Tonkin Snub-Nosed Monkey

The tonkin snub-nosed monkey is endemic to Northeastern Vietnam, where there are fewer than 200 left.

Heavy poaching and the destruction of habitat have diminished this monkey's population.

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